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22 Aug

I used to clip it off with scissors, and dress very androgynously. 'It didn't work - the hair grows up my cheeks as well,' she said.

'It was like trying to fell a tree in a forest.'She initially had no idea what was causing the hair growth until she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome - a condition that can cause hirsutism, as well as irregular periods, weight gain and difficulties conceiving - in 2000 when she sought medical help after struggling to get pregnant.

I had no friends to defend me so I was considered a legitimate target by everyone.’Even the fact that her much-loved elder brother Tom is a bona fide pop star was twisted and used against her.

‘In my first year of secondary school I was desperate to fit in and be liked, so when a group of girls started begging me for Mc Fly [Tom’s former band] tickets, I took them to a concert.

At home, Tom would teach her dance moves that he had learnt and the pair would sing together for the fun of it, which helped Carrie develop her voice.

Aged seven, she played the young Eponine in Having played the young Eponine in 2001, she had always harboured an ambition to follow the character through her dramatic journey.

But then again, it was these difficult rites of passage that not only shaped Carrie’s childhood, but forged her identity as an online big sister to other girls negotiating their way through the choppy waters of adolescence.

It’s no coincidence that Grown-up Carrie is adamant that anyone being bullied must tell a teacher immediately, so that they can take proactive measures such as making sure the bully and the bullied are never seated together or taught in the same group. ‘Because I was in and out of school due to auditions and shows, I never established a friendship group, so I just accepted being ostracised. Tom has always been a protective big brother and although he couldn’t do anything about what was happening at my school, when we were both at home he would spend time with me and give me lots of attention as a way of restoring my self-esteem.’Carrie was born in Harrow, Northwest London, eight years after Tom.

Besides being a published author, Carrie is a hugely popular big-sister-cum-agony-aunt vlogger on her You Tube channel Its Way Past My Bed Time, which has more than 500,000 followers, and she is currently starring as Eponine inin the West End.

One day, as she accompanied her parents to pick him up, Carrie, then five, was spotted and invited to audition for representation by the school’s agency. ‘At the start all I had to do was look cute, which I seemed to manage OK,’ she says with unstarry honesty.

Soon she made appearances in commercials, most notably a short Channel 4 ident – those little scenes that are used to remind viewers which station they are watching – in which she blew out a candle on a birthday cake.

First comes the astonished gasp of gratitude and relief from a teenager discovering that, OMG, she’s not alone and entirely misunderstood after all!

This is invariably followed by a sob of retrospective regret from her mother that there wasn’t a similar book in her day to offer such comfort and encouragement.‘I gave my mum the very first copy to read,’ says Carrie.