5 August 1983 (1983-08-05)
Essex, England, UK
Years active 1994 - present
Television programme(s) EastEnders, Strictly Come Dancing
Kara Louise Tointon (born 5 August 1983) is a British actress, best known for playing Dawn Swann in BBC soap opera EastEnders. Tointon is the reigning champion of BBC television series Strictly Come Dancing
Tointon was born to Ken and Carol in Essex. Together with her sister, also an actress - Hannah (born 1987) - Kara was raised in Leigh-on-Sea. Both sisters attended St Michael's School, Leigh, and St. Hilda's School, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. Tointon is dyslexic and had speech and drama lessons at school. She was diagnosed at age seven. She took part in LAMDA examinations, entering local musical festivals performing poetry recitals. This was done whilst attending the Morgan Academy of Performing arts (M.A.P.A) in Leigh-on-Sea. She dated James Bourne of Busted from the age of 15 until she got her part in EastEnders.
Tointon's first professional acting experience came when she played the part of Brigitta in The Sound of Music at the Cliffs Pavilion. Shortly after that, her first paid job was as one of the children in the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Her first appearance on television was as an extra in EastEnders in 1994 when she played a school friend of Sonia Fowler. She played the part of student Pauline Young in 2001's first series of Teachers on Channel 4.
In 2004, Tointon appeared in Mile High and in December returned to her former Dream Team role as Gina Moliano until May 2005. She has also made appearances in the films Just My Luck and The Football Factory, and adverts for a number of companies, including McDonald's.
Almost a month to the day that her last Dream Team episode aired, it was revealed to the press that she would be joining the BBC soap EastEnders as a new character, Dawn Swann. Tointon auditioned for EastEnders at the same time as Tiana Benjamin, Matt Di Angelo, Kellie Shirley and Charlie Clements all auditioned for their respective roles. Tointon left EastEnders, along with co-star Ricky Groves, on 27 August 2009. She has said that she would return to EastEnders.
In August 2009, she was unveiled as the new face of Michelle for George underwear at Asda.
She co-starred with then partner Joe Swash in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Bristol in the 2009/2010 pantomime season. The couple split-up during the performance run, but after getting back together finally split in May 2010.
In July 2010, she recorded a documentary for BBC Three called Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid. The programme examined the impact dyslexia can have on people's lives and the difference different learning styles can have on people with dyslexia. Tointon revealed that she suffers from dyslexia, and resultantly has a reading age of 12. During the programme Tointon visited Shapwick School in Somerset, which specialises in the education of pupils with dyslexia, and talked with the pupils about their experiences. Tointon was taught various line learning and organisational techniques by Dyslexia Tutor Claire Salter.
Strictly Come Dancing
In 2008, Tointon won the Sport Relief special edition of Strictly Come Dancing with Mark Ramprakash. Her Samba was enough to get her the Glitterball Trophy.
In September 2010, it was announced that Tointon would be appearing as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing season 8, this time partnered with Artem Chigvintsev. The pair achieved good scores in the first five weeks of 30, 32, 31, 32, and 37. In week 5, Tointon was awarded the first 10 of the series by Alesha Dixon for her Pasodoble. In week 6 she was top of the leaderboard with her Salsa. She also had good scores for the next five weeks of 36, 38, 35, 34, and 38. In week 11, she got her highest score of 39 for the Viennese Waltz and Rumba and got the maximum 5/5 for the Swing-a-thon. Tointon made it to the final along with Matt Baker and Pamela Stephenson, where she made it to the final two, then went on to win and be crowned champion beating Matt Baker and his partner Aliona Vilani.
- Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid (2010) - Herself
- Strictly Come Dancing (2010) - Herself (Winner)
- The Bill (2010)
- EastEnders (2005–2009) - Dawn Swann
- Strictly Come Dancing (Sport Relief) (2008) - Herself (Winner)
- Just My Luck (2006) Uncredited, along with sister Hannah, most likely to be herself
- America Or Busted (2004) - Herself
- The Fete (2004) - Lizzie
- The Football Factory (2004) - Shie/Tameka
- Mile High (2004) - Geneveve
- Keen Eddie (2004) - Fred Friedman
- Boudica (2003) - Poppaea
- Dinotopia (2002) - 18 year old Le Sage
- Harry and Cosh (2002) - Gabby
- Never Play with the Dead (2001) - Victoria
- Teachers (2001) - Pauline Young
- Dream Team (1999, 2004–2005) - Gina Moliano