10 Things You Never Knew About Kate Winslet

We've been hearing a lot from Kate Winslet lately: a set photo of her shooting Avatar 2 underwater drew lots of admiring gasps, and she's busy promoting her new romantic drama movie, Ammonite, which arrives in U.S. theaters November 13. But how much do you know about the Oscar-winning Brit? Here's a deep dive into her background and some of her extra-curricular activities.

1. Though she comes from a family of performers, they definitely weren't privileged British thespian types.

"I lived in a home where we didn’t get a VCR until I was 12," Winslet told The Hollywood Reporter in 2013. "And we were on free meal benefits, and we were supported as a family by a charity called The Actor’s Charitable Club, who would literally help with the basics of living because the life of a starving actor for my father was extremely hard and he would take lots of other parts and other jobs to make ends meet."

2. Her first acting job was in a TV commercial for British breakfast cereal Sugar Puffs.

But, as Winslet explained in a 2014 interview, you only get to see "a bit of my hand" in the final edit.

3. Her first major TV role was in Dark Season, a 1991 BBC children's drama series written by future Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies.

Winslet stars as Marcie, a schoolgirl who teams up with two friends to take down a sinister teacher. Asked later if Winslet's character was based on the Doctor, Davies told the BBC: "Not consciously, but I suppose I was steeped in Doctor Who. I just wanted to get rid of all the padding, and make Marcie very aware that she was in a sci-fi drama. So she had an omniscience, which then made her Doctor-ish."

4. Before her acting career took off, she worked in a deli in her hometown of Reading.

“When you’re carving ham off the bone, you need a proper carving fork and knife,” she told Rolling Stone in 1998. “I got very good with cheeses as well.”

5. She briefly moonlighted as a pop singer.

Yes, really! Winslet recorded the poignant ballad "What If" for the 2001 animated film Christmas Carol: The Movie, which she had a voice role in. The single charted at a very creditable Number Six in the U.K., and made Number One in Ireland, Austria, and Belgium.

6. In 2011, it was reported that Winslet had rescued Sir Richard Branson's 90-year-old mother, Eve, from a fire at the businessman's private island in the Caribbean.

Winslet later clarified what actually happened during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, saying: "No, I didn't save her life. I carried her down the stairs is the truth of it."

“We were all at the top of some very slippery stone steps and in the middle of a hurricane – it was so dramatic, there was lashing rain and it really did feel like being in a movie," she continued. "In truth, I carried Eve Branson down the stairs. I have to say Eve Branson is an extraordinary stoic, powerful lady and she could have totally made it out on her own. I just helped that tiny little bit.”

7. She's firmly against cosmetic surgery and Botox.

In 2011, she told the Daily Telegraph that she, Dame Emma Thompson, and Rachel Weisz had formed what she called the "British Anti-Cosmetic Surgery League."

Insisting that she will "never given in" to pressure to alter her appearance cosmetically, Winslet said: "I am an actress, I don't want to freeze the expressions of my face."

8. She lives in the country, near the pretty English seaside town of West Wittering, which has a beautiful beach.

"The countryside, particularly, is very good for my head," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2015." I love that I can go for a walk, pick blackberries and feed them to the baby as I go along. I love that, as I'm doing this, I get to notice that the ones growing closer to the sea taste slightly saltier than the ones on the other side of the hedge. That's a pretty gorgeous thing to observe on an afternoon, wouldn't you say?"

9. She keeps her Oscar in her downstairs "loo" so guests have a chance to hold it.

During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Winslet explained why she can always tell when her guests have enjoyed their own personal "Oscar moment" in her bathroom.

10. Her close friendship with Leonardo DiCaprio is very well documented, but she's also good pals with her Sense and Sensibility co-star Dame Emma Thompson.

"The nature of our friendship actually for the last year has been lots of long, hilarious text messages with her going, 'Winslet, where the f**k are you? We haven’t seen you for ages. You must be about 100 by now,'" Winslet told Vanity Fair last month. "Then, sending each other photographs of our lunches and things like photos showing how full our glass of wine is on a Friday night. There’s been a lot of that."

Which are your favorite ever Kate Winslet roles?