EastEnders actress Kierston Wareing has said she struggled with the attention the show has brought and does not plan to stay in the soap for too long.
In an interview with Digital Spy, Wareing, who has played Kirsty since last year, said: "If you want me to be honest, it was very difficult. Even though I've been in the acting trade beforehand, it was a bit of a shock to the system, because I didn't realise just how many people believe in these characters and believe you are the person."
She continued: "It's taken me quite a while to adapt to because I like to be a private person, but now every move of mine is suddenly on Twitter or maybe you walk outside and there's a press photographer there.
"Now it's different as I'm prepared for it, but I usually avoid those kinds of situations and hide behind someone else if I see someone from the press."
She added: "When I'm in a local pub, I just want the Kierston who I used to be, not try to talk about, 'Oh, wow, EastEnders' with punters for seven hours. But it's a learning process."
As to her future on the soap, Wareing said: "I'd like to do other projects. It'd be nice to be in the show, come out, go back in there and come out - I don't know if they're going to allow that, but that'd be my ideal situation."
She concluded: "It would be nice to do film work and dramas, something you can really get your teeth into.
"I think a year in EastEnders would be good - maybe longer."