SHE was one of Scotland’s most successful models, before making her name as an actor known for taking on a series of eclectic roles. Now Pollyanna McIntosh has been unveiled as a new character in one of America’s most popular TV shows.

The 37-year-old, who grew up in Edinburgh, appeared as Jadis in last Monday's episode on Fox of the horror drama The Walking Dead, which tells the story of a group of survivors in a world hit by a zombie apocalypse.

McIntosh said she was particularly attracted to her role – as the leader of a mysterious group who live in the middle of a junkyard – because it was originally going to be cast for either a man or a woman.

In an interview published on entertainment magazine site Variety she said: “It may sound weird, but I also connected really easily with this character. She’s really clear about what she wants. She enjoys the play of it. It was quite easy to get into.

“And the fact that she could have been cast as a male or female told me a lot as well. We weren’t going to be dealing with the traditional expectations of a female.”

McIntosh said we are still living in a “very patriarchal society” and having a role which could be played by a man or woman was “so progressive”.

She added: “That out of the box thinking means a lot to me. I want to see more of it.

“I’ve been reading more scripts like, 'What about this male character? Could I not play them?' There’s often a lot more for the guys to do.

“It’s still a business in which the writing and directing is done by men, so I thought it was open-minded to say your gender doesn’t define you as a leader or sexualise you.”

She said one of the best aspects of The Walking Dead was that different races, genders, sexualities and classes of people had all come together as a result of the chaos of the world.

“It’s not that I’m wishing for the zombie apocalypse, but I’d love to see that kind of egalitarianism,” she added.

McIntosh was born in Dunbartonshire and lived in Portugal and Colombia with her family before they settled in Edinburgh when she was nine.

She moved to London in 1995 at the age of 16 to model after winning a competition. She has spoken out against the pressures to stay slim in the fashion industry – she was deemed a plus-size model and appeared in Vogue as a size 14.

She made her film debut as a drug addict in Irvine Welsh’s The Acid House and has taken on roles in horror flicks such as The Women, Let Us Prey and White Settlers – the story of an English couple terrorised by Scots after they move to the Borders which was dubbed ‘indyref horror’ when it was released in 2014.

But the role in the Walking Dead will bring her one of her biggest audiences yet, with the opening episode of the current season drawing 17 million viewers. In 2016, the show was the most watched cable or broadcast TV show among 18 to 49-year-old viewers, and the third most popular overall.

However McIntosh admitted in the interview she hadn’t actually seen much of the show before going for the audition.

“After getting the job, I binged on almost seven seasons of the show,” she said. “I’m a huge fan now, really beyond anything about being in it.”