HOMETOWN: Leicester, England
LATEST GIG: The star of the 2002 Cinderella-in-soccer-shorts flick Bend It Like Beckham
is now pumping fresh blood into ER
as surgical resident—and costar John Stamos's onscreen love interest—Dr. Neela Rasgotra.
• LOVE HURTS: Having love scenes with ER's
hottest intern is "fun," says Nagra, though she does have one quibble with Stamos. "He's a good kisser, but he was wearing this designer stubble for a while, and it was giving me a rash. It's like, you've got to get rid of the stubble."
• HER OTHER ER CRUSH: "For ages, I told people, 'Don't introduce me to George Clooney
or I will just die,'" recalls Nagra, who considers PEOPLE's reigning Sexiest Man Alive (and ex-ER doc) to be "the ultimate movie star of our generation. But when we met, he was the sweetest, nicest person."
• NO STRINGS: Although Nagra was on her way to becoming accomplished at playing the viola, "When I turned 17, I made myself decide between that and acting, and I ended up selling my first viola for rent and food. That was a very sad moment. Recently, I got another one, now that I have money. It surprised me how much I remembered, although I had lost a lot of the strength in my fingers."
• HER REAL-LIFE EMERGENCIES: "There were two incidents when I was around 5 or 6," she says. "I sliced my little finger in a doorway and it was half hanging off. Another time I got burned over 30 percent of my body. I was at home, trying to make chapati [Indian bread]. I turned on the gas grill and jumped on the counter and my dress literally caught on fire. My uncle poured cold water on me, and the ambulance took me away. I was in the hospital for about nine months, but in a weird way I'm grateful for the experience. It made me want to get better and to do well in life." As for the remaining scars on her legs and arms, "I always say, 'If it doesn't bother you, it really doesn't bother me.'"