It seems that the Brookside episode had a profound effect on the Lancashire lass, who now spends her time in the ladies' toilets of New York nightclubs, sharing her lipstick with the PR fraternity in a classic case of life mirroring art.
Sinclair Mason deputy MD Sally Habergham tells us: 'I came out of the cubicle and there she was. 'When she heard that I was English, we got chatting. Before I knew it, she was offering me her red lipstick.'
Habergham - in New York to receive an IPR award for the agency's work for BT's sponsorship website - was far too polite to mention to Ms Friel that it clashed with her pink Dolce & Gabbana shoes. But the thought must have turned her pale, because out came the blusher.
This time, Friel wasn't content just to let Habergham put it on herself.
Armed with blusher and eyelash curler, Friel re-did her entire make-up.
'She was very friendly,' Habergham assures us.