American audiences first met Sally Hawkins when she played the irrepressibly positive Poppy in “Happy Go Lucky.” Since she is currently in theaters as Rita, the strong-willed but sweet leader of an equal-pay movement in “Made in Dagenham,” you might guess that the genuine article is as charming as the recent characters she has played. You’d be right.

“I am drawn to the people who have that joy,” says the actress of her more upbeat characters. “They all have high morality and I do value that in life. Vitality and a love of life is a good thing.”

The London native has held on to her down-to-earth attitude despite being an internationally famous Golden Globe winner. Sometimes, she forgets about that stuff completely.

“I think people expect ‘my life is completely different,’ but it’s not. Not that I’m doing bad — I’m just me and I’m still the same person,” Hawkins explains. “Your world expands in a way that you’re not aware of at the time. I’m probably not even aware of it now. I’m always surprised that people know who I am.”

Hawkins does add, though, that the win has allowed her to have her pick of good scripts — one of which was “Made in Dagenham,” the tale of a 1968 strike by female machinists in a Ford Factory in Dagenham, England, who fought for equal pay to that of men.

“I’m not good at summing up films in sound bites,” she laughs, with a twinge of embarrassment. “But … I loved the modesty of these women. That just garners great respect because it’s not ego-based. They had to say what was right.”