“Treat people with respect and be friendly with everyone. Think collaboration and be mindful of others. Come to work prepared, so you don’t let the team down.”
Interview by Joanne Kmaid
Your acting career began on Heartbreak High. A blast from the past or a forgotten grace?
That was my first job 23 years ago, so it definitely remains close to my heart! It was a great show to work on – Unlike today’s busy schedule, we were allowed 2 weeks of rehearsal prior to shooting the show. Until this day, I utilise all the skills I learnt. I was lucky to land the job at 16. I did dancing and acting, as kids do, and had an agent for a year when I went for the audition. It was supposed to be 12 weeks of work, but it got extended. I was very lucky.
How common is it to interact with cast/crew outside filming?
Now that I’m a mum, I don’t get as much time to develop friendships, but we are a really close knit family on-set. Home and Away has a big cast, but I mainly work with a few people. My closest bonds are shared with Ray (Alf), Lynne (Irene), Matt (on-screen son) and Charlie (on-screen husband). When a cast member leaves, you really feel the loss especially if you work with them every day.
What is the most beautiful thing life has thrown your way?
Definitely my little boy, Johnas! He is four, and brings so much joy and happiness. He is a happy, affectionate child – The best thing that has happened to me.
What is your Christmas wish?
To spend quality time with my little boy, like hanging out in the backyard and enjoying yummy food. Johnas is in day care 3 days a week and my mum lives in the same street, so I have great support when I am working.
What advice would you give to actors starting out?
Treat people with respect and be friendly with everyone. Think collaboration and be mindful of others. Come to work prepared, so you don’t let the team down.
Has your long-lived character influenced your nature?
I have been playing Leah for seventeen years now, so yeah, it is common to have part of me in my character. It’s a fast paced job; the nature of the show allows me to play elements of myself. I love Leah and I am protective of her. She is sweet, positive and a great friend. It is sad to think that one day I won’t be playing her, because that’s all I know.
Is it one big happy family behind the scenes?
Absolutely! You really have to love your job and appreciate what you do. There isn’t a day that passes where I walk on-set and think, I don’t want to be here. We work crazy hours, so if it wasn’t fun, it would be too hard to get through the day.
What is your most memorable fan experience?
Visiting hospitals and seeing the kids – I love lighting up their day and putting a smile on their faces. I support Starlight Foundation and Make-A-Wish Australia. The kids get so excited. Many of them visit us on-set too.
How much of your Greek culture influences you?
It’s who I am – A Greek Australian. It influences my morals, work ethics, passion, family and love for food. I want to strongly teach Johnas about his roots and rituals. Growing up, it wasn’t fun to be different, but as an adult, I embrace my culture and wouldn’t change it at all.
Who is your role model?
It’s a different person at different stages in my life, but I do love and adore my best friend, Simone. She lives in New York. I have been to New York twice, but not since she moved up there. It’s not the calmest place to raise my son. Simone is supportive, non-judgemental and thinks I am hilarious all the time. She inspires me as a human being and is an awesome person.
The Logie Awards are coming up. Are you expecting a nomination?
Yes, the Logies are coming up and although I don’t expect a nomination, I do expect the show to get one. I’m always proud of us getting a nomination and also winning in the last few years, as it’s such a difficult category with such great competition.
This interview was submitted by Cinema Australia contributor Joanne Kmaid. If you have an article or interview you would like to submit for our consideration please contact us today.