Life in the limelight

Published:
29/01/2020

 

I believe you’re living in Mona Vale, how long have you been on the Northern Beaches? And what drew you to Pittwater?
 
Love brought me over the bridge! During our courtship, my husband Andrew was living in Mona Vale. On our very first date we went for a swim in the basin at Mona Vale Beach. It was a glimpse of an idyllic life on the Northern Beaches. He successfully lured me over from the Eastern Suburbs over 10 years ago and I haven’t looked back. We moved to Collaroy for five years before buying our first family home in Mona Vale two years ago. I still can’t quite believe I live somewhere so beautiful.

 

What sort of things do you and the family get up to around the area?
 
Mona Vale Beach is my favourite stretch of sand. There are a couple of other mums in the neighbourhood who surf about as well as I do (not very well), and we’ve done a few lessons together with Chix Surf School to boost our confidence. We all get such a buzz out of going for a paddle and it’s a brilliant stress buster. The bush track up to Mona Vale headland is a lovely walk, with the reward of a grassy hill ideal for picnics and whale watching. I’m trying hard to cut down on caffeine, so I’ve been visiting a café in Newport called Hibration Organics, for the most delicious cacao and medicinal mushroom brew.Riccardos in Narrabeen is the best woodfired pizza joint on the beaches; Sushi Narra offers excellent Japanese; Mexicano is where you’ll find me during summer for their margaritas; and Berts in Newport is also a favourite for classic cocktails and oysters.
 

Can you tell me a bit about how your talent was first realised, and some of the big breaks along the way?

While I was studying graphic design, I started doing fashion parades for extra cash to pay for art materials. The gigs became more frequent and within the year I’d secured an agent in Chic Management. While I really enjoyed modelling, I was hungry for new challenges. My boyfriend at the time went to audition for the role of TV host for Body & Soul. I turned up, did an ad-lib casting and landed the role. I then went on to host a number of TV shows, including Australia’s Next Top Model. While I loved presenting, I’d always wanted to explore a career in music. That opportunity presented itself in the series It Takes Two. Following the show, I got a record deal with EMI and travelled around the world writing and recording songs before my first musical theatre role, Brooke in Legally Blonde, came along. I was well and truly bitten by the bug and still think it’s the job that brings me the most joy. Between theatre roles, I’ve played various characters in Australian dramas such as Home and Away, and The Family Law.
 

What are you working on at present?

The early part of the year is ‘pilot season’, a crazy audition period for all the new American TV shows. It’s one big brain fry learning so many scripts daily and often having to transform from detective, to criminal lawyer, to astrophysicist, to murderous mother in a day. It’s also a ton of fun. I’m hoping to land some more Sydney-based theatre work this year, and I’m keen to try my hand at writing.  
 

Is it challenging juggling motherhood with a career like yours in the spotlight with crazy schedules?

The biggest challenge is the irregularity and unpredictability of the work. There can be long testing stretches of unemployment, followed by a flood of gigs in far flung places. You’re also fitting in family responsibilities around ridiculous hours, but I’ve got a great family who always help whenever they can. My son came on the road with me at just four months of age for the year-long Australian tour of Singin’ in the Rain. I’m sure it’s why he’s such an adaptable little dude.
 

You’re looking incredible, does fitness and beauty play a big role in your everyday life?

A big part of being in this industry is the maintenance. Mental and physical fitness play a huge role in everyday life. I swear by pilates at Vive in Brookvale, F45 in Mona Vale, hot pilates and yoga at Soul Tiger in Warriewood, and surfing, soft sand runs and ocean swims in summer.
For panel-beating/facials, Joanna Newham (Newport) is hands down the most exceptional beauty therapist on the planet, I love her laser genesis and omnilux light therapy treatments.

 
Finally, outside of family and your career I believe you lend your star-power to a number of causes you’re passionate about?

You’ll definitely find me amongst the action at any Climate Strike initiative or Women’s March, raging passionately, protesting peacefully while wielding a few hand painted placards. Never has there been a time where united voice has been so potent or more important. The future of our planet is of great concern, and there are so many ways we can all contribute to change. I also want my son to see and learn from my activism. You’re never too young to have a sense of awareness and contribute to the bigger picture in small but meaningful ways.

 

Author:
Joe McDonough, Editor-in-Chief, Peninsula Living Magazine

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