Wow! What a year – hugely topsy turvy, forced into a new world, left to the basics, and dealing with rapidly changing, new and uncontrollable circumstances. It has meant for all of us that life has been flipped on it’s head and the options of how we do life are changed, been put on pause, or come to an end.
After almost 13 years overseas, at the end of March, I unexpectantly packed my bags and dismantled a happy life in Los Angeles to return home to Australia as Covid 19 was peaking and the borders began to close. Within 10 days of making a decision, my apartment was cleared, car sold hours before boarding a flight, no real chance for a sentimental farewell, just a dramatic outro to my next stop: quarantine in Sydney. I got put up in a flash hotel with all the trimmings. 14 days of much appreciated luxury and r’n’r. It was exactly what I needed, a sweet outcome indeed.
Creatively it’s been a hard year to make progress. What with relocating and going into lockdown there has been little to no chance to audition, and left to my own devices I’ve not felt a huge amount of mojo. It’s felt more about survival, regrouping and being kind to oneself whilst navigating the stormy seas as they’ve rolled in…and there’s been plenty.
On a positive note, I have signed with my first ever Aussie agent: Williams Management. And launched a comedy YouTube channel to delve into the character and writing stuff that I love and have been training in for years at Second City and Groundlings in LA. I also created a sketch called ‘Happy Ending‘ that was my first time writing and directing, shot at the end of 2019. It took a while to get finished, but we got there in the end and released it via YouTube with a good response.
Otherwise, I’ve been settling into a new home, exploring the surrounding neighbourhoods, taking a couple of online classes and rebuilding an indoor plant business I had in LA, named Calistags Plants.
I am excited, optimistic and deeply grateful to be back in Australia.
Here’s cheers to the new year – 2021, we’re coming for ya!!!
Wowsers…I have not updated this website in ages. But, I am back! It’s now 2019, and my last post was at the end of 2017. To bring you up to speed, I headed home to Melbourne for the first half of 2018. I’d been out of Australia for over a decade and was feeling a real need to go back and reconnect to my people and land…and what a nourishing trip it was.
On returning to LA a number of diverse, fun, beautiful, interesting and challenging opportunities presented with jobs booked.
First, there was a small (don’t blink!) but fantastic role in a Mercedes car commercial. I played an aristocratic lady. Talk about fun in those costumes!
Then came a print job for Toyota in the Bay area – Oakland.
A truly lovely surprise next; a director I had worked with on a stage production a couple of years back recommended me to their friend who was shooting a comedy pilot and needed someone to play the kooky, dog loving room-mate. The apartment we shot in was covered in all sorts of combat “weaponry”, as the tenant was an expert in this field, and it became a most unusual background to the scene. The first cut of this project is complete and I’m excited to check it out, hopefully soon.
The next project involved virtual reality (VR) and is not something I can share too much about, but I played the mother of a young man having a psychotic episode. It was a really challenging role in it’s intensity, but also the technicality of working in this medium. Instead of delivering lines to a scene partner, at times I was talking to the cameraman, his torso strapped in a dozen or more cameras to capture 360 footage and an earwig (ear piece) was where I could hear my scene partner’s lines being delivered.
The last project for 2018 was a career highlight, an immersive theatre production called “Theatre Macabre”. I was not super familiar with this world of entertainment, but let me tell you, it was a huge scale production set over two stories of a large historic building complete with 3 ballrooms, grand staircases, a myriad of side rooms, smaller staircases, a large foyer, and on. Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who shot to fame when he directed the “Saw” film franchise, this guy was extraordinary in his ability to bring something so complex and multifaceted to life in the way he did. Set at the turn of the 19th century and based on a real life ‘macabre’ show that ran in Paris for 70 years (!) from the late 1800’s, with 38 cast members, 10 different story ‘tracks’, and timing that needed to be incredibly precise as every half hour (for 6-7 hours a night) a new audience began their journey. Each audience member was set on a different story line track, and along the course would meet the characters of that thread, and were commissioned to assist them, disclose personal or narrative related information, etc. I played an undercover British countess disguised as a French gypsy, my sister and I both insane and hiding in the world of “Theatre Macabre”. There is so much I could say about my experience, from the extraordinary roles I was given, the challenges of playing someone insane and suicidal, the probing that my character was required to do that involved asking people about death and loss and the harrowing stories people bravely shared, to the incredible people I worked with, the beauty of the costumes, the bands that played hypnotic and wonderful music as a soundtrack every night, the celebrities that came through and Patrick Neil Harris joining our cast one night and helping to “strangle and kill” my character, but not before sharing some intimate time in the darkness of a closet I had retreated to. We worked our tits off, and the crowds loved it. It felt a bit like climbing Everest, and when I got to the top, boy oh boy, was the view sublime!
The end of the year finished up beautifully, booking one last project, an indie feature called ‘Sid’s Lake’, a psychological thriller, playing an elitist counselor. We shot this project in February this year and I was thrilled to have several wonderfully meaty scenes. The kind that you can really sink your teeth into, that required my character and the lead to get into a sort of mind war, as he came to me for counselling, initially under his father’s orders and then voluntarily. I had a great time! This project is now in post production and I’m keeping fingers crossed for a successful onward journey.
Such exciting news! The PSA, “My Heroes“, I shot a couple of months back was released a week ago and overnight started gathering major attention and praise. I couldn’t believe my eyes to see that a platform I so love, Upworthy, had published our video…but this was just the beginning! Over the last week our video has gone viral & has spread all over the world; from my home country of Australia, to Japan, France, England and beyond. News outlets such as SBS News, Australia, CBS News, Huffington Post, and Pop Sugar have all run stories, and even American actor, Ashton Kutcher, posted our video to his Facebook page, racking up close to 4 million hits, the last time I checked!
I am extremely proud to be involved in a piece with such a beautiful and important message – one that spotlights gender stereotypes, and promotes the idea of love, acceptance and compassion, no matter who you are or want to be.
Thank you to all my family, friends and the greater circle for sharing and supporting. It means the world!
I’ve been seriously slacking on the news front this year. There is a stack to be grateful for, so let’s start with the latest…
Last week I shot a beautiful, socially conscious PSA, playing a mom. I had a really fun day with the ‘fam’ – my handsome husband, son and daughter team, celebrating Halloween.
We’ve been working non-stop on our web series Visioneering: Forward Thinkers of the World. This comedy gem is an 8 part series about a spiritual healer and destiny guide newly moved to Los Angeles from Australia who is followed by the crew of a documentary spotlight series. It was initially shot as a short film that turned out to be much longer than intended. We were struggling with the edit (’cause we loved so much of it!), post production slowed, and then we had an epiphany to turn the material into a web series. Moving swiftly ahead, we wrote in five new characters and shot them in a ‘chat to camera’ style fashion, sliced up the original footage into episodes, added the new footage, and have spent a good part of this year patching it all together. Thank God for the amazing team that have helped nurture this baby into completion. We have been submitting to numerous festivals and have gained great joy in being accepted into the Glasgow based Feel the Reel International Film Festival and the LA local, Broad Humor Film Festival. We are also currently semi finalists at Los Angeles CineFest. We are planning on releasing the complete series online in December.
Also, I recently had the opportunity to work on my first ever virtual reality project. Shot with a rig of GoPros that looked like some kind of UFO, it was a unique experience and a lot of fun! ‘Ashes’ is the story of an ailing man and his two daughters who share differing relationships with their father. Photo to the right of me and my onscreen sister.
Last, but not least, I have been loving being a student at one of the country’s finest improv schools; Second City, Hollywood. As a result of my ‘playtime’ here, I started taking improv hip hop classes (improv done in freestyle rhyme). This led to me auditioning for the brand spanking new house team…and whaddaya know…I was cast in a crew now known as the ‘Ghost Face Kittens‘. It has been a thrilling ride with this litter of kitties; a super talented posse of eight, who keep me on my toes and super inspired from week to week. We perform every second Friday at Second City, and it has to be said, people are digging the GFK vibrations! Photo below is missing a couple of peeps. Guy in the burgundy shirt is our legend of a director, Rich Baker.
That’s all for now, but with a couple of exciting auditions burning up this week, I do hope there’ll be more exciting news just a hop, skip and a jump away!
Life has been so full with acting lately, I’ve hardly had a moment to catch my breath! It’s been all parts exciting, and I wanted to share my latest project.
We wrapped a couple of weeks back – a beautiful feature film, The Unimaginable (working title).
The story of Sari (the writer/director’s real life grandmother), and her time in a labor camp in Sommerda, Germany in 1944-1945. Her journey and experiences are explored through the journal she courageously kept during this period (now on display in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC), filtered through the memories and imagination of her son and grandson. I play ‘The Worker’, one of her peers in the labor camp.
I spent 6 amazing days shooting in east LA in a huge, historic factory – the location for the bullet making factory, where we work in Sommerda.
Serious props to Ben, our director, a quiet and concentrated force of nature. I was really in awe of Ben’s ability to lead with such grace and humility, and the passion and commitment brought by all cast and crew. Truly inspiring and moving stuff!
The biggest little festival in the world has hit Hollywood, and you can find me performing in not one, but two plays in the coming week! This festival originated in my home country of Australia, and presents a collection of 10 minute plays over the course of three weeks in a competition style format.
Last week I performed in Neptune’s (Part II) – set behind the scenes at a Sydney strip club in 1979. I play Helena, cocktail waitress and overseer of operations, surly, outspoken and proud to be earning good bucks in a “clean joint”.
In an added surprise, we won the Audience Vote, and have been invited back to perform Neptune’s (Part II) at the Final Gala. Very exciting!
This week I’ll be performing in Divorce Fantasies – a wild comedy about a girl who needs to loosen up sexually, so with the help of her housemates creates a role play like scenario to seduce the right man. I play Crista, ring leader, teacher, mediator and mother to all.
Currently studying with The Groundlings Improv School in Los Angeles, and having the time of my life! My teachers Holly Mandel and (teacher in training) Drew Talbert are simply awesome. #lifefeelsohsoshinyandnew
Happy holidays wished to all! I really love this time of year. Festivity, food, family. The autumn leaves are looking spectacular, the air up here in SF is getting some bite to it. It’s atmospheric in so many ways. A winning combination, I reckon. Now to find a roaring fireplace…
I’ve not long returned from LA where I worked on short film ‘Screenings’, a psychological thriller produced by Short Pajamas. It was a wonderful experience, with a super slick crew and fantastic director. Set in a ‘casting office’, I play Olive, a jaded and twisted receptionist, most happy to greet you…(cue dramatic music).
The same guys that produced this film, have another short called ‘Gloriana’ currently on the national festival circuit. It so happened when I was in LA, I caught a screening at The Studio City film festival, and was really impressed. A gripping, moving, and beautiful piece with a stellar female lead.
I am also very excited to be returning home to Australia at the end of December for a visit. Fun in the sun with my loved ones…sounds like the perfect way to round out a huge year.
There’s a terrific magazine produced in my home country of Australia, with inspiring content for girls – and guess who was invited for an interview?! Little old ME, that’s who! Talk about flattering. Thanks a million Tigress. Very excited to be involved. Get the inside scoop here.