Demi’s new edge

Har­man’s sexy char­ac­ter in Win­ners & Losers is set to shake up the girls and the fans, writes Colin Vickery

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

Give it some time. That is Demi Har­man’s ad­vice to Win­ners & Losers fans who don’t im­me­di­ately warm to new char­ac­ter Ri­ley Hart.

When Ri­ley first ap­pears on the Chan­nel 7 drama, Jenny Gross (Melissa Ber­g­land) la­bels her a bitch and view­ers might feel the same. Jenny talks hus­band Gabe (Nick Rus­sell) into hir­ing Ri­ley as an as­sis­tant at his tech­nol­ogy com­pany and al­most im­me­di­ately re­grets the de­ci­sion.

Ri­ley is cool and stand-off­ish when she first meets Jenny. There is no thank you for the new job. Ri­ley wears glasses that Jenny is sure are fake. That makes her a poser.

The fact that Ri­ley is in­cred­i­bly at­trac­tive be­gins to eat away at Jenny. What if she has un­wit­tingly jeop­ar­dised her re­la­tion­ship with Gabe?

Seven’s pub­lic­ity blurb de­scribes Ri­ley as “ef­fort­lessly sex­ual” and “Jen­nifer Lawrence, Mila Ku­nis and Olivia Wilde rolled into one”.

It is a far more adult role than Sasha Bezmel, the love­able teen stu­dent Har­man played on Home and Away for four years.

“No one is re­ally go­ing to re­late to Ri­ley in­stantly,” Har­man says. “She’s one of those girls who gets along with guys bet­ter than she does other women.

“She’s not re­ally a girlie girl. She’s got a lot of male per­son­al­ity traits. It’s not all sleep­overs and nail pol­ish. She’s into video games and beer and pizza.

“She’s quite blunt in the way she goes about things and doesn’t think be­fore she speaks and that gives her an edge. She comes across as con­fi­dent and that she’s got it all to­gether but be­hind that is a lot of in­se­cu­rity.

“Ri­ley and Jenny def­i­nitely get off on the wrong foot. She stirs the pot.”

View­ers might not love Ri­ley but they can’t get enough of Har­man who has bal­anced her act­ing work with a pre­sent­ing role on Bet­ter Homes and Gar­dens.

Seven’s man­age­ment was so im­pressed by Har­man’s abil­i­ties that they of­fered her Ri­ley while she was still in Home and Away.

“There are not many peo­ple who could move so eas­ily be­tween such dif­fer­ent pro­grams with as much grace and im­pact as Demi,” Seven pro­gram chief An­gus Ross says. “The story that is at the heart of Win­ners & Losers is a per­fect fit.”

Har­man is un­der no il­lu­sions that Ri­ley is a long term gig. Seven has al­ready an­nounced that Win­ners & Losers’ short­ened fifth sea­son of 13 episodes will be its last.

That works fine for Har­man who is also pur­su­ing Hollywood star­dom. She re­cently re­turned from pi­lot sea­son in Los An­ge­les and will be back there again in Septem­ber.

Ac­tor-boyfriend Alec Snow, who hooked up with Har­man dur­ing their time to­gether on Home and Away, has al­ready said he doesn’t have Amer­ica in his sights. The pair spent time apart when Har­man moved to Mel­bourne to film Win­ners & Losers. They caught up on week­ends at best.

“It ( Home and Away) was very much a rou­tine for us as a cou­ple — go­ing to work to­gether,” Har­man has said. “We were in the same scenes most of the time. That (leav­ing Home and Away) was im­por­tant to hap­pen — the next step.”

Her char­ac­ter Ri­ley faces a sim­i­lar plight. Her move to Mel­bourne in­evitably af­fects her re­la­tion­ship with boyfriend Dan (Joshua Hine).

“It is what a lot of young girls ex­pe­ri­ence — mov­ing out of home and find­ing them­selves,” Har­man says.

“She’s not re­ally a girlie girl. She’s got a lot of male per­son­al­ity traits”

DEMI HAR­MAN ON HER CHAR­AC­TER

WIN­NERS & LOSERS, CHAN­NEL 7, TUES­DAY, 8.30PM

Demi Har­man is tak­ing on a more adult role in Win­ners & Losers; (be­low) with co-star Nick Rus­sell.

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