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