BACK to BASS
Natalie Bassingthwaighte joins the cast of Ten’s The Wrong Girl
For Natalie Bassingthwaighte, this year’s jungle adventure on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out
Of Here! was more than just a working mother’s search for a bit of peace and quiet.
As the 41-year-old explains: “One of the reasons, besides the huge charity aspect, of going on the show was to ask myself, what am I doing with my life? What is it that I really want?”
Three months after the show in the South African wilds — with a new family-first focus in mind — the former
Neighbours star and Rogue Traders frontwoman this week joins the cast of Ten’s breakout drama hit, The Wrong Girl.
Playing Gillian, a pastry
chef and ex-girlfriend of Jack Winters (played by Logie winner Rob Collins),
Bassingthwaighte is already throwing herself into her new TV project — mindful it will be the first time in her career she will be able to work and come home to her family each night.
“I haven’t worked in Melbourne since Neighbours, so to work in my new home town on a drama is a thrill,” the Wollongong-raised star tells Switched On.
“It will be the first time since I’ve had children [daughter Harper, 6 and Hendrix, 4] that I’ll go to work and come home. I’m normally filming in Sydney, or travelling, so that’s a buzz.”
The multi-tasking actor (who also designs her own children’s clothing line, Chi Khi, and continues to gig with the band, which introduced her to husband, Cameron McGlinchey) signed herself up for a day of cooking classes in preparation for her new TV gig.
“There’s no guarantee I can make something that tastes any good, but at least I can make it look like I know what I’m doing,” she says.
Joining the award-winning ensemble for season two has teamed her with the cast’s other working mothers, including Bassingthwaighte’s former Neighbours co-star, Madeline West, and The Wrong Girl’s leading lady, Jessica Marais.
“Jess is just heaven and we talked about that [working mum struggle] ... it’s not an easy thing. With this industry, the job could be in your home town or it could be somewhere else, but you have to make choices all the time.
“I feel like I’m at the happiest point in my life, that I’m making decisions that are right for me and right for my family. I’m very content at the moment.”
On screen, at least, Marais and Bassingthwaighte look destined to become entangled in a love triangle of sorts.
“It’s kind of exciting because I come in at a really pivotal point of Jack and Lily’s [Marais] relationship, so it’s going to be a great storyline between us all.”
And Bassingthwaighte credits I’m A Celebrity … with her new-found clarity.
“You can’t come out of that experience not being changed by it, for better or worse,” she says.
“For me, I was lucky that I’ve made some great friends, that I do feel like it’s opened my mind to a different life, a new life, and the balance I have been searching for for years, that I’m only able to realise now.”