Out of the Box
Fifi Box has fulfilled a life-long dream by landing an acting role on the small screen, writes CLARE RIGDEN
FIFI Box is best known as a radio host. But that might be about to change, as she embarks on a new phase of her career – acting in Neighbours.
The 39-year-old originally studied performing arts at university before radio came calling, and had long harboured a secret desire to pursue acting – but had all but given up on her dream.
“It was only a year or two ago that I even started saying it out loud to a few people, that I wanted to try acting again,” she explains.
“Then Thea McLeod, the casting director for Neighbours, contacted me and said, ‘Would you be interested in auditioning?’ And I didn’t even have to think about it.
“You get to this stage in your life where you’re more fearless, and you think, ‘What have I got to lose?’”
Taking on the role of Brooke Butler – long-lost mum to Lilly Van der Meer’s Xanthe – is a departure for Box, who has only ever starred on television as herself.
“That first day, that’s when it struck me: put me on radio, or on live TV, or a panel, presenting (Box is also a co-host on The Project every Tuesday), and I’m like, ‘Yep – I’ve got this’. But get me in front of three different cameras, standing in the right spot, acting — I found it very daunting.”
Not having the kind of control she’s used to in her broadcasting career will be challenging for Box, who, despite her carefully curated image of “carefree, bubbly presenter”, is clearly a woman used to being in the driving seat.
Box has steered her career with precision, carefully stage-managing her public perception, choosing what to speak openly about on her radio show, and what to keep hidden.
This has made her an intriguing target for tabloids, who have devoured her under-the-radar relationship with former Ironman, Grant Kenny – the father of her threeyear-old daughter, Trixie. She’s never spoken publicly of their relationship, only recently even acknowledging he was a part of their lives through two photographs posted to her Instagram.
While she’s more than happy to chat about Trixie during our interview, when I ask her whether more children might be in her future, all it takes is a nervous giggle and a look, to have her publicist jump in with a, “Let’s just keep this to her new TV role”.
It’s not a stretch, then, to think that putting herself “out there” for this role, and all the subsequent publicity it entails, might make her nervous.
But she’s clearly got her eye on the prize as she moves to this new phase of her career. Having fitted her six-week stint in around her already hectic commitments, which include a 4.30am start on radio as well as a once-a-week hosting role on The Project, Box made it work.
“As a single mum, you just do it, I have no option but to work and put myself out there” she says.
So would she give up radio to continue to chase her dream?
“Contractually I’m not sure I could do that,” Box laughs. “But I’d love any chance to stay involved with [the Neighbours] family and that crew, I’d relish the opportunity.”
NEIGHBOURS WEEKDAYS, 6.30PM, ELEVEN