Soap star: Is a real Paige turner
Working on TV soap Neighbours is a labour of love for Olympia Valance, writes HOLLY BYRNES
THERE should be little doubt about Olympia Valance’s commitment to her craft.
Playing pregnant Paige Smith on Neighbours, the 24-year-old goes into labour on the Channel 10 soap this week – and in true Ramsay Street style, it’s no ordinary delivery, with the single mother finding herself alone in an isolated farming shed, just as her water breaks.
Valance says it was no ordinary day of filming either with the young actor pushing through a 12-hour “labour”.
“I was pushing all day long, from six in the morning, to six at night. There was one point, I was pushing so hard I almost fainted,” she reveals.
Warned her unborn was in the breech position, there was added drama for both mother and child – that is, before Dr Karl Kennedy (Alan Fletcher) and her baby daddy, priest Father Jack (Andrew Morley), could rush to her side.
After researching the complications associated with a breech birth, what’s not in danger, Valance confirms, is any chance she’ll be rushing out to get pregnant in real life.
“I reckon I watched about three hours of home [breech] birth videos and oh, my god ... it was the greatest contraception ever, 100 per cent,” she laughs.
Besides being “completely frightened out of wanting to have a baby” Valance has her sights set firmly on an international career – presenting a different dilemma for the young star.
Now in her fourth year on the soap series, the Logie-nominated actor admits she’s edging closer to cutting the cord and leaving her TV family for new work opportunities in either London or Los Angeles. Her endorsement deal with Gossard lingerie takes her to the UK capital regularly, allowing time for her to visit with half-sister and former
Neighbours star Holly, who lives between London and Los Angeles with her entrepeneur husband Nick Candy and their toddler daughter, Luca.
Signed to the same US management agency as the Hemsworth brothers, Roar, there are also doors set to open for her there.
And yet, Valance – loyal to where she got her acting start – is torn about leaving her Neighbours and FremantleMedia family behind.
“A lot of people don’t get this opportunity, so I feel very lucky and very blessed to have been given this chance,” she says. “To go and throw it away for the unknown ... it’s going to be really hard because I’ve loved the cast, I love the crew.”
Her departure is already causing anxiety on the closeknit set, Valance admits.
“The make-up artist said to me this morning that Eve Morley [who plays Sonia Rebecchi] had said something like, ‘It’s going to be emotional to see Olympia go...’ and I started tearing up, that’s how emotional I get,” she says.
“If I do go, it will be one of the hardest decisions I’ll ever have to make.”
She plans to use the show’s end-of-year production break this year to spend a month in Los Angeles, trying her luck during pilot season. But she’s pleaded with producers not to kill her character off.
“Even if I decide not to sign on for another season, I want to come back and forth for cameos,” she says.
“It would never be the end of Paige.”
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