Life after Braith

Jodi Anasta on her new job, new life... new love?

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE - By SHAN­NON MOL­LOY

AFTER a rough start to the year, Jodi Anasta is de­ter­mined to get her groove back.

The 31-year-old be­gan 2016 sud­denly sin­gle, after end­ing her three-year mar­riage to rugby league leg­end Braith Anasta in De­cem­ber.

But, never one to suc­cumb to life’s chal­lenges, the Lo­gie-win­ning for­mer Home and Away star picked her­self up, dusted her­self off and got busy re­assess­ing her goals.

One of them was to re­turn to per­form­ing after a pro­longed ab­sence. And this week, she makes her de­but on long-run­ning soap

Neigh­bours as school­teacher Elly. “It’s sur­real, all this change,” she says. “But when you look at ev­ery­thing you’ve done, how you can be bet­ter, how much more you want in life and what might be next for you, it’s ex­cit­ing and em­pow­er­ing to start tick­ing things off the list.”

It took a lit­tle while to set­tle back into life on a TV set, she says. The fre­netic pace of a show such as Neigh­bours means learn­ing and con­vey­ing pages of di­a­logue a day.

While she per­fected that skill as Sum­mer Bay’s Martha MacKen­zie for five years un­til 2010, Anasta says she was a lit­tle rusty.

“It’s not like rid­ing a bike,” she laughs. “The sec­ond week on set though, it hit me – this is my happy place. I’d found it. I’d been work­ing so hard to have that op­por­tu­nity and for it to hap­pen, to be in the midst of it … I felt such enor­mous grat­i­tude.”

Join­ing the Ram­say Street cast, on a ru­moured lu­cra­tive three­year con­tract, was not with­out its chal­lenges, she says.

Anasta lives in Syd­ney, where she and Braith share cus­tody of their two-year-old Aleeia, and mov­ing to Mel­bourne where the show is filmed was out of the ques­tion. How­ever, pro­duc­ers were keen to snare the pop­u­lar per­son­al­ity and moved moun­tains to make it work.

“I felt a lit­tle self­ish hav­ing this re­stric­tion on the job, but that’s the way it is,” she says.

“My daugh­ter comes first. We came up with a com­pro­mise. It was a long process but it was worth it.

Neigh­bours’ [bosses] were in­cred­i­ble and they made it work, which I think says a lot about the show and how im­por­tant fam­ily val­ues are.”

A good re­la­tion­ship with her ex, and a solid ap­proach to their co-par­ent­ing, also helps to make the ar­range­ment work.

“We work to­gether and as a re­sult we have a very happy, vi­brant and en­thu­si­as­tic lit­tle girl who’s thriv­ing. She’s happy and that’s what is most im­por­tant to us,” Anasta says.

“If she’s happy, to me it says the dy­namic be­tween Braith and I is work­ing. He’s a won­der­ful fa­ther and I feel very lucky that we have a good re­la­tion­ship.”

Aleeia is “the per­fect mix” of both par­ents, with hints of be­ing a nat­u­ral per­former and a po­ten­tial sport­ing star, Anasta says.

“She’s got so much per­son­al­ity… she’s an en­ter­tainer – and her hand­eye co-or­di­na­tion is next-level, too.”

There’s no doubt the dif­fi­culty of the break-up, as well as nav­i­gat­ing this new chap­ter in full glare of the pub­lic eye, hasn’t been easy.

But Anasta says things fi­nally feel like they’re start­ing to fall into place – and she couldn’t be hap­pier.

“Maybe it’s be­cause I’m ready for it and I’m in a good place … but I feel like things are work­ing,” she says. “I’ve worked re­ally hard to achieve things in my life and I feel like it’s all com­ing to­gether.”

NEIGH­BOURS

MON­DAY TO FRI­DAY, 6.30PM, ELEVEN

Back in ac­tion: For­mer Home­andAway star Jodi Anasta re­turns to our screens as school­teacher Elly on Neigh­bours.

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