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The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Cover -

Ac­tress Bon­nie Sveen is sur­rounded by make-up artists, pho­tog­ra­phers, stylists, light­ing as­sis­tants… and cacti. The lat­ter is not some­thing she’s used to, given she grew up in rugged Tas­ma­nia and spent three years sur­rounded by sand and surf as she played the pop­u­lar Ricky Sharpe on Home And Away.

The crew of make-up artists and pho­tog­ra­phers, on the other hand? She’s very much used to them, which has taken some time. “I found it all quite funny to be­gin with,” she tells Stel­lar. “But then I had to take it a bit more se­ri­ously.”

Rightly so – at 28, Sveen is on a ca­reer high. The Lo­gie win­ner left Home And Away last year to con­cen­trate full-time on her role as Layla, best friend to star Jes­sica Mauboy’s Bil­lie, on the Seven Net­work’s The Se­cret Daugh­ter. And she re­veals that the ca­ma­raderie and chem­istry view­ers see on­screen is hardly a put-on.

“It’s not hard to en­joy your­self with Jess. She’s got a great at­ti­tude to­wards the work. She is pos­i­tive and pas­sion­ate and it shows on the screen and in her mu­sic. I feel like we are a ra­di­ant duo. It is a beau­ti­ful friend­ship that I’m happy to play on­screen.”

Sveen has a knack for this kind of thing, re­veal­ing she tries to meet up with her for­mer Home And Away cast­mates, but of­ten fails due to ev­ery­body’s hec­tic work sched­ules. But she is still wist­ful about the mem­o­ries. “Be­ing a part of that fam­ily was a time I’ll never be able to re-cre­ate or live again – in any other way,” she says. “It was such a unique ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The set of Home And Away holds a par­tic­u­larly spe­cial mean­ing for Sveen, be­cause it is also where she met her part­ner, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor Nathan Goo­ley. The cou­ple re­cently moved in to­gether to a new house in Syd­ney and, so far, there have been no fights over who han­dles the chores be­cause “words don’t need to get said about that sort of thing. He looks af­ter him­self and wants to take care of me.”

Sveen was 12 when she made her de­but in an ama­teur play, but it was in the play­ground, aged six, that she re­alised she wanted to do some­thing cre­ative with her life. “I was one of those kids who grew out of imag­i­nary games and friends much older than the other kids,” she says. “My imag­i­na­tion [and] sense of cre­ativ­ity al­ways came first – pur­su­ing act­ing is a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of that.”

Sveen is an out­spo­ken ad­vo­cate for di­ver­sity on our screens, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to women’s bod­ies and ap­pear­ance. In her head­line-mak­ing 2014 Lo­gies speech, the Best New Tal­ent win­ner stated it was im­por­tant “that view­ers have so warmly em­braced such a nat­u­ral and healthy young woman on their screens”.

Since then, Sveen has been turned into an un­of­fi­cial spokes­woman for body con­fi­dence, which makes her slightly un­com­fort­able. “All I was able to do was share my own ex­pe­ri­ence,” she says. “So I can’t nec­es­sar­ily speak for ev­ery­body, be­cause not all cases are the same”. Still, she ac­knowl­edges, “It should be a given that we see all types of women play­ing all types of roles. We don’t need to have cer­tain at­tributes of a Bar­bie to play suc­cess­ful or de­sir­able women.”

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