Amelia’s alter ego ‘ditzy’ but likeable
Two minutes with...
Shortland St star Amelia Reid-Meredith lives in Auckland but loves getting home to see her family in the Wakefield area as often as possible.
She feels instantly at home flying into Tasman Bay and seeing the mountains and the sea.
She also loves the Nelson weather. She took two minutes from her busy schedule to talk to The Leader about herself and her quirky character on the longrunning TV2 soap, Bella Copper. Tell us a bit about Bella. Bella is very . . . I’m hesitating to use the word ditzy, but she is. She is larger than life, she loves people and loves getting involved in people’s dramas. She’s a really good-hearted lady. Are you similar to her? I’m sure my friends will tell you there are similarities. Definitely there are moments of Bella that pop out of me, I’m sure. But I like to think I’m much more serious and on to it than she is.
She’s great fun to play, she is always making me laugh. Once I put on her clothes, which are very different to what I would wear, you are instantly in and they way she walks and talks is a bit differ- ent. It’s fun to have a real definite difference to play with. I don’t bring her home. Do you get compared to her? I think because Bella is so friendly it opens up people to come up and have conversations in the street. It is really lovely that people enjoy her so much. There are other characters like Brooke, who Beth Allen plays, she doesn’t get as many people come up, as she’s not the nicest character. So its fun.
We understand you do quite a bit of theatre outside Shortland Street?
I’ve been getting into directing with my husband Shadon [Meredith]. I think we are up to our fourth play this year, we are working on at the moment under the Young and Hungry programme run by the Basement Theatre. We’ve cast 13 young people and are working on a young playwright’s play [ Atlas/Mountains/Dead Butterflies by Joseph Harper]. It’s just fantastic working with these people – they are 17-24 and they’re so hungry for it.
How do you pack everything into your busy schedule?
Not a lot of sleep, with 18-hour days. You finish here, and drive to rehearsals and its a completely different experience.
You get energised all over again, especially with these people, they have got so much energy for it. You are sort of inspired by them. And then when the alarm clock goes at 6am again its just all over again. That’s the rhythm of it. Sundays are a very nice rest day.
So is directing something you want to do more of?
I love directing and being on the other side and seeing the whole creative team come together. It’s just a different side to acting.
What advice has anyone given you that has helped?
Along the way on each different thing I’ve gone and done there has always been someone that the way they have modelled themselves has been inspiring. Someone like Angela Bloomfield who plays Rachel McKenna has been a really inspirational person here. Because she’s a director as well as an actor, there has been lots of cups of tea and asking her advice on things. She’s been really helpful.
Who is an admire?
Cate Blanchett for me. She is an incredible actress and she has not got caught up in the whole media or celebrity thing. She is also running the Sydney Theatre company with her husband. That would be my ultimate because my husband Shadon and I work together.
How did you end up on Shortland Street?
I had moved up to Auckland to pursue an acting career and I got the audition and it all happened very quickly and now I’m into my third year. She’s been a journey finding who Bella is. She’s been through a lot as a character its been fun meeting her as she grows up.
What advice would you give to young thespians who want to make a career out of acting?
Just to do everything you can. I studied; for me that was a great thing to do that just sort of gave me the foundation that I could direct as well as act and produce and things like that. Just to not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Just believe it and go for it. Because a lot of it is luck, but to keep in the industry is hard work.
The roles don’t come up all the time, but the hard work will keep you sustained in the industry.
Quirky character: Amelia ReidMeredith who plays Bella Cooper in Shortland Street.