Amelia’s al­ter ego ‘ditzy’ but like­able

Two min­utes with...

The Leader (Tasman) - - FEATURE -

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?

ac­tress you

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.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

Quirky char­ac­ter: Amelia Rei­dMered­ith who plays Bella Cooper in Short­land Street.

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