A sad good­bye

A dev­as­tated Paula leaves Hill­side af­ter be­ing forced to re­turn baby Mika to her bi­o­log­i­cal mom.

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“The view­ers are def­i­nitely not go­ing to be happy,” pre­dicts Di­aan Lawren­son about how her char­ac­ter Paula will be leav­ing 7de Laan. “If I had my way, I would have given her a happy end­ing.” Af­ter 13 years as the flam­boy­ant and friv­o­lous vlog­ger, writer and fashion en­thu­si­ast, we’re say­ing good­bye to Paula on Wed­nes­day 20 July. And keep those tis­sues handy be­cause af­ter a roller­coaster of emo­tions – as in­tense as we’d ex­pect from Paula – she flees The Laan by her­self. With­out a man and with­out baby Mika (Ne­vaeh Stander).

A FI­NAL FAREWELL

Paula had Mika for just a week and two days when at­tor­ney Xan­der (Theo Jan­tjies) told her on Wed­nes­day 13 July that Mika’s birth mother had with­drawn the adop­tion of­fer and that Paula has to give Mika back. “It was too good to be true,” Di­aan says of Paula’s lat­est heart­break. “In a short pe­riod, she be­came re­ally at­tached to the baby.” Paula’s best friend and house­mate Ag­gie (Mimi Mahlasela) tries her best Wave good­bye to bub­bly blonde Paula – she’s leav­ing The Laan. to con­sole her BFF, but Paula’s made her de­ci­sion. “She asks Ag­gie to take Mika to Xan­der on Wed­nes­day 20 July and Xan­der will re­unite her with her mom.” That’s also the last that we see of Hill­side’s bub­bli­est blonde, be­cause then Ag­gie breaks the news to Xan­der and Vanessa (In­grid Paulus) that Paula has packed up her be­long­ings and left town to be with her fa­ther Marthi­nus (Deon Lotz) in Caracas, Venezuela.

LIFE AF­TER THE LAAN

Di­aan’s fi­nal day on the 7de Laan set was ac­tu­ally in May and since then, she and her fam­ily – ac­tor hus­band Jody Abrahams (Irvin in The Heist, 2016) and chil­dren Olivia-Rose (5) and Thomas (3) – have moved to Cape Town. Di­aan started lec­tur­ing at AFDA (The South African School Of Mo­tion Pic­ture Medium And Live Per­for­mance) and she says that it’s been quite an ad­just­ment. “It’s a whole new rou­tine that I had to get used to. It’s only now that I re­alise how big of an im­pact Hill­side had on my life. And it’s a big­ger loss than I’d thought.” But she doesn’t re­gret her de­ci­sion: “This is a new chap­ter in my life and for now, I’ve de­cided to take some time out from act­ing to fo­cus on my aca­demic ca­reer.”

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