Michelle Langstone is undergoing a personal renaissance. The actor, known for her roles in 800 Words and McLeod’s Daughters, has recently returned to Auckland after a three-year stint in Sydney. With Christmas on the horizon, she’s given herself “a leave of absence from responsibility”, planning to spend the next few months exploring long-held interests: writing and animals. Instead of inhabiting characters, she’s going to give some other jobs a go. The morning after our interview, for example, she is popping along to a local vet clinic. “I don’t know anyone there. It’ll just be me in tracksuit pants, probably cleaning a lot of animal butts. Which I’m used to.”
Langstone is in Auckland to be closer to family; her father has end-stage cancer. It was this, the 39-year-old says, which changed the way she sees the world, and her own life.
“I have a sense that life is nowhere near as long as I perceived it to be. And if I want to experience or explore these other things I’m interested in, there’s no time like the present.”
Acting will remain part of the fabric of her universe, as she puts it. “But this year has been a process of remembering that outside of this one role – which I’ve had for a very long time – there are other things I’m good at, and love.”
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The final series of 800 Words is screening on TVNZ1, Wednesdays at 8.50pm.