Re­venge is sweet

for Home And Away star

The TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

Penny McNamee is a house­hold name in Aus­tralia and the ac­tress says she owes her suc­cess – in part, at least – to three girls who bul­lied her at high school. “I re­ally strug­gled to fit in. I just felt that I was never quite cool enough,” says the 35 year old who plays Home And Away’s Dr Tori Mor­gan.

“I was never in­cluded in the cool par­ties or ac­tiv­i­ties that were go­ing on out­side of school and my in­ter­ests (mu­si­cal the­atre) were quite nerdy. “Then, come year nine, a few girls re­ally made my life very dif­fi­cult. “I was a re­ally happy teenager nat­u­rally but, for six months, I used to cry and ask my par­ents to let me stay home be­cause of these three nasty girls. In the end they pulled me out of school and sent me to a dif­fer­ent school.” McNamee thrived at her new en­vi­ron­ment and went on to be­come an award-win­ning stage ac­tress and star in movies and tele­vi­sion in both Aus­tralia and in the com­pet­i­tive Amer­i­can mar­ket. She was based in New York and ap­peared in shows such as El­e­men­tary, The Pa­cific and Blue Bloods. Then she and her fi­nancier hus­band Matt de­cided to re­turn to Syd­ney to raise their son Jack, now two. Scor­ing a job on Home And Away upon her re­turn was the ic­ing on the cake. Iron­i­cally, McNamee be­lieves some of her achieve­ments are a di­rect re­sult of the mis­ery she en­dured at the hands of her bul­lies. “They know who they are be­cause two of

them have, in fact, rung me in the past and apol­o­gised for how badly they treated me,” she says.

“How­ever, I’m ac­tu­ally quite grate­ful to them be­cause I wanted to prove to them they weren’t go­ing to beat me. In my early years out of high school, I had a bit of a men­tal­ity of, ‘I’ll show them. I’ll show them how suc­cess­ful I can be­come and they’ll be sorry’.”

McNamee hopes by talk­ing about her own ex­pe­ri­ences she can help other teens who are go­ing through sim­i­lar trau­mas.

“I do think it’s im­por­tant to tell girls that when you leave school it’s not about who was in­vited to the cool par­ties. It’s about the girls who go and fol­low their dreams, work hard and are mo­ti­vated and driven to do the right thing in life,” she says.

“They’re the girls who re­ally thrive. Of­ten (the cool girls) fin­ish school and don’t have any drive other than look­ing pretty and go­ing to the par­ties. They are of­ten the girls who be­come the least happy in real life.”

Home And Away, she adds, goes some way to­wards high­light­ing the is­sues af­fect­ing teenagers.

“We’ve got some re­ally heavy sto­ry­lines com­ing up this year that re­volve around teenagers and the things that they’re strug­gling with at the mo­ment. I think that’s good,” she says.

“I think it pro­motes con­ver­sa­tion be­tween par­ents and teenagers and also helps teenagers to re­alise they’re not alone. Bul­ly­ing, eat­ing dis­or­ders, self-harm, the quite dark and aw­ful things teens can go through are not things that hap­pen in just one per­son’s school. They are world­wide and I think it’s good for them to know they are not alone.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.