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The Age

the melbourne quiz - Natalie Blair

Author: Interview: Peter Barrett
Date: 30/05/2008
Words: 793
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: The Melbourne Magazine
Page: 90
Natalie Blair, 24, plays Carmella Cammeniti on the long-running soap opera Neighbours.

How similar is the real Melbourne to the one depicted in Neighbours?

Melbourne is so multicultural and I think that's something we definitely don't really tap into. And the focus on being at the beach and the gym - the show looks much more beachy than Melbourne.

How accurately is life depicted on Neighbours generally?

My character has gone through having her face burnt, being a nun, she was sexually assaulted, she almost lost her baby, she had a pill addiction, shopping addiction. I wouldn't recommend moving to Erinsborough.

What's the most extreme thing your character has had done to her?

Her cousin threw boiling water in her face because she sold her cousin's baby.

Does it depict relationships well?

No, I don't think so. There is such a thing as a beautiful, happy, healthy relationship and we really don't do them, ever.

Are you recognised in the street?

Mainly around 3.30pm when school's out.

What's the most extreme thing a fan has done to you?

I do have a person who writes to me now and again asking for signed underwear.

Does being on Neighbours make you a big star here in Melbourne?

Oh, God no!

Where did you grow up?

Brisbane. I come from a very close family. There's my mum, my dad, my brother and my sister - I'm the eldest.

How long have you lived in Melbourne?

I moved here when I was 19, when I got the job on Neighbours. I started in Dingley Village, where I stayed with my grandparents, then I moved to Nunawading where we shoot Neighbours, then to St Kilda, Elwood, the city.

Now I live in Prahran.

If money was no object, where would you live in Melbourne?

Prahran. I don't drive so there's plenty of public transport and everything I need is pretty much outside my door.

What's your favourite suburb?

I like St Kilda a lot. I had some great times when I lived just off Acland Street.

Where and when did you last get drunk?

Gosh, I don't get drunk! What are you talking about? The last time I went out drinking was at Orange, on Chapel Street, with some girlfriends - it was a little bit merry.

What would you abolish from Melbourne?

Ignorant cab drivers. I once hopped into a cab and asked to go to Nunawading and he took me to Narre Warren.

What's Melbourne's most overrated thing?

I think Melbourne's pretty cool. I think it totally met all my expectations.

What's the most underrated thing?

Public transport. I catch a tram at least once a day - I'd be lost without them.

What's the most expensive meal you have ever had in Melbourne?

I don't really tend to go out and have expensive meals - I like the good old places like Soul Mama, in St Kilda.

What's your favourite bar?

Robarta on Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.

Federation Square - yes or no?

No. I don't like the bars and restaurants there. I don't really like the location.

What shop couldn't you live without?

Spellbox, in Royal Arcade off the Bourke Street Mall. They've got great books, candles, incense, things for the bath.

Where's the most romantic place in Melbourne?

Lola's Tapas in St Kilda. The food's amazing, the people are really friendly and I love a bit of sangria.

Do you have any Spanish ancestry?

People often think that I do but there's just some Irish a few generations back.

Where did you last spend $500?

Spellbox. By the time you buy all the jewellery and everything ... you also might have a tarot or palm reading. It all adds up.

What club memberships do you have?

Fitness First - that's it.

What makes you angry?

When you want to hop off a tram and the people outside don't wait for you to get off. It's the universal rule.

Which Melbourne person would you most like to sit next to on the tram?

Marina Prior would be pretty cool. I'd love to ask her advice on musical theatre.

Which Melbourne person would you least like to sit next to on the tram?

Sam Newman. I think I'd end up feeling very rejected because I'm not his type.

Where do you go on a sunny day?

St Kilda's always lovely.

Where do you go on a rainy day?

I love to go to the Jam Factory and see a movie in gold class.

Have you ever been refused entry to somewhere?

No, not yet. There's still time.

What's your favourite building in Melbourne and why?

It always feels like home when I can see the Channel Ten building with the big Ten logo up in the sky.

Describe Melbourne in three words.

Multicultural, fashionable, home.

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