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Newcastle Herald

WALKING ON AIR

Author: by Michael Gadd
Date: 07/01/2005
Words: 634
Source: NCH
          Publication: Newcastle Herald
Section: TV Magazine
Page: 5
DON'T feel sorry for Summer Bay folk as they deal with even more heartache and disaster in 2005, they've got it pretty good.

Isabel Lucas, the 19-year-old beauty who entered the show an acting novice and took out the Logie for best new female talent, couldn't be more satisfied with her workplace.

She says the cast is like a family and the setting is breathtaking, even if the material can get a little intense.

When Home and Away returns on Monday (as does Ten's Neighbours) disaster strikes her character Tasha's boyfriend Robbie (Jason Smith) when he steps on a syringe while camping.

The usually jovial Robbie goes a little crazy, Lucas said, trying to push her character away and indulging in reckless behaviour. Could a break-up be on the cards?

Another of the show's gorgeous young things, Bec Cartwright, also features in the opening of series 2005 when her character Hayley is trapped in her house as it burns down around her while Leah (Ada Nicodemou) has to fight for her life after her car accident.

"It gets a little crazy at times, but when we have to get up at sunrise to start a shoot it hits me the most," Lucas said. "I just walk out to see the start of the day at Palm Beach and think 'Wow, this is my office'.

"Believe me, most of the time I don't feel like I'm working 60-hour weeks."

After relocating to Sydney from Melbourne where her family now live, Lucas said the show made it easy for her to embrace her independence.

"It was a big learning curve but I'm settled now. Initially I missed home a lot but I like the idea of fending for myself," the young woman who spent her childhood running barefoot around Kakadu said.

"The whole Home and Away cast and crew really is like a family, people sometimes think we're just saying that but it's true," she said. "There's a lot of young people in the cast and we all get along really well, so that makes it easy to deal with."

Before joining the show in 2003 the diminutive daughter of a pilot and a teacher had grown up in Switzerland, the Northern Territory and Cairns after being born in Melbourne.

She speaks French and German, both languages spoken in Switzerland, and has two sponsor children in Kenya and Uganda; she is no ordinary teenager.

Despite such a solid start in the entertainment industry she is eyeing off university courses in languages, fine arts and writing.

Lucas was "discovered" by holidaying talent agent Sharron Meissner at the Port Douglas markets where she was virtually signed up on the spot.

In just her second audition of any kind, with no acting experience past a few short courses, she was cast in one of Australia's most enduring programs in any genre.

Meissner had put her up for the role of Kit Hunter, now played by Amy Mizzi.

What followed Lucas described as "fate intertwined with my own self-belief".

Although she didn't get that role producer Julian McGauran was so taken by the teenager a character was created for her, a "Jane Doe" mystery girl who arrived in Summer Bay stranded on the beach.

After several weeks mute, viewers grew to know her character as Natasha "Tasha" Andrews, a beautiful but confused soul trying to make sense of her surroundings.

"It was a pretty meaty role for someone who hadn't really done anything before, but it's part of the reason why I love playing her," Lucas said.

While Lucas would love to act in films and on stage, she has equal ambitions to go backpacking and see the world.

"It's such a fun challenge and a great grounding, I couldn't have asked for more," she said.

HOME AND AWAY: MONDAY-FRIDAY, 7PM, PRIME

 
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