Ex Home and Away star Jodi Anasta makes her Neighbours debut: 'It's like being part of a big family'
Former Home and Away actress Jodi Anasta (nee Gordon) has made the jump to Neighbours and makes her debut as Susan’s feisty niece Elly Conway this week
Former Home and Away actress Jodi Anasta joins Neighbours this week as Susan’s feisty niece Elly Conway. What's on TV caught up with the 31-year-old model and mum to talk flirty females, her new role and One Direction….
Elly was last seen in 200 when she was played by Kendell Nunn. What brings her to Ramsay Street again? "Her Aunty Susan rings her and offers her the role of English teacher at Erinsborough High. Elly’s keen to start a new life and get out of Sydney so the timing’s perfect."
Why’s she so keen to have a fresh start? "She’s going through a bad break-up with her ex and she’s made a few enemies. The longer she’s in Ramsay Street the more we find out about what she’s been hiding and the incidents that have taken place before she left."
How would you describe her? "Feisty, unpredictable, fun and flirtatious. She’s a very strong character who definitely stirs the pot and ruffles feathers."
Steph takes an instant dislike to Elly when she thinks she’s trying to steal her boyfriend Mark? Do other women feel threatened by her? "I wouldn’t say threatened, but they’re definitely wary! Even though Elly doesn’t go out of her way to intentionally hurt people, she has a habit of finding herself in bad situations!"
You were on Home and Away for five years playing Martha MacKenzie, how does it compare to working on Neighbours? "Both shows are like being part of a big family. There’s a very relaxed environment here on set and it’s very chilled which is good because we have very long days."
Did you know any of the cast beforehand? "I’ve worked with Kip (Brad Willis) when he was in Home and Away and also Rebekah who plays Terese. And of course Andrew who plays Jack has come from Home and Away although we didn’t cross over. I have to say everyone here is lovely!"
You have a two-year-old daughter, Aleeia. How do you balance your long working days with being Mum? (Jodi split from her husband, professional rugby player Braith last November and they share custody of their daughter.) "It’s difficult! I split my time between Melbourne where I’m working and Sydney where I’ve got a home. When I’m in Melbourne it’s all work. I spend my evenings learning my lines to get ahead for the following week so that when I’m in Sydney all my time is purely devoted to Aleeia."
What’s Aleeia into at the moment? "Fairies, princesses, The Wiggles who are huge out here and Harry Styles! She’s totally in love with him and has been for about six months. She says things like 'Harry’s cute' and 'Harry’s my boyfriend.' She’s knows all One Direction’s songs, but it’s all about Harry! She’s his super fan!"
As a model you’ve travelled the world and lived in the UK. What did you like about the UK? "I had great fun living in Fulham, west London, with a bunch of girls. We’d all cook together, chill out together and I loved all the incredible shops. I was busy working a lot of the time so there wasn’t much time to explore, but I love the UK and I can’t wait to come back."
How do you stay fit and healthy? "I make sure I exercise regularly and I try and eat healthily, lots of brown rice and salads, although it’s difficult when you’re on set. When you’re working 13 to 14 hour days you tend to eat a lot more and exercise less. Almonds and rice cakes are good for snacking on and I’m obsessed with mandarins at the moment."
Are you a good cook? "I’m better at puddings and sweet things. I can make a salad any day, but it’s cakes I really like making and put a bit more time into – banoffi pie and cheese cakes are my favourites to make."
What’s your best beauty tip? "I’ve really got into a laser skin treatment called Bionik. It’s from Germany. It’s a facial laser kind of thing, it plumps up your skin and hydrates it."
Which British actors do you like? "Tom Hardy! Who doesn’t like Tom Hardy? Tom Hiddleston? I haven’t heard of him. He’s not on my radar yet, but now you’ve told me he’s dating Taylor Swift I’m sure he will be soon. Tay Tay is quite something!"
Watch Jodi in Neighbours, weekdays on Channel 5 at 1.45pm and 5.30pm.
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Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.