She has one of the most radiant smiles and bubbly personalities in Australian show business, so it's little wonder that Jessica Mauboy had trouble squeezing out a tear for her new movie The Sapphires.
"I keep my feelings to myself, so it was really difficult when I was required to cry for a very emotional scene," Mauboy said in Perth yesterday ahead of the film's national release on Thursday.
"We tried all the old tricks like blowing into my eyes but it wasn't happening. And Wayne (director Wayne Blair) was screaming, 'Stop smiling! You're always smiling!'
"It happened in the end but it needed someone to yell at me."
That gorgeous smile, along with her soaring vocals, is one reason The Sapphires wowed audiences at this year's Cannes Film Festival, where this true-life tale about an Aboriginal sister act who toured Vietnam during the war got a 10-minute standing ovation.
The other is the on-screen chemistry between Mauboy and co-stars Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbens and Darwin-born Miranda Tapsell, who plays the sex bomb of the Supremes-like Sapphires.
"It wasn't too difficult to play sisters because that's what we are like," NIDA graduate Tapsell said.
The sense of sisterhood is important for both Mauboy and Tapsell, who believe that The Sapphires is more representative of their lives than any other Aboriginal movie.
"My mother and my grandmother were this type of woman," Tapsell said.
"They did not accept the way they were treated by the society of their time. They were really strong women."