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It s a good life for young actors down at Summer Bay
It's a good life for young actors down at Summer Bay

Spending their days in Summer Bay is giving two Home and Away stars the time of their lives - and they wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Tessa James and Lisa Gormley agree that acting is the greatest passion of their lives and they wouldn't have made it this far if it wasn't for a strong support system of family and friends.

Plus, they've been welcomed into the fold by the tight-knit cast and crew of the weeknight family drama.

Lisa Gormley made her Home and Away debut in early July as language teacher Bianca Scott. She turned up in the Bay to be near her sister April (played by Rhiannon Fish) and to nurse a broken heart.

The 26-year-old NIDA graduate and former flight attendant comes from Tasmania and began filming in Sydney in March.

Gormley says stepping into the well-oiled machine of a long-running show was intimidating at first but she was made welcome and slotted right into the vigorous work schedule.

"The biggest lesson I have learnt is being brave enough to be yourself," Gormley says. "The cameras don't lie and you must have that confidence to be open and honest. It's a really hard thing to do because it makes you very vulnerable."

The actress loves Bianca as a character because she has flaws and she's been enjoying discovering both her good and bad points as her story unfolds.

"When you first get a character, it's one-dimensional. She's feisty, blonde and Italian. The fun part is figuring out how she got to Summer Bay and why," says Gormley.

Although just 19, James is a Home and Away veteran, having been on the much-loved soap for 2 1/2 years. James plays Nicole Franklin, one of the oldest kids in Summer Bay. A Melbourne girl, she has been living in Sydney since she signed to do the show.

"I've learnt so much I can't begin to tell you," says James. "I've grown a lot and I'm really enjoying my work." The actress says after playing the same character for a while, it's natural there are bits of herself that have found their way into the character, even though she tries to keep the two very separate.

"Nicole is vicious and bitchy and sexy and out there. She very much has her own style," says James. "I'm not like her in those ways but I didn't want her to become the nice normal girl in town.

"I love her knowledge, positivity and the fact that she has a go. She's very comfortable with herself and her sexuality. I wanted to have fun with the character, to test it."

There's plenty of testing times ahead as Nicole has fallen for the wrong guy in Penn and he has completely manipulated her.

"Nicole thought everything was fun but he started saying things and turning everyone against each other," she says.

Home and Away airs Monday to Friday at 7pm on Seven and GWN.

The West Australian

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