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Good, Better… Charlotte Best

By Dan Hutton on November 1, 2013 in People

Photo: Andrew Goldie

Photo: Andrew Goldie

Where are you originally from?
I am from the Central Coast. I grew up in Point Frederick, on the water. It’s a small place but it’s nice to grow up there. There’s not much to do once you’re past the age of 14 though.

Where are you living these days?
I moved to Coogee about five or six months ago. I was living in Mosman before that. I just moved in with my boyfriend (former MasterChef winner Andy Allen).

What do you love about living in the Eastern Suburbs?
I’ve always lived in suburbia, in Mosman and on the Central Coast, so coming here and being near the beach is really different. It’s a different vibe around the beach. I just love the surf culture and the fact that I’m allowed to be hippy without old people staring at me like in Mosman. I’m into yoga too and there are not many yoga businesses over the other side where I used to live. I really enjoy cafes around here too. Every five seconds there’s a new cafe popping up. Cafes are my favourite.

Are you a bit of a foodie?
Yes. I’m a massive foodie. I used to be a cooking foodie but now I’m just an eating foodie. I just get fed.

Is that because you’ve found yourself your own personal chef?
Yes, that might have something to do with it.

Do you have any favourite haunts in the Eastern Suburbs?
I love it down at Maroubra where I do yoga, at Yogala. It’s my roommate’s company. I do a lot of yoga. I love going down and sitting on the grass down at Coogee and just having some ciders, watching the sunset and eating a bit of Beach Burrito or whatever. Barzura is a good place for a nice view. I’ve got this amazing colourful crazy bike with a basket and I love just riding around doing the whole like cliché girl in dress on bike thing with flowers in the basket with the baguette. I love that whole thing.

Where do you get your coffee?
At Gusto. And I love Melon Head; it’s my favourite. I go down there every day to get juices. Andy loves the chicken salad from Hong Ha. He obsessed with them.

What’s your favourite suburb in the Eastern Suburbs?
Probably Bronte. I really love Bronte. It’s beautiful. The road is nowhere near the beach, there’s plenty grass to sit on and all the cafes down there are great, especially the Blue Ducks!

Is there anything you don’t like about living in the Eastern Suburbs?
I miss my friends on the Northern Beaches. It’s such a trek to go back there, especially given that I don’t have a car at the moment. The other downside is that my family doesn’t live here.

Are your family still on the Central Coast?
They’ve moved to near the Hunter Valley kind of area. I don’t get to see them much but it’s not very far and they love the Eastern Suburbs so they come and visit and I take my mum to the cafes and stuff when she’s here.

How did your acting career get started?
Before I moved to Sydney I actually commuted to a performing arts school in the city with my dad, who was working in Sydney at the time, and I ended up going to that high school.

What school was that?
Brent Street. It’s like you see in movies like ‘Step Up’. It’s actually pretty cool. They have the whole package, like singing, dancing and acting, and you do everything. And they’ve got their own management in house, so I just signed up with that not thinking anything of it and then literally my second audition was for Home and Away and I got the part.

How old were you then?
I was 12, turning 13.

So if it’s a singing, acting and dancing school, does make you a triple threat?
I can sing but I can’t really dance that well anymore. I’ve got to brush up to be able to do anything in front of people.

Do you have a career highlight thus far or is it too early at the tender age of 19?
I don’t know. When I think about the most exciting things or most exciting opportunities that I’ve had in my career so far sometimes they’re not even to do with my job. Like, I got to meet Will Ferrell and that’s probably one of the coolest things. In terms of career highlights though, probably just the Logie nomination for best new talent; that was pretty cool.

Who won it that year?
Little Bindi Irwin. She’s a cutie; she won it.

Which acting role do you prefer: Cheryl on Puberty Blues or Annie on Home and Away?
Cheryl. Straight up. It’s just so much more fun playing a bitch. I was pretty much playing myself when I was on Home and Away. I was a little innocent 12 year old girl and that’s what my character was. With Cheryl I’m not really the same in real life as my character. I’m not like a slut. I’ve never experienced anything remotely like her life. My relationship with my mum is the complete opposite to Cheryl’s with her mum. There are so many things that I’ve been able to learn about acting through this role whereas I was kind of limited with Annie.

Is it liberating to unleash your inner bitch?
Oh my gosh, yes. When I come home I’m really relaxed because I’ve had this release at work. I’ve like tackled people and punched people and done all this crazy stuff at work and then I’m just chilled when I get home.

So the inner bitch doesn’t spill out into real life at all?
Well, sometimes it happens. I find myself swearing a lot more when I’m filming because we swear a lot in the scripts. It just comes out. It’s really bad.

In Puberty Blues you’ve obviously got the blonde fringe thing going on; is there an actual term for that style?
Slut strands, that’s what the director called it. Though it’s just kind of called Cheryl hair now.

Has it caught on? Is there a bit of westie movement for the Cheryl slut strands?
Yes, I constantly get people tagging me on Instagram in their photos and they’ve dyed their fringes. I ran into this girl in Mosman once and she tapped me on the shoulder when I was in the post office and turned around and she had pitch black hair and white streaks and she’s like, “I did this for you. I copied your hair. I love your character.” I was like, “You’re an idiot; why did you do that?”

Is that the first priority when you finish filming, to remove the blonde slut strands?
Yep. By the time we get to the end of it, it’s playing on my mind a bit.

How long did you have them in for?
About four months, and I have to keep it for a couple of weeks after we stop filming too just in case we have to go back and film something again.

What can viewers expect from the second series of Puberty Blues? Is it better than the first series?
I think it is. It’s a little bit more controversial, which might worry some people. I think there’s nudity in the first episode. We wanted to really let viewers know what they’re in for. It’s also a lot funnier too, and it delves a lot deeper into the characters because obviously the first season was about establishing past relationships and all that kind of stuff and you only really got to get into it in the last couple of episodes.

Is the whole cast from the first series back?
Yep, everyone’s the same, but a little bit more grown up, which is really interesting. A lot of the teenage viewers will like that aspect of it. They’re kind of more cool and in with the gang now. It’s good.

Have you watched the original Puberty Blues and read the book?
I’ve watched bits and pieces of it, but I find it hard to watch the whole thing through because it just makes me shiver and cringe. It’s awkward. I’ve read bit and pieces of the book as well.

Have you met either of the authors?
I’ve met Kathy Lette. She’s great value. She rocked up on set one day to watch our dance rehearsals wearing this matching two piece blue satin Chinese suit and she just kept ranting about feminism and all this fantastic stuff; it was hilarious. She would not shut up. She was just awesome. She’s a fantastic woman.

Is she heavily involved in the production?
I think she’s involved quite a bit. I’ve heard she gets copies of the script when we get them and she gets to give her feedback.

Have you eaten a Chiko Roll since appearing on Puberty Blues?
Oh, they’re so gross, yes. And they’ve always been sitting in the art department truck for two days, all crusty with like dried tomato sauce and stuff.

Was growing up on the Central Coast anything like what it’s like in Puberty Blues?
Not really. I guess there are some elements of it that are the same in every beach culture, but I don’t think there was that much sexism and violence and drugs and stuff when I was growing up.

How did you actually get the gig on Puberty Blues?
I had an audition and I didn’t know what role I was going for. We just read generic scripts. I thought I was going for the role of Debbie then I got a call saying I was going to be a badass chick and I was like, “Awesome!” I was at uni at the time and had just made the decision to focus on uni and get a degree before I continued my acting career, but then I got the call and I quickly changed my mind.

What were you studying?
I was studying global studies at UTS, which is kind of like a communications, international relations course. It’s very broad.

Are you going to go back and finish it?
Yeah, I’ll definitely go back sooner or later, I’ve just got to find the time.

Where do you hope your acting career will take you? Do you have aspirations of going to Hollywood?
I’ve never really focused on Hollywood or anything in particular. I just want to work. I’ve recently had some people express interest in me from overseas and my manager here is kind of funnelling that through to me and trying to decide what is best for me is at this age. I’m not ready to move to LA and live by myself over there and do the whole pilot season thing. I am going over there to get an American agent in October though. I’ll choose one then I’ll pretty much come straight back here and do auditions and stuff from here in my little comfort zone. These days it’s so good being able to do Skype meetings and stay in your home.

Can you tell us a bit about the man in your life? What does he do with himself?
His name’s Andy, he is a cook, as he likes to be called, not a chef. He works at the Three Blue Ducks in Bronte. He’s originally a sparky from Newcastle, but he won MasterChef in 2012 and now he’s working as a cook. And he’s great. He’s pretty cool.

Does he cook for you often?
Yes, all the time. He’s got some weird magical talent of thinking up recipes on the spot and just pulling things out of his arse. I don’t know how he does it. He will just like walk into a grocery store and ten minutes later he’s got all these random ingredients that turn out to be something amazing.

Do you have any role models in the acting game?
Yes. Recently, just working on Puberty Blues with some of the older cast, I’ve been extremely fortunate to work closely with Claudia Karvan, Susie Porter and Jeremy Lindsay Taylor. Claudia especially took me under her wing and taught me so much and we just had the best time on set. In terms of Australian acting careers, you can’t really get much better than Claudia. I’ve become very fond of her; she’s amazing.

Do you have any other acting gigs in the pipeline?
I’ve got a couple of short films coming up that I’m really keen to sink my teeth into. One is filming in Queensland, so that will be fun to move away. The best part of the job is going to all these different places. It’s good when you don’t have to pay for it. I’ve done a film in the last year too and I got to move to Melbourne for a couple of months for that. It’s called ‘Just Breathe’. It was with Sean Keenan, who plays Gary in Puberty Blues, and I also did a short film with him. It’s a bit of a weird coincidence that we keep getting cast as boyfriend and girlfriend.

Do you have any ambition to write or direct at all?
I do have a bit of ambition to maybe direct or write. I’m a little bit hesitant at the moment. I don’t know why. I just haven’t had that kind of environment where I’ve had time to sit down and get into it, but hopefully soon I will tackle something like that.

We heard that you recently had a pretty big audition; can you tell us a bit about that?
Yeah, I was fortunate enough to audition for a small part in the Angelina Jolie film that she’s filming in Australia. So I’m waiting to hear back about. That would be amazing.

Do you support any charities?
I have done some work with Cure Our Kids, which is a charity that looks after the oncology unit at Westmead Children’s Hospital, and World Vision. I’ve done a couple of youth ambassador things with them. I almost went to Nepal with World Vision to do a documentary thing, which would have been amazing, but I had work engagements. When I’m working full-time I can’t really do much for a charity because our schedules are always changing, but in between roles it’s always good to be able to help out.

Do you have any advice for other youngsters looking to make a career out of acting?
I guess if you’re already into it and you’re already into acting classes, just don’t stop enjoying it, and don’t get too caught up in auditioning and getting nervous and aiming for something like fame. Just keep enjoying the actual art because I think when I went straight into working I hadn’t found the passion for the job yet. I was 12 years old and I didn’t really understand what was going on. I think if I had any advice for like young girls wanting to become an actress, I’d say just don’t rush anything, never stop learning and just keep enjoying the actual art.

If you could work with any actor/actress, who would be the ultimate person to work with?
Oh, that’s so hard. My favourite actresses are probably Rachel McAdams or Anne Hathaway or something like that, but I can’t see myself being in a movie with them for some reason.

If season two of Puberty Blues goes well, is there likely to be a third season?
Yes, I’d say it’s likely. I think most of us have signed on for a third option so hopefully it will go ahead. It will be such a shame if it doesn’t. It’s such a rare thing to come along. It’s a really good Australian culture piece.

Why do you think people should tune into Australian productions?
We have to support our industry. We have such potential to be up there with America and up there with all these other countries who are doing amazing things in the film industry and we have to support Australian television and film for it to happen. If we do support it, it won’t take that long for us to be up there.

What’s your favourite Australian film?
My favourite film recently was ‘Wish You Were Here’. I loved that film. It was so good to see an Australian film really showcasing our Aussie talent.

Do you still watch Home and Away now that you’re no longer on the show?
No, I don’t. I find it really hard to watch because I know what’s going on and I know all the spots where they film and I know everything that’s going on behind the cameras. I can’t concentrate on it. I can’t really get myself into it.

Is there any chance you will appear in Home and Away again or have you been killed off?
I haven’t been killed off so there’s always that option, I guess. I’m open to it. Any work is good work and they’re a great crew and cast to work with. I mean, what better job is there than going to the beach to work every day. It’s a fantastic job. I’d be happy to go back.

Besides the singing and acting, do you have any other hidden talents?
I suck at surfing. Andy and my roommate, Glenn, they took me to Bungan on the Northern Beaches the other day to go surfing and I pretty much just sat out the back the whole time. I barely made it out. That’s my surfing career right there.

What about any other sporting skills?
I’ve always been really sporty. I’ve always played soccer and basketball and I used to play netball. I’ve also done really weird sports like ice-skating, but when I went in the direction of dancing and singing I had to forfeit all sports because they take up Saturday and so did dancing. I used to be into my sports though and I used to be a massive tomboy because I’ve got three brothers.

In an ideal world what does the future hold for Charlotte Best?
Who knows? Hopefully a lot more fantastic Australian roles and maybe some writing or directing in the distant future.

What about singing?
I’m always going to be open to using my singing maybe for an acting role but I don’t think I can see myself being a pop star any time soon. I’m definitely not going to be the next Deltra Goodrem.

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