News Satire People Food Other

Rhiannon Fish – Making The Most Of Every Opportunity

By Dan Hutton on February 28, 2012 in People

Photo: Andrew Goldie

During the month The Beast caught up with Home and Away actress and Edgecliff resident Rhiannon Fish

Where are you originally from?

I was born in Canada, in Calgary, but I grew up in Melbourne and then moved to Sydney for work.

How old were you when you moved to Australia, because you’ve still got a bit of an accent?

I was four when we moved over but both my parents have such a strong accent and I think that’s one of the reasons why I kept it. I spoke to a vocal coach about it and she said that as a child I must have made the psychological decision that I wanted to be different and keep the accent because my sister moved at the same time and she speaks with a full Australian accent.

And your character on Neighbours was Canadian, wasn’t she?

Yeah, well she wasn’t supposed to be but I couldn’t do an Australian accent to save my life, so they just made her Canadian.

Are you Canadian on Home & Away’?

No, I’m Australian.

With an Aussie accent?

Yeah, you will have to check it out. I might surprise you – I’ve actually gotten better.

What brought your family out here to Australia?

Dad’s work; he is an engineer and so they sent him here for that. He’s actually lived in Nigeria since and now he’s in Russia. He does a lot of travelling.

Have you ever been over to visit him in Nigeria or Russia?

No. I don’t know if Nigeria was a family friendly sort of environment so we didn’t go there. But I do want to go check out Russia. I think that that would be really cool.

Where are you living these days?

I’m living in Edgecliff with my boyfriend (fellow actor Lincoln Lewis).

That’s a bit of an interesting choice for a young couple – why Edgecliff?

You’re right, I know it is. Most of the people that live in our apartment block are quite elderly but they’re very sweet. We really did want to live near the beach but it’s so hard to get property there now. We applied at a whole bunch of different places and we were always unsuccessful. We found it was much easier to just step a little bit further out.

How long have you been living in the Eastern Suburbs?

Since I moved to Sydney, so about two years now.

What do you love about living in the Eastern Suburbs?

I like how close I am to everything, except for Palm Beach where we often shoot obviously, but it’s so close to the city, just around the corner from any beach you want to go to and the shopping centre is close too – I can’t think of a better place really.

Is there anything you don’t like about living in the East?

As much as I love Bondi I find in summer time it just gets too busy. I went to the beach recently with Lincoln and we could not find a place to lie down and put our towels – it’s just nuts!

Do you have any favourite local haunts where you like to hang out?

I love Kelly’s in Bondi Junction and I cannot go past the pizza at Bondi Pizza; it’s my favourite – the thin crust, lots of vegies on there, I love it.

What percentage of scenes do you shoot in Palm Beach as opposed to the studios at Redfern?

I’ll be honest, most of it is in the studio and maybe a quarter of it is out at Palm Beach and other locations, like the caravan park and the hospital and stuff like that.

Do you drive yourself up there or are you chauffeur-driven?

I wouldn’t say chauffeur but we do work with a hire car service and it’s really good.

That’s a chauffeur…
It’s not a chauffeur. A lot of the call times are at like 5:30am at Palm Beach, which means leaving just after 4am and it’s not a nice time to be on the road because you can feel yourself falling asleep. It’s just best to get someone to drive you and take a little nap.

You’re 20 years old now, about to turn 21. When you started on Neighbours you were only 11; does that make you a veteran?

I’d never say that. When you know people like Ray Meagher (Home & Away’s Alf Stewart) I will never be a veteran.

Were you a bit star struck when you first met Alf Stewart?

Absolutely, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t. He’s just such a gentleman though, one of the nicest men I’ve ever met in my life. He makes you feel so comfortable and at home. He’s definitely a real role model.

He makes you feel at home because that pretty much is his home…

It is his home, that’s right.

How did you first get your start in Neighbours? What got you into acting?

I’ve always liked acting and I’ve always been interested in it. The nice thing is that my parents have always been very supportive. When I was 10 I told them that I wanted to get an agent and maybe start auditioning and stuff like that and they said, “Yeah, sure, why not, we’ll give it a try.” I think she could tell that I was serious about it and I was lucky that one of the first auditions I went for was Neighbours and I’ve been quite lucky since then.

How long were you on Neighbours for?

It was quite a few years actually – four, maybe five years, but just as a guest.

You were a bit of a bitch, weren’t you?

I was such a cow but it was so much fun, I absolutely loved it. It’s always fun to play the villain.

Which show is more fun: Neighbours or Home & Away?

Home & Away because it is shot on the beach in such a beautiful environment, and the drama’s a little bit more exciting too I think.

What did you get up to in between the Neighbours and Home & Away days? What were you doing then career wise?

There was not a lot going on career wise. I didn’t really work much. Home & Away was the next big thing that I got after Neighbours. I feel really grateful that I got the opportunity to finish high school and work at the same time.

Do you have a fall back plan if the acting jobs dry up?

I love singing and all that kind of stuff too, but if nothing in the entertainment industry works out I would love to be a teacher or something along those lines because I love kids.

Were you a Home & Away watcher before you started acting in it?

Not really. I watched it if it was on, but I wasn’t one of those devoted people who need to sit down at 7pm every night and watch it. But I loved tuning every now and then because it was a show that I wanted to be on.

Was it weird going from being a viewer to being on the show?

I have to say I did have a moment when I looked at myself wearing the Summer Bay school uniform and I was like, “This is so surreal, I can’t even believe it.” It’s very cool.

Did you have a crush on Lincoln before you worked on the show?

No, I didn’t have a crush on Lincoln. I thought he was cute but I wasn’t a fan, so to speak.

Who did you have a crush on from the Home & Away cast?

I can’t say, I can’t say, that will get me in a whole lot of trouble!

Come on, say it… Don Fisher…

No, no, no.

Your boyfriend is an established actor and he’s doing really well, but more famously, he’s the son of the King…

That’s right – Wally Lewis.

Had you ever heard of Wally Lewis before meeting Lincoln?

No, because I grew up in Melbourne I’m an AFL girl. I knew nothing about NRL and then I started hanging out with Lincoln and it was all I heard about. So he really introduced me to the sport.

Have you gone back and watched any old tapes of Wally Lewis doing his thing?

I have, it’s so cool, Lincoln showed me. I’m going to sound dumb but I like the huge fights that they used to have and even the games that they used to play. They’re so old school and so awesome, and I really enjoy watching them.

When you first met Lincoln’s dad did you realise that he was a pretty big deal?

My friend David, who I work with on the show, kind of filled me in before we first went for dinner with Wally. But I was more nervous because I was meeting my boyfriend’s dad, not so much the King of NRL.

Are you a bit worried about Lincoln is going to go the way of his old man in the hair department?

Not at all. I think Lincoln makes enough jokes about that sort of thing, I don’t need to make any more.

Has he ever grown a moustache like his dad?

No but Lincoln looks really sexy with a bit of a beard. He grew one over the holidays and I came back and I was like, “This is working, I like it!”

Is Lincoln still a big league fan?

A huge league fan.

Who does he support?

Oh God, I should know this. I don’t know. He has a Rabbitohs jersey. I don’t know if that means that’s who he goes for. Oh my god, that’s so bad.

Do you follow an AFL team?

I do, I follow the Melbourne Demons. They will get better, I just have to stay strong and be faithful. They’ll get good.

You haven’t switched allegiances to the Swans?

You can’t switch teams, no.

You turn 21 in March; are you doing anything big for your birthday?

I’m trying to get my 21st organised. It’s hard because my friends are split between Melbourne and Sydney and I don’t want to have to ask them all to fly here or there. So it’s something that I really need to figure out. I have absolutely no idea at this stage.

Plenty of Aussie soap stars have taken the musical route or gone to Hollywood, do you harbour any aspirations to do the same?

Absolutely. I think what’s so important in being in this industry is you can’t just be stuck in one thing. There are so many opportunities out there that if you’re given one I think it’s best to just give it a go.

What about theatre?

I would love to do that. There’s just something about having that one chance in front of a live audience – there’s no take two.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role in ‘Home & Away’?

I play the character April Scott. She started off as a goody two shoes but now she has fallen for one of the River Boys – the one with all the muscles and tattoos. She’s completely head over heels in love with him but he simply used her. So it becomes a bit of a game where she does everything in her power to win him back. It’s a pretty raunchy storyline for her. It’s fun stuff.

And the River Boys are essentially based on our very own Bra Boys, aren’t they?

That’s what they say.

Does Lincoln get jealous when you’re chasing after the River Boys?

He doesn’t like it but I don’t think he gets jealous.

I’m glad you said he doesn’t like it. I reckon it would be tough…

It is, but I have to do the same thing. Like next week he will be making out with some girl on Neighbours or Tricky Business. You just kind of have to accept it, but it’s not fun.

Do you critique each other’s work?

The really nice thing is we don’t have to actually make the one another sit down and watch the other person’s stuff. I love watching his stuff and I feel like he likes to watch mine too.

Except when you’re kissing the River Boys…

Yeah, that’s right. But I loved watching Lincoln in Underbelly and just last night he showed me the first two episodes of his new show, Tricky Business. So it’s really nice to see what the other person is working on.

Does everyone get on well on the set of Home & Away? Does it get bitchy at all?

Not in the slightest. Actually, out of all the different communities I’ve been a part of in my life it’s the one that seems to really just get along as a family and there’s no bitchiness, there’s no fighting, no one’s bitter or jealous. It’s just the most wonderful working environment. I love it.

What do you get up to when you’re not working?

Lincoln and I are pretty low key. We just like to chill out around the area. I go to the gym a lot, but nothing too exciting or different really.

How many hours a week do you reckon you do on the show when you’re shooting?

It really depends. Sometimes you work pretty much nine to five, five days a week, whereas other times you can have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday off. It really just depends on your story line and what sets you’re filming in.

It is one of the hardest jobs on telly, isn’t it, working in one of the soaps?

Yeah, because they turn out so many hours of television each week.

So it’s not as glamorous as everyone thinks?

It’s kind of glamorous, I have to say.

Do you have your own chair with your name on it?

No, no, not like that.

Not that glamorous…


Do you support any charities?

I’m hoping to start working with the Make a Wish Foundation. I haven’t made anything official yet but that’s the one that I want to contact and start working.

Are your parents Fleetwood Mac fans?

They are huge Fleetwood Mac fans.

So that’s how you got your name?

That’s how I got my name and the good thing is I like the song too.

Does everyone make that association straight away?

You’d be surprised. A lot of the younger people would never have heard of it but a lot of people still know the song and love it, which is good.

Who are your role models in the acting world?

I’m a huge fan of Rachel McAdams. I think she’s just brilliant. And she can pretty much do everything. I think as an actor one of the things that’s so great is to be able to make people laugh one second and cry hysterically the next. I think she’s capable of that and I would love to one day be able to do the same.

And what about more locally?

This might sound really corny, but someone that I do aspire to almost follow in the footsteps of is Lincoln. Does that sound corny?

Maybe a little…

No, because he’s done so well since leaving the show. Yes, he’s gone over to LA to try it but he’s been really devoted to Australia and to our industry here because there is so much work. There are a lot of opportunities here and I think so many Australians just go straight over to LA and never really give it a chance here and he has and I think that’s a really admirable thing that I would love to do as well.

Do you have any advice for youngsters looking to make it in the entertainment industry?

You can never give up. I was told no so many times, went to so many auditions and often got close to getting the part but it often came down to simple things like having the wrong hair colour or simply the other girl was better and you just can’t let that break you down. You have to be prepared to have people tell you no, and it sucks at the time but you take a deep breath, move on and try again. I think that that’s important.

How long do you reckon you will be on Home & Away for before you leave and take on the next challenge in your career?

I’m on a three year contract so I should be finishing up about mid-year next year. But the thing is, like I said, it’s the best place in the world to work so I would love to stay longer if they would have me.

In a perfect world what does the future hold for Rhiannon Fish?

The things that make me happiest are my family and my job. So in a perfect world I would be able to continue working and acting, and that doesn’t mean necessarily being in a huge blockbuster Hollywood film. I would honestly be happy doing a local play just around the corner as long as I was working and surrounded by my family and my friends. I think that that would be the perfect world for me.