By HAZEL REID

 

This year’s Armageddon Expo in Auckland brought out some of our favourite talents, including Pretty Little Liars star, Tammin Sursok. I chatted to Tammin about the finale season of Pretty Little Liars, her often misperceived character and her new comedy series.


How did you discover your passion for acting?

I think in life you’re born with who you’re going to be – I believe that. It wasn’t like a choice, acting – it was in my blood, it was my insides, it was everything that I was and who I am now. I’ve wanted to be an actor from the minute I can remember talking so it was never a choice for me, it was always something I knew I’d do.


You started out on hit TV show Home and Away, what was the transition like from Australia to America?

It’s a good learning curve for Australians to do a soap because you learn how to be on time, you know how to be professional and learn your lines. You also know how to be emotional at the drop of a hat so it’s really good training for Australian actors. The difference between Australia and the States is it’s times 10 in Hollywood, everything is so much greater and the pressure is so much more intense, so it’s a greater scale!


What’s it like to portray a character like Jenna, who is sometimes seen as a villain?

She’s such an awesome character. I think she’s misperceived a little bit, seen as the villain and a bit of a victim but she’s never done anything to anyone, which is crazy as everyone thinks she’s the bad guy. As an actor, you always want to play complex and vivid characters. I really feel like she falls into that category so it’s a great thing for me to play her.


How was it coming back for the finale season of Pretty Little Liars? Was it exciting?

Yeah, absolutely. I had a baby and I was off for a couple of seasons and thought that was it, so it was nice to come back and tie up the loose ends of her story, who she is and where she’s going. I’m excited for everyone to see what happens to her.


What do you think it is that makes a show like Pretty Little Liars so successful?

It’s definitely the fanbase. I’ve done 800 episodes of television and you just never know which one’s going to be the big thing. The fans are very loyal, without them it wouldn’t have caught fire. I definitely think the fans are what make it successful.


Who do you get along best with on set?

All of them – everyone is professional and they’re there to do a good job. Everyone cares about the scenes that they’re in, everyone was awesome to be around!


What was your favourite episode/storyline to film?

I loved the pottery scene with Aria [played by Lucy Hale] just because my character got to do a lot. I really got to play that scene teetering on evil and making you feel sorry for the character as well. Sometimes my character doesn’t get a lot of big scenes, so for me that was one of my favourites.


You also have your website, Bottle & Heels, and have just launched your own clothing line Stella.Phoenix – tell us the inspiration behind those?

Bottle & Heels was born out of the fact that after I had Phoenix, I felt quite isolated. I didn’t really have a network or a community around me of mothers or women so I thought how I could create something online so people could feel like they’re not alone and that everyone’s going through the same thing as they are. For me, Bottle&Heels is about the career woman, the career mother. It’s a conversational blog where people can talk about things that are affecting them in their communities and their friendship groups; that’s where it was important to try and make a difference.


You also launched your YouTube channel this month, you’re a busy lady!

We’re in a world right now where we need people to speak up, it’s a very scary world to be in – even in the States with this election coming up. We need to laugh and communicate, that’s what my YouTube channel is [about]. We’re talking about things that are real, things that scare us and things that excite us. If the one thing you can do is make people laugh, I think you’re doing a good thing.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

For me, I’ve done a lot of work on myself and I’m still working on myself – it’s really important to work on yourself and you realise that a lot of times with other people, it’s not about you, it’s about them. We’re all dealing with our own stuff. The biggest thing that I’m learning is how to be present and I’ve always had anxiety so I think about the future or the past, but I need to think about the ‘now.’ I’m doing meditation and just being present with everything I’m doing in my life. It’s really important.


What’s coming up next for you?

We just signed up with Astronauts Wanted, who are owned by Sony and MTV, to do a comedy series… a scripted comedy. We’ve had this script for quite a while so it’s nice to set it up somewhere and we’re shooting the pilot next month, so that will be exciting. We haven’t really worked together like this for a long time so it will be interesting to see if we can still work together, but I’m sure we can. Also continuing with the YouTube channel, the line and keep going with the blog, never know what’s going to happen next year!

We had an electrifying time at Armageddon this year – click here to read the full review!

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