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Keeping up with Bec

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Keeping up with Bec

The Courier-Mail

8 August 2006

In a new book, 12 young achievers reveal that age is no barrier to success. One of these is Bec Hewitt, 23.

This is an edited extract from Secrets of Young Achievers Exposed by Dale Beaumont (Dream Express, $32.95)

How did you get your big break and make the jump from being a serious dancer to a Home and Away star?

I've been acting since the age of five, doing television commercials and guest roles on television shows. I think I'd worked on more than 50 commercials and television shows (such as Police Rescue and Water Rats) before landing the role of Hayley Smith on Home and Away in 1998.

Describe for us what a typical day was like on Home and Away?

Home and Away had such a hectic schedule and it would vary from doing a four-hour day of shooting to a 17-hour day. Sometimes you might have your first call at 6am, and other days you might not start until 10am.

Occasionally, you would get a day off! But you couldn't get too excited because it would usually be taken up with publicity -- doing interviews or photo shoots. It's all part of the job.

I began filming on Home and Away when I was in Year 9, I stayed at school to finish that year but I hardly ever got there.

How did you handle a demanding work schedule while at the same time trying to have some sort of a life?

To fit everything in I basically got very little sleep. Back in late 2004 while I was working full-time on Home and Away and flying down to Melbourne every few days to film Dancing with the Stars, I let myself get totally run-down. I learnt that it is important to start saying "no" occasionally.

What do you love most about being an actress?

Getting to slip out of my life and into someone else's. I aspire to give amazing performances and to touch as many people as I can in the process. It's such a great feeling to know that what we do as actors can have such a powerful effect on other people, and help to get important messages across.

In your opinion, what does it take to be a great actor/actress?

I think to be a great actor you need to have a passion for what you do. I remember my acting teacher saying that the best quality an actor can have is vulnerability, because acting is all about being affected and affecting the other person.

Have you ever been pressured to change your appearance in any way? For instance, through losing weight or cosmetic surgery?

No, I've never felt pressure to look a certain way. I am aware that a lot of young girls look up to me, so I try to be a good role model through taking care of my appearance and being aware of the way I behave. As for dieting or doing anything drastic, that's just not me, and I don't think it's a good message to be giving to young girls.

As a young actress, were you ever tempted by drugs? If so how did you deal with it?

I can honestly say that I have never touched any type of drug in my life. I haven't even been close. I remember when I first realised that there is so much of it out there and that so many people take drugs, especially in the entertainment industry. I was at an after-party for an industry event and overheard people (including some that I look up to) trying to work out who had the drugs or where to get some. I was devastated; I was only 15 years old and had never been privy to that sort of thing before. I remember going to bed that night and not believing what I had just seen.

How do you handle being continually stopped in public and asked for your autograph, don't you find it annoying?

The most bizarre experience I've had with a fan was when I was at a shopping centre and went into the public toilet. A girl slipped a piece of paper under the door and asked me to sign it -- I couldn't believe it! I thought surely she could've waited until I came out, but sometimes they just get so excited and don't think.

Can you tell us how your relationship with Lleyton Hewitt came about?

Lleyton and I first met in 2000 at the Starlight Foundation Charity Tennis Day. Over the next few years we stayed in touch via text messaging. Whenever I heard that he'd won a game I'd send a message to say "congratulations" and he'd occasionally send messages as well, but it was all very low key. Then, after the final of Dancing with the Stars he sent me a message and we agreed to catch up when he was next in Sydney. Things just kind of grew and developed from there.

The arrival of our beautiful daughter, Mia, would certainly have to rate as the biggest highlight of my life so far.

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