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Lisa's happy landing...

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After two failed attempts to get accepted into NIDA, ex-flight attendant Lisa Gormley finally struck gold.

Lisa Gormley was in the air between London and Singapore when she remembered there was something she had to do.

It wasn't that she hated her job as a Qantas long-haul flight attendant. It was more that she'd somehow got side-tracked.

Two failed attempts to be accepted into to NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) at 17 and 18 had seen her take a "gap year" in England. That stretched to three or four years.

Somewhere along the way, she'd forgotten how much she loved acting. So at 22, Gormley threw in the job, re-applied to NIDA, and headed home to Australia.

On graduating, she was offered a role on Seven's long-running soap Home and Away. Two years on, as the fiery, opinionated Bianca Scott on the show, Gormley has had one happy landing.

In its 24th year on air, Home and Away continues to dominate its 7pm timeslot. Gormley is relishing juicy storylines for her character, which this year have seen Bianca married in a classically angst-ridden soapie wedding to long-time flame Liam (Axle Whitehead) after an interlude with bad-boy Heath (Dan Ewing).

Now it turns out the new bride is pregnant, either Liam or Heath could be the father, and matters are complicated further with Bianca's sister, April (Rhiannon Fish), getting it on with Heath. Gormley, 27, laughs that her real life pales by comparison.

"It's positively boring," she says. "My social life has none of the intrigue of Bianca's. "My social life is learning new skills."

Gormley was a late starter in acting and to Home and Away, which regularly recruits teens to its Summer Bay cast. She was born in England, and her family moved to the Barossa Valley when she was three, then to a farm in Tasmania when she was 12. She started doing community theatre as a youngster and formed a love of the stage.

"For me it was something that just always made me feel comfortable, at home - happy, if you like," she says.

"I needed the time in England. I fell in love with the place and the people and forgot about acting for a while. Then I had this realisation one day when I was on a trip to Singapore and thought, 'Hang on, there's something I really wanted to do'."

Her third application to NIDA was successful - she believes because they appreciated the life experience she'd had this time around.

"I think that makes any person a bit more interesting," she says.

"There was no defining moment which made me quit. More a realisation I'd got sidetracked."


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