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Holly's poison ivy

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Holly's poison ivy

The Courier-Mail

30 June 2005

Holly Brisley is celebrating a huge year, writes Erica Thompson

LANDING a role on Home and Away topped off a dream year for Holly Brisley. But on the eve of her big debut, the Gold Coast actress is having second thoughts.

"I'm a bit scared that I'm going to get things thrown at me when I'm walking down the street," she laughs. "Just remember it's my character, not me!"

Brisley plays bad-girl Amanda Vale, ex-wife of Dan (Tim Campbell), who arrives in Summer Bay tonight with their six-year-old son.

"She gets up to a fair bit of no good, but a lot of the time I think she's just misunderstood," Brisley says.

"I don't think she's overly malicious or vindictive, but she just has all these things happen to her and she just keeps digging her grave deeper and deeper."

Returning to Channel 7 full-time is like coming home for Brisley, who began her TV career with the network 10 years ago as the fresh-faced host of Agro's Cartoon Connection.

But after the program folded, the blonde starlet found herself stuck on the merry-go-round of artistic employment, not helped, she says, by the explosion of reality TV.

She kept her career going with a number of "blink and you'll miss it" film and TV roles, including, interestingly, a cameo on Home and Away. But since turning 27 in January, Brisley has suddenly returned to the spotlight with a vengeance.

She was a finalist on Dancing with the Stars, got engaged, became a spokesperson for Pepsi, won a Best Actress award in New York for the feature film The Crop and taped several episodes of a new bloopers show for Seven before being offered a regular Home and Away role.

"Sometimes I just pinch myself because I think how can anybody be that lucky in one year," she says.

"It's been a bit of a whirlwind, but this would have to be one of my best years.

"A lot of people are like, `where's she sprung from?' Well, I've sprung from about 10 years of really hard work!"

Brisley is hopeful the Bay will prove the same fertile training ground that helped catapult former Home and Away stars Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck), Melissa George (Alias) and Ryan Kwanten (Summerland) to the international stage.

"In the past, a lot of soapie actors have had a lot of difficulty trying to break that mould," she says. "But I think it's actually becoming easier these days because people are realising that they're all very talented and they work so hard.

"That's certainly something I've realised since joining the show. It's so fast-paced. We're doing 12 to 16 scenes a day, whereas on a feature film you do like three."

Brisley's arrival came not long after golden girl Bec Cartwright departed the soap, which celebrates its 4000th episode next week. "It was a very sad moment for her. Seven years on one show you build really strong friendships and I guess they become your family," she says.

"I can definitely see why people stay on for as long as they do, but I don't imagine I'll do seven years. But we'll see."

Home and Away, Seven, weekdays 7pm

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