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Bianca Nacson
as Gem Whitely

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Bianca Nacson as Gem Exclusive interview with Bianca Nacson who played Gem Whitely in Heartbreak High
 

“Neighbours, everybody needs good Neighbours.” Pracically every reader is bound to recognise those words as the infamous Neighbours theme tune. But what are they doing here in an interview with one of the stars of Heartbreak High?

‘Pretty much my entire family were entertainers,’ says Bianca. ‘My Granddad is Barry Crocker – “the shocker!”. He wrote the Neighbours theme.’ At the age of just three Bianca got interested and her family encouraged her to pursue this interest. ‘Yeah my mum was always putting me in for auditions which was really cool – I did heaps of commercials and stuff like that’.


Appearing in hundreds of commercials and television productions such as Home and Away, Above the Law, when she was thirteen she decided to give it a break for a while. ‘Basically I just wanted to have a normal life for a while, hang out with friends and concentrate more on school. I got back into all though after a couple of years – I always wanted to be an actress, it’s fun!’

It didn’t take long before she was in demand again. ‘I auditioned for guest roles on both Home and Away and Heartbreak High – and then I got call backs for both – but the auditions were on the same day, so I had to make a choice.’ Luckily for us, she attended the audition for Heartbreak and after going through lots of acting workshops she was cast in a guest role as the motorcycle chick in episode 176. The producers were so impressed that they asked her back to appear as a regular, Gem.

* * * *

Faith Laura asks ‘Hi Bianca! Gem often seemed to be quite an unstable character. Did you find her quite draining to play at times? What was your favourite storyline during your time on the show? And finally, if you could have created any storyline for Gem to be a part of in Heartbreak High, what would it have been?’
‘Hi Laura thanks for the questions! Yeah Gem was very draining to play, the type of character they wanted me to play was just really nasty. I had to separate myself from her; I’m not at all like her. Of course, being part of Heartbreak meant that I had to travel for two hours every morning, get straight into make up, onto set… and when we weren’t on set we’d all be rehearsing lines. So yeah, it was definitely draining – but I loved doing it which is what kept me going. It’s not about fame, I just enjoy it!’

‘My favourite storyline… oh that’s a tough question! The stuff with Putu (Dennis) was great, when they thought Mr Carson was gay – Putu’s such a crazy guy, really charismatic and easy to work with. The whole cheeky/devious angle was fun to do, and of course the horse riding storyline. And the singing too!’ ‘I guess I would have liked to see the Lee/Gem thing develop a bit more - maybe I’m just saying it ‘cos he’s such a lovely guy.’

Mel asks ‘Now that Heartbreak High is finished, is it a surprise to see that it still has the following it does? And what are you doing now? Are you still acting?’
‘I wouldn’t say it’s such a surprise, because there was only a certain number of good shows at the time – and of course it specifically targeted young people. The girls like it for Drazic and his spunky skating, the people on there reflected what people had been going though, and everyone identifies with it.’
‘I’m just getting back into the acting now, after Heartbreak I did a cartoon called Wicked, I played this girl called Dawn. That was a laugh, I got to put on all these weird voices… I also played a frog and an evil slug on there! But yeah I’ve had a year off to do some travelling and just at the moment doing some comedy stuff.”

Princess asks ‘Did you watch HBH before you landed the role as Gem? If so who was your favourite character?’
‘I saw it a few times, just due to the times that it was on, but I didn’t really have any favourites…’

Justine asks ‘Hi Bianca ! When you played in HBH, I think you had good relations with almost all the others actors but who were your best friends there? Did you still see some of them? And finally, I would like to know what was your favourite episode to play in?’
‘Hi Justine! We were all good friends, but I’d have to say my best friend on set was Tasneem Roc (Thania). We lived together for a while – I was good friends with Katherine Hicks too (Tess). I was close to Stephanie Bursill as well, who did a few episodes as the British girl. What you saw of screen of her dancing skills were just like a drop in an ocean – I went clubbing with her once and was just like, “WOW!”’
‘When I was in Australia I saw my old cast mates every now and then which was cool.”

Daniellefan asks ‘Hi Bianca ! I was wondering how is it to be a tv star ? Do you get recognised all the time on the street ?’
‘I definitely don’t consider myself a TV star, although the response from people sometimes can make it seem like I am. But it’s great acting, I love it – making audiences love and hate me. Some of the comments I’ve read on the site show and feedback I’ve got show that I did a good job with Gem – people totally hate her!’
‘I can’t remember one day when I’ve not been recognised, I know that sounds weird but audiences can just remember faces after like, one viewing – so in clubs, pubs, corner shops, anywhere really… but it’s all good. I don’t mind it’

Floren writes ‘I'd like to know how old are you? And my best wishes for your future! Greetings from Spain’
‘Thanks mate, I’m 23! All the best.’

James writes ‘How did you get into Acting and have you always wanted to be an actress? How did you get a part in HBH? Are you similar to Gem in anyway? Which Cast members did you get on really well with? and do you still keep in contact with them? What has been your most memorable moment of your life?’
‘That’s a lot of questions. I think I’ve pretty much answered a couple earlier… but as for the most memorable moment of my life, that’s hard! I can’t really say, I just try and live every moment to the full, do everything, see everywhere, get the most out of life. There’s too much to really pin it down to one moment.’

Oll Morris asks ‘ If I asked you to marry me what would you say and why would it be yes?’’
‘That's so sweet… umm yes - because I’m delusional and wanna marry someone I met on the internet? Ha ha only joking, maybe I’d say yes because of your handsome features? Tough question!’

Anne asks ‘I'm wondering if you had to chose between Lee or Zac, who would you chose and why?
What did you think of the last eps of Gemma? I think a lot of us fans hated Gem because of what she did to Marc.’
‘Both! We’re talking about the characters right? No, actually probably neither, because both have ‘qualities’ about them that are both as nice as each other. That was my very politically correct answer.’
‘The last episodes were great, there was this whole thing bubbling underneath for so long. Here was Gem stuck in a big house all on her own… the producers brought me in for a chat to see if I was keen on doing that last storyline – as the show was ending they wanted Gem to go out with a bang – and I was all for it! What she did was awful, but there are people out there who do things like that, so it was good that it was shown.’

Sapphire asks ‘Hi Bianca! My name is Sandra and I'm a big HBH fan from Spain. Did you ever think of being a singer before singing in Heart Break high?’
‘I’ve always really been into singing, I’ve wanted to be one all my life – as well as an actress! It was a case of at every family gathering everyone else were singers so that’s where the ambition came from.’

Bianca actually appeared in the Australian version of the programme Popstars, which is a reality TV show taking hundreds of unknown potential singers, auditioning them off until they come up with five band members. ‘It was horrible! It was like a meat market, you had to stand in line for hours and hours, and when you finally got in there everyone was so nervous. I was alright; I’ve done so many auditions that I can relax. Everyone was like screaming “I wanna be a popstar, I wanna be a popstar” and all that kinda stuff. When the camera came up to me and I blatantly looked down the camera and took off one of the girls that had just screamed in jest, “I wanna be a popstar!!!” And it got put on! I meant it as a joke – the worst thing was I’d said it in a really stupid voice and for like the next week every time I went out people were taking the mickey out of ME! “Did you really wanna be a pop star that much?” That was really embarrassing’.
The irony is Bianca didn’t even want to go in the first place, it was Stephanie (Claire Grant in Heartbreak) who had asked Bianca to go along with her, but she got a really sore throat and in the end couldn’t make it.

Sapphire asks ‘Can you tell us any anecdote happened during the filming of the show? What kind of music do you listen to? Who are your fave actors/actresses?’
‘Give me a few minutes to think about that one! There’s so many… there was just crazy stuff happening all the time. We always had fun, whether it was people hiding behind things waiting to jump out when someone was about to say their line, stuff like that. There were heaps of practical jokes. Putu (Dennis) and Callan (Drazic) were the biggest practical jokers – they were ALWAYS muckin’ around, playing jokes on people. There was no one time, it was just all the time. Everyone got along, it was really nice.’
‘Music wise I listen to everything. Well, almost everything. The only music I don’t like is like really heavy death metal and country music – it’s so boring. My favourite band at the moment would be Incubus. I am horrible with collecting cd’s – I have crates and crates of them. If I like one song, I buy the album. I love music. I’m about to go see Alicia Keys.’
‘It’s funny, a lot of my favourite actors are actually male. Of course, Deniro and Pacino, Morgan Freeman – he can just stare and you know what he’s thinking. Kevin Spacey is a legend. Ed Norton. Meg Ryan.’

Skippy 1980 asks ‘How was it to play the "Gem accusing Marc of sexual harassment" storyline? Did you do research on how to play something like that with the right emotions? You played it very well, I hated Gem's guts for it.’
‘I’ve kinda answered the first question there before Skippy, it was good experience. As far as research goes, I did as much as I could, basically I hired a movie with someone else doing it and watched how they had their facial expressions – and saw if I believed them or not. I found it really hard to get the emotion up; I had nothing to connect it to because nothing like that has ever happened to me, thank god. The scene walking into Carson’s office was really hard to do because I had to sit on my own for a while and make myself feel sad. It’s cool that you hated me for it, it means I did my job well. And I’m sorry!!’

Helen Birch asks ‘Hi Bianca, I just wondered if you fancied any of the cast from any of the series( i know a lot of members on this site have a few favourites, mine are Callan Mulvey and Rel Hunt!! Plus Steve, Rivers, Nick and Con from the first series lol)’
‘No I didn’t fancy any of them, honestly. I liked them all as people, they were all so nice and friendly. But not to go out with!’

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