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Tasneem Roc
as Thania Saya

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Tasneem Roc as Thania Exclusive interview with Tasneem Roc who played Thania Saya in Heartbreak High
Born in Sydney, Tasneem Roc attended the Turramurra High School and went on to do a couple of semesters at the Australian Theatre for Young People before landing the role of Thania Saya on Heartbreak High. Although she has lived most her life in Australia, she did live in England for a year when she was in her teens.

It was 2 O'clock in the afternoon for me in the UK - and about midnight in Australia for Tasneem as we began chatting.
I asked her how she ended up on HBH.
"I was sent along by my agent for the role of Mariel, a waitress in a scene with Drazic (watch that scene here). The director on the episode (Jess Hobbs) asked me if I was being auditioned for any main roles. I was then asked back to audition for the role of Thania and it got down to me and two other girls, and I got the part - yay!"

After that Tasneem spent two weeks on the set rehearsing, but admits, "Oh, I was as nervous as hell!" Her first day in front of the camera as her new character was a bit of a waste of time - it turned out that they never even used the footage in the final cut of the episode! "I was being interviewed by a news crew for the storyline about Thania's artwork that offended Sarah - a crucified Koala, tasteful, eh?"

Often when actors play a character, particularly if they are doing so for any length of time in a series, elements of themselves mix with the character. I asked Tasneem if this were true for Thania,
"It is sort of hard to say, because we were encouraged to be as honest as possible in our acting by finding correlations between situations in the script and our everyday experiences. So in a way Thania's reactions are very much like me. I know I am UNLIKE Thania in the way she seems to incite drama and speaking without thinking first. Anyway I'd like to think so, others may disagree!"

A hot topic of discussion regarding Thania was the tattoo on her chin that she had for a few episodes, "Robyn Austin the makeup designer came up with that one. It is an adaptation of a traditional New Zealand Maori moko. It is a tattoo that the women wear. I got to wear some weird looks - after all the fun I had with the makeup and wardrobe, I probably became more subdued in everyday life!"

I asked Tas if she had ever considered getting a tattoo in real life, "I've thought about it, but to be honest, there is no design that I am really drawn to at the moment, it would have to be quite special."

Back to Heartbreak High - Tasneem recalls her favourite storyline from her time on the show, "I really enjoyed the storyline with Petra, who played a deaf student who turns out to be a teacher. That was really interesting. We had a man on set tutoring Annalise about sign language, and a couple of actors who were deaf or partially deaf in one scene."

We then discussed the possibilities if they'd have kept Petra on as a main character. Tasneem pointed out that, "The script writers introduce lots of fascinating characters that remain only as guests." I wondered if Tas was referring to her earlier appearance as Mariel!!

I asked Tasneem what storyline she would have come up with for Thania if she had been writing Heartbreak High. "I would love to have done some active stuff, like Karate or kickboxing."

"What was the most amount of times that you had to re-take a scene on HBH, and which one was it?" I asked.
Tasneem told me about one particular scene "There was one scene in the English classroom and somebody had said something funny and every time it came around to my lines I just kept cracking up - I think the director eventually gave up on me….. Apart from that, I am a consummate professional. Of course."
A professional she is - but she still gets the nerves from time to time, and more so when it comes to kissing scenes, "I don't think I had to kiss anyone on screen before the storyline with Kurt, so naturally I was a little nervous. I do remember feeling embarrassed, because the crew had a bit of a chuckle at our expense."

In her latest role, as Skye on Head Start, Tasneem has to pash Garth Holcombe every now and then, "Garth is such an excellent guy, he did his best to make me feel comfortable about it. I was a lot easier when I got to know him a little better - you wonder what all the fuss is about!"

Heartbreak High ended three years ago now and Tasneem admitted that the last day wasn't great, "Oh, I remember quite a feeling of sadness in the air." She was actually in the last scene of the block, where Marco tells Thania he doesn't want to be with her anymore (watch that scene here).

"I think the director (Steve Mann) planned it to get an emotional response out of us. It was a weird day, because we weren't sure if we were going to do another series or not - still waiting for the news."

I asked if Tasneem still sees any of her former co-stars, "Yeah, I try. A couple of us went out to dinner a little while ago. I am quite good friends with Bianca, who played Gem. And I miss Katherine, who is living up the coast; she is a great friend of mine. I think a reunion is on the cards though, I would really like to see them again."

Since finishing HBH, Tasneem has graduated from university and had a couple of roles in Head Start and Dream Team in the UK.

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