Gympie actress beats 150 peers to land Home and Away gig
A RISING Gympie actress has put her foot in the door of what might be the world's most competitive industry by beating out more than 150 peers to score a paid internship on the set of iconic Aussie soap opera Home and Away.
Former James Nash High School student and impending QUT graduate Madeline Exarhos capped off her three year Acting and Drama degree in perfect fashion when her "self-test", in which she acted out a role from her chosen H&A script, impressed the show's casting director so much that she was picked as one of five finalists nationwide.
That final five included her QUT classmate Morgan Francis, but it was 'Maddy' who received the coveted final call.
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The 22-year-old will now enjoy a week-long immersive experience which will see her "go behind-the-scenes" and "spend time with key cast members, as well as the casting, wardrobe, scheduling, script, art, make-up and editing departments".
"It was pretty mind-blowing, to be honest," she said of learning the news.
"I was at home by myself when I got the phone call, and honestly I'd put the possibility of winning out of my head because I wasn't expecting it at all.
"I thought it was a prank, I was thinking 'How could I be the winner?'. I was just having fun with it (application), I thought it was a great opportunity but I forgot about it pretty quickly.
"After working 40 hours a week with the same 15 classmates for three years it doesn't seem real, and to be one of the lucky ones to get a job straight out of uni is very special."
QUT Senior Lecturer in Acting Dr Andrea Moor praised Maddy's "authenticity" as her best acting trait.
"Maddy has always had a beautiful, natural quality about her acting, and she has managed to keep that quality even through learning an awful lot of skills throughout her degree," Dr Moor said.
"It's lovely for a girl from country Queensland to win such an incredible opportunity, it's a great story.
"Maintaining natural authenticity is a QUT stamp, we have a very inclusive community and that environment really helps train our actors for success.
"To have two students in the final five candidates says a lot about our program, we are one of the top three drama schools in the country and we'll continue to strive to be the best."
Maddy was also snapped up by MCSM, a "boutique theatrical agency" with connections to Los Angeles, on the back of dazzling performances in a QUT showcase played in Sydney this year.
Her all-expenses-paid Home and Away internship, provided by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance Equity Foundation in partnership with Media Super, Showcast and the Seven Network, will take place early next year.