High-flying teenager acts out new life on “Shorty”
The acting career of a former Waiheke High School head girl has been launched on New Zealand's favourite soap opera.
Sophia Johnson plays the part of teenager Loren Fitzpatrick on Shortland Street.
She was cast in the role in October and says she is enjoying working with the other actors who are "fun to hang out with".
"A lot of them have helped me, especially Angela Bloomfield who plays Rachel McKenna."
But she is still getting used to being recognised and says she was shocked when two young girls asked her for her autograph on location last week - just one day after her first appearance on the TV2 show.
The 19-year-old actress is the daughter of poet, novelist and former Waiheke Marketplace columnist Mike Johnson. She excelled at school in drama, politics and public speaking and was voted school Dux in 2007.
She follows in the footsteps of other islanders who have scored parts in the series including Amber Curreen and Waiheke High School drama teacher Vicki Walker.
Another of her drama teachers, Katy Lewis, says the young actress has a "powerful presence".
"Sophia was always an original thinker and was amazing with different characters. She was a versatile actress. It was noticeable even at Year 12 level when I taught her."
Deputy principal Tony Sears agrees.
"She was one of those students who leapt out of her skin with enthusiasm. The school is delighted to see her succeed.
"Sophia is a real Waiheke girl - a bit alternative, grounded in common sense and driven to succeed.
"I will now start watching Shortland Street."