TV & Radio
Bridgette Sneddon is the envy of Home And Away fans the world over.
On screen, as Summer Bay newcomer Sophie Taylor, she is getting up close and personal with hunky doctor Nate (played by former Shortland Street actor Kyle Pryor) while in real life she is engaged to Steve Peacocke who plays River Boys leader Brax.
Sneddon, 27, is the first to admit her character could ruffle a few feathers.
"Sophie is Dr Nate's wife; they are separated but not divorced," she says of her character who arrives in the bay to take over from Bianca (Lisa Gormley) as principal of Summer Bay High.
"I think it was a shock to Kyle actually," she says, of her Kiwi co-star's reaction to learning he has a wife.
"Sophie really wants to rekindle that relationship and she'll do whatever she needs to make it work. Along the way, she does get into a bit of trouble and stands on people's toes but it is all unintentional. She's got a good heart."
Sneddon says although she shares some traits with her character - they are both creative - there are some fundamental differences.
"The biggest difference is the way she deals with confrontation. In real life, I shy away from confrontation wherever I can and she just dives straight into it," Bridgette says.
"If there's a problem that needs to be dealt with she'll just deal with it there and then. I actually find that when you've got a character who is a bit more ballsy than you are it's really good fun to play out. As the show goes on, different parts of her past are revealed and we're quite different there, too."
The role is Sneddon's first TV job and she admits she had qualms about a part on the long-running drama that has made her fiance Steve a household name in Australia.
"As any actor in Sydney knows, you don't usually get to choose your auditions," she says. "Home And Away came across my desk as any other audition would. Obviously I was a little hesitant initially as I always thought that was Steve's workplace and it would be better to keep that separate."
However, at the urging of her agent and Peacocke she went to the audition and fell in love with the character.
"It was one of the first roles I went for that I could see myself playing the character," she says. "I related to her in some way and it did just work out. I don't know if it played in my favour or against me that I knew Steve - if anything, I've been told it could have played against me."
However, once cast, Sneddon says her new co-stars were so welcoming.
"Steve had spoken so much about everyone being so lovely, but until you experience it you don't really understand how much of a family they are," she says. "You come on to a show like that rather nervously but they instantly ground you and make you feel welcome."
Sneddon is also relaxed about the impact that fame may have on her.
"It is obviously a great learning curve having Steve go ahead of me. I've learnt from how he's dealt with that public image," she says, of her fiance who shuns social media and attends few red carpet events.
"The main thing is, I think, you have to have that work life and private life balance. Our friends and family are very separated from our life as actors and we just hope to continue that.
"Obviously, you do publicity stuff when it's required. Steve's very appreciative of his fans and that they have been so loyal to him...
"Hopefully, that will carry on later down the track when he moves on to other projects. We want to keep that great relationship, but I think it is important not to get too bogged down in that celebrity side otherwise I think you can risk changing who you are and we're very happy with the life we have and how we are balancing it at the moment."
Home And Away
TV 2, Weeknights, 5.30pm
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