Home And Away newcomer Annabelle Stephenson lets the dreams of her mother come true.
The former Revenge actor plays Taylor, the wife of Detective Angelo Rosetta, who starts an affair with Constable Colby Thorne (Tim Franklin), dissatisfied after years of neglect by her husband, blissfully unaware that he is the killer her husband is pursuing.
“For years, Tim and I have known each other. We both grew up on the Gold Coast and are the oldest of our group, Stephenson says, revealing that they also spend Christmas together with their families.
“Family, we are. Our mothers called each other right away when we got the phone call that I was on the show and they were shouting down the line.
“It was as if the stars were aligned. For years, we had been joking about how funny it would be (if we were on screen together), and then it was incredible when it happened.
Stephenson said the closeness of the pair made for perfect chemistry on-screen, even though initially kissing a friend was a little weird.
Stephenson, a native of the United Kingdom, relocated as a child to Australia and began performing at a young age, becoming interested in school plays, dancing and music.
Her big break came in 2006 when, at 18, in the children’s drama H2O: Just Add Water, she landed the role of Miriam Kent.
She later earned a place at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (Nida) in Australia and moved to the US after her graduation, where she joined the cast of the hit drama Revenge. She starred as Sara Mugello, Daniel’s former girlfriend (Josh Bowman).
“The best thing is we had great chemistry when I auditioned for the show and I read across from Josh Bowman,” Stephenson says, joking that Daniel ended up with the wrong person.
“He’s British, I was originally British, and we really find out that my Aunty and his Aunty are best friends, and they grew up together.”
However, Stephenson decided to travel back to Australia after co-starring with Jane Seymour in the 2017 film Pray For Rain, where she was almost instantly cast as hidden widow Laura Maney in the Netflix drama Tidelands.
It was cool because, for me, it was sort of a full-circle moment. My first role was H2O: Just Add Water and Tom McSweeney had that cast, and that was an awesome first role on the Gold Coast,’ she says.
Then I got Tidelands cast by Tom McSweeney in the Brisbane-Gold Coast area when I returned from LA and I was like this is just a mean thing.
Stephenson feels most at home down under, considering her British origins.
I’ve been to LA and I’ve been working with all these great people and projects and I’m so grateful to have done that.
But I don’t think the work-life balance was anywhere near what I felt spiritually linked with over there.
I don’t think LA is a really grounded place, and I’m a big, family-oriented guy, personally. Friends are very important to me, and we have a very wet, accommodating and just so down to earth Aussie-New Zealand spirit as well, and that’s what I think makes the industry so desirable down south.
New Zealand is considered her second home by the 32-year-old star, revealing that she has close family links to this country and spent several years holidaying on the South Island where her family owned a Queenstown holiday home.
“We’d go down there and spend Christmas. We’d have a lot of winters over there.
Last year, my best friend got married there and I was her bridesmaid,’ she says.
My parents, my nana, came from northern England, but they were in the Salvation Army in New Zealand way ago.
They spent years there, so we still thought that there was a spiritual bond, and that’s why my parents bought a place here. Currently, my Nana’s nickname is Tui.