Jacqui Purvis, a newbie to Home And Away, makes no apologies for the chaos she has wreaked in Summer Bay.
Indeed, the former Neighbours actress is ecstatic that Felicity ‘Flick’ Newman is making such a splash.
Purvis’ 2019 appearance on Ramsay Street as Melissa Lohan, Chloe Brennan’s (Rose Pengilly) ex-girlfriend, generated ripples, but Flick is a tsunami.
“(Melissa) was kind of classy, elegant, strong willed – not to say Flick isn’t also very strong willed – but Melissa was very self-assured and a bit more lawyer-esque whereas Flick is just a kind of cannonball,” Purvis says of her character who made her debut dancing on top of a nightclub bar.
Flick – the younger sister of the bay’s new constable Cash (Nicholas Cartwright) – is a wrecking ball, and the young woman herself is frequently the victim.
Purvis, who missed out on the role of restaurant owner McKenzie (Emily Weir) due to scheduling conflicts, feels it a gift to be able to play such a multi-layered character.
After being left with two children and a drought-affected farm, Flick and Cash’s father committed himself, and she refuses to accept any of it.
Instead, she makes one terrible decision after another, and she’s now the prime suspect in poisoning at a charity event that has Tane Parata (Ethan Browne) struggling for his life. Even her own brother now questions her innocence after new developments this week.
“I’m so thankful that I didn’t get (the Mac role) because Flick is just such a dream come true as a character. She’s so much fun,” Purvis says. “I get to transition from vulnerable and sensitive with my family issues and mental health to the fun side, which is that she is a little pocket rocket who has no filter. So it’s a huge, huge blessing and I’m just so grateful that I get to play it.”
The actor is not worried about any negative social media feedback about her character.
“As long as the audience is hooked, I’m happy,” she says.
On a personal level, she considers herself fortunate to be a part of a story that explores the long-term effects of suicide on those left behind.
“I was actually really grateful that we got that storyline because while raising awareness (about suicide), it is always a huge pressure.
“It’s incredible at the same time, especially with what’s happening in the world today,” she says adding after she found out about the storyline, she did her own research. “It’s an important topic to cover and you want to cover it correctly and sensitively.”
Purvis spoke with persons who had experienced a suicide in their family, including a woman who had lost her mother to it.
“It’s different for everyone, obviously, so I just had to choose something specific for Flick and how she would react to that situation,” Purvis says.
“I just needed to cover all bases and make sure that I was doing it justice and was covering it sensitively. It is very hard, but also so enlightening at the same time.”
Purvis doesn’t expect Flick will come to terms with her grief any time soon.
“There are different ways to grieve and some move on quicker than others. The flick is always going to struggle with it, and that’s just the way she is and that’s the person she is, and so it’s always going to be there,” Purvis says. “It’s going to be a long, long haul for her.”
The actress claims to have no trouble comprehending Flick but confesses that her character does things she would never consider.
“The dancing on the bar, I mean, I don’t think I would do that. So, yeah, there are definitely things that I wouldn’t do but then there are also things that I absolutely connect with and I’m just like, ‘Oh my god, I don’t need to act at all. This has happened to me, and I know exactly how that feels.”
Purvis, a former dancer, fell in love with acting when she was in her teens, but parts for her have been hard to come by until recently.
“It’s been tough and a long road; there are a lot of auditions, a lot of rejection.
“But then there’s also a lot of love and a lot of incredible people that you meet along the way and incredible jobs that you have, so I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am obsessed with this job and obsessed with acting.
“I’m here for the long haul, that’s for sure.”