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Interviews > Defah Dattner

In 1994, a school merger saw a group of new teens headed for Erinsborough High. Among them was Saskia Patterson-Smythe, or Sassy as she preferred to be known. The actress behind Sassy, Defah Dattner, talked to us about her time on the show and how it felt to play such a fiery character

Can you give us a little background on your career before joining Neighbours?
I was fresh out of school at the time but had been involved mainly in theatre projects since a young age. Neighbours was my first major role on TV.

How did the role of Sassy come about?
Sassy was introduced as a troublesome friend of Danni's who came on the scene everytime someone got into trouble.

How would you describe Sassy?
Sassy was pretty much out for her own benefit and didn't seem to care who was in her way. Although she did have fun in the process.

Did you find it difficult entering into an established cast when you joined as Sassy?
All the cast at the time were really friendly and used to so many different faces. I enjoyed meeting so many new people and experiencing the 'Neighbours Life'.

Who did you most enjoy working with on the show, and why?
I think I most enjoyed working with Eliza Szonert. She was very honest and down to earth. Obviously I had more of a chance to work with her and get to know her.

Are you still in contact with any of your former co-stars?
I don't have any contact with former actors as my life has been in a very different place since leaving Neighbours. Also many years have passed.

What have you done since leaving the show?
I travelled overseas and worked. Lived interstate and helped establish my fathers business in Sydney. I now have two children, Ella and Ruby and that keeps me very busy. I am still young though and when the kids are a little older I will be busy doing my stuff again.

Do you ever tune into Neighbours today, and if so, what are your thoughts on it? Do you think it has changed?
I can't say I watch Neighbours as I am usually busy, but on the occasions I have it is a very different show. It seems to have a more generic quality than ten years ago and is possibly not quite as 'Australian' as it was.

Would you ever consider a return to the show? What do you think Sassy would be up to now?
I'll never say never. Anything can happen in life. I must say that it would be quite bizarre to be on Neighbours now but I think it would be quite fun also. Hopefully Sassy, not unlike myself has grown up a lot and would have a bit more to offer now. I would like to think that she wasn't quite so much of a bitch!

Interview by Moe. Added on 2nd July 2003