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Interviews > Amelia Frid

In May 2004, I had the pleasure and privilege of getting to interview Amelia Frid, better known as the original Cody Willis in the Australian soap opera Neighbours, which she starred in from 1990 to 1991. It was especially wonderful (and a little weird) for me, as I've had a crush on her since I was about sixteen! Below is the original, unedited, untouched, interview. Hope you all enjoy it.

How did you get into acting in the first place?
It was kind of a random thing... I had been doing school plays, getting involved in drama, and just enjoying it. My parents noticed I was not shy on front of a camera, took some snaps of me, and sent them off to agencies. If it wasnt for them, I could not guarantee it would still have happened. Not then...

How did you get the role of Cody?
So... I had secured a contract with an agent, thanks to my parents dedication to seeing me shine, and had done a couple of gigs... Adventures on Kythera (which was a magical experience, shot on location on a tiny island near crete), Celia (this is starting to read like a Curriculum Vitae) and then the audition for Neighbours came along... I think it was a ‘right time, right place’ thing and my friends and I were keen viewers at the time, and one of my classmates would always say “when are you going to be on Neighbours??”, so when the audition came up, and then I got the role, it was all kind of surreal...

How did you get on with your co-stars?
Mmm... well, a lot of them were older than me and I respected them because they had eons of experience, and I had, like, one year, but they were great to work with... offered guidance, extremely supportive. The crew were an absolute hoot... they could sling some pretty tough shit at you but in a way that made you laugh - now that’s skill! And the younger cast members... there were some pretty close connections made, and I don’t doubt they were real, but you are essentially an eclectic mix bound by a glue: part of it was the environment you were thrown into together. I mean, you would see these people a lot, spend most of your week with them, sometimes doing some pretty weird stuff at some odd hours... so, you bond. Some made quite an impression, and I still catch myself thinking about them to this day…

What was your favourite storyline on the show?
There were so many moments I can still remember laughing myself silly about, but none I could make out with any clarity... definitely one that stands out was the strip poker storyline... the one where Todd and Cody ran away was fun to film... I remember doing a lot of location work for that. At the time, I thought the couple-swapping stuff was out there but then, I know people that has actually happened to... I got a kick out of filming stuff at night... what made the storylines fun was trying to act those out with reasonable conviction, whilst trying not to let the storylines occurring off set spill over... its hard to not be emotionally involved at that age.

What was your least favourite?
Unequivocally, my least favourite was the one where Todd and Cody plan to “do it”... I found everything about that storyline incredibly embarrassing...

What is your overall happiest memory of your time on the show?
Any time I spent hanging out with Richard, Jeremy and Jade... they were the best...

Why did you decide to leave?
My contract was coming to an end at around the same time that I was approaching VCE. I knew I could not continue with both and give either anything close to 100%. And both were worth being a single point of focus for me at that time. There was considerable interest in renewing my contract, as my family had just been moved into Ramsay St. My parents would have supported me either way... My school had, til that point, been incredibly flexible, allowing me to attend for half a day a week to pick up additional work, hand in completed work, and effectively alleviated me of the burden of having to be a “student”. But, my principal sat me down and told me that they could not support me in the same way if I was to continue with Neighbours and undertake my VCE. I had to make a choice... I guess on some level I understood that in the first place, this was something I had fallen into, and that if it was a genuine passion, eventually I would come back to it...

Were you asked to return later on? What did you think of them recasting the part?
No. They cast Peta Brady (she did a fine job, but I got the feeling they were not looking for a “physical match”, given that she was a head taller than me, had red hair and sounded completely different...) and then the character was killed off... now that was weird...

What have you been doing since?
I have been on a crazy ride... I finished school, secured a place at Monash – enrolled in an arts/law degree with not a clue as to what I wanted to do – deferred, and went away for the year (to Israel, Egypt)... came back, dragged my reluctant self through university, and eventually found psychology. Deferred law to do a fourth year in psychology, and did a placement for 40 days (course requirement) at a Prison at Ararat (town is famous for an abattoir, prison, now boasts a College of Viticulture... and about twenty pubs crammed onto one main street). Absolutely loved it. Finished the placement, finished my fourth year, and finished law... did an internship as a student counsellor at Deakin for one year, then got a job working as a therapist co-facilitating groups at Ararat Prison. Have been working in forensics for the last two years, it’s a tough gig, but I enjoy it more and more all the time, and find that it is, in its own warped way, and at distinct moments, infinitely rewarding... I am about to submit for Full Registration as a psychologist actually, so I am full of angst. Funnily enough, acting has come in very handy... we do experiential work with the guys, involves a lot of role playing, etc... its extraordinary, the way it has all come together. But then, that’s the universe I guess... and we all have stories like these.

What are your interests/passions?
My cats (I have two). My family. My friends (they are amazing people and I invest a lot in them because they deserve it). Trying to be financially stable, and not live ad sufferance (month to month). Reading... about profiling, true crime, behavioural analysis, anything by Milan Kundera, Alain De Botton, Jeanette Winterson. People. Trying to understand what the hell goes on in the minds of men…! (it’s a hobby). Knitting (its chic, you know!!). A solid self care regime (I work with the incarcerated… it keeps me sane.): swimming, jogging, cycling. Music festivals (I go to at least one in the state, and try to make on interstate festival a year – went to East Coast Blues Fest last year, which rocked!!). The little things...

Are you single at the moment?
Nice try... hahaha... Nah, I think I have divulged quite enough about myself for one evening. And now, back to my book. Ciao.

Interview by Ian Kidd. Added on 30th July 2005