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Interviews > Hany Lee

This week, UK viewers saw the newest Neighbour move in, as Hany Lee made her debut as clumsy Korean exchange student Sunny Lee. Here, Hany chats to us about how she landed the role...

Had you done much acting before auditioning for your Neighbours role?
Not much. I started with musicals and then stepped up into doing tvc/music videos and then started getting major roles in short films... I miss my stage performing... a lot.

You auditioned in the Dolly Neighboursí Next Big Stars contest. Can you tell us a little about that experience?
Unforgettable memory. I felt intimidated at first because it was my second try, first one didnít go well... however didnít let that get to me: "if I start something I might as well finish it" and that attitude ranked me a place in top 16, top 4, top 2 and I won NSW state. Throughout the journey I met Jan Russ (FremantleMedia), an absolute inspiring women and Jen (Dolly Mag), a beautiful lady who gave you the smile of the year. They both gave me strength to keep going. Great experience, I learnt a lot.

Although you didnít win that three month role, you ended up being cast as regular character Sunny Lee soon after. Were you surprised?
SUPRISED?! Nooo, I was so worried. Because my mum fainted that day after hearing the news, but i was overwhelmed. I hugged my first set of scripts given to me in bed for a few nights.

Were you a fan of Neighbours before joining?
I am now! Before I only glanced at an episode or two every now and then. However starting work I started watching continuously and figured out that Neighbours is extremely addictive... you should try... everyone should try.

How would you describe the character of Sunny?
A bubbly bright girl, who speaks her mind whenever and wherever. However, since she has always clashed with her culture's patriarchal society structure, deep inside is full of contradictions and insecurities... what more could an actor want?

Can you give us any hints about whatís coming up for her?
Haha... nooo... I'll have to leave you all in suspense and excitement to figure out for yourselves. Be warned there is a LOT coming up for this Asian girl.

How did it feel to be joining such an established cast? What was your first day like?
It was great. I finally got to experience what it was like to be a Neighbours actor in a Neighbours green room... haha it's hilarious, action-packed and to be coming into such a welcoming family is the best thing that could ever happen. One specific thing I managed to pick up straight away was the love & support that went around... even to me.

Is there anyone in the cast youíre particularly enjoying working with?
Hahaha...!!! That's really funny... I actually have to say yes I do have one particular person... Declan (James Sorensen). Great actor to work with. But so are the numerous cast members I have worked with as well... all very talented.

The arrival of Sunny has come at a time when Neighbours is being heavily criticised in the media for its lack of non-white characters. What are your thoughts on this?
I believe that the rumoured criticisms are not only the reasons why I was given a chance to be Sunny in Neighbours. You see, although this chaos has appealed to a few people, I myself believe that the casting wasn't only done because there was a lack of non-white actors but because I suited the character, or maybe good acting. Truly Neighbours is a very multicultural group... people are not looking carefully enough.

The reason why I put so much effort in at work is because I want to inspire Asian or different cultural actors who lack in confidence and appearance. I'm extremely natural and don't look attractive or have outstanding acting talents BUT people like this shouldn't give up or change who they are because of what they are shown around them... (apparently people donít even believe I'm on a TV show because I'm too casual looking?!). If the criticism was true... then I guess I am thankful for letting me do what I wanted to do which is to "inspire others as an actor" and who cares about criticism?? I heard it made people stronger...

What would you like to see happen to Sunny in the future?
Haha... who knows... maybe live in Ramsay Street forever, and invite Sunny's family down to Australia. Maybe start a relationship with someone?

What do you like to do in your spare time?
MUSIC FUSION!!!!... I love my instruments (guitar, piano, keyboard, glock, percussion, drums, sax)... it's stress relieving and also singing. I love writing/composing my own songs. Dancing... hip hop and break dance is my meditation...

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Interview by Steve. Added on 13th June 2009

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