For several months, actress Kaela Hilton has been making recurring appearances as Melissa Evans, the manager of PirateNet radio station. Here she chats about her time with Neighbours and why she loves playing Mel.
Can you tell us a little about your career before Neighbours, and how you first got into acting?
I caught the acting bug as a little tacker! I searched for a youth theatre in my area and that's where it all began. The theatre became my second home growing up. I think I liked the dressing up and acting crazy part :) My family reminisce about constantly coming home to find me dressed in all sorts of costumes for no particular reason. I began auditioning for film and tv a couple of years ago and have been lucky enough to land a few commercials and guest roles on Australian series as well as 2 lead roles in Aussie Feature Films (soon to be released). Then along came Neighbours...
Do you remember how you first landed the role of Melissa?
It was quite a surprise actually. I decided to manifest a role on Neighbours, so I worked incredibly hard to make myself known and to be asked in for an audition. Success - I auditioned 3 or 4 times for various roles in a couple of months - the last one I auditioned for was a smaller one episode guest role and I was quiet disappointed when I missed out, but of course I was OVER THE MOON when they offered me an even better role of a recurring guest, Melissa Evans. So glad they thought of me when casting....I LOVE MEL EVANS...she rocks. YEAH :)
What do you remember about your first day on set? How did it feel to be working alongside such an established cast?
I felt at home from the moment I stepped on-set. Everyone made it very easy...there were a few other newbie regulars starting that week so I think that took the pressure off a little bit - and as soon as I put on the 'Mel' costume, I was set!!
How would you describe the character of Melissa? Are you anything like her?
Again... I love Mel. Her 'style' is quite different to mine in everyday life but apart from that I think a lot of our personality traits are similar. She is ambitious, strong willed, honest and stands up for what she believes in and I would hope that people see similar traits in me. Mel may seem confronting at times but deep down she is a softy. She has certainly had an interesting upbringing... all in all she just wants to live and love life the way its meant to be.
You’ve made numerous appearances throughout 2009. Would you ever be willing to join full-time if the opportunity arose?
OF COURSE - I would love to! I loved the entire experience from start to finish. I would love the opportunity to work on a more regular basis. I am open to whatever the world throws my way...
Are there any actors you particularly enjoy working with?
Can I say all of them? :) I did most of my scenes with Matt (Zeke) who is a funny dude... we always have lots of laughs. Brett (Dan) is a great guy, as well as Kym (Libby) and of course, I cannot go past Alan (Dr. Karl Kennedy)... haha he was awesome. Will (Harry) and I are old friends so was great to work with him professionally... and well... they are all great!
We’ve seen little of Melissa outside of the radio station. Would you like to see more of her personal life explored?
Yes - there is lots under the surface of Mel!! Lots of interesting storylines I'm sure they can create for her...
Which have been your favourite scenes to film so far?
One that is yet to air in the UK - so you will have to keep an eye out. Oh and the scenes with Dr. Karl - he is so funny! I am very lucky - the PirateNet radio station set is brilliant with lots of little gadgets and toys to play with - this of course has meant for many entertaining moments with the cast AND crew - so all scenes have been brilliant.
Will you continue to make guest appearances on the show?
There certainly is more coming your way... I have just shot some juicy moments which will air in 2010.
Have you ever been a viewer of the series yourself?
Neighbours, Everybody needs good neighbours. With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend. Neighbours... should be there for one another... haha hmm does that give it away? Of course, it's in my backyard... I'm a Melbournian. It's great!
What are your hopes for your career in the future?
Ultimately I want to inspire people to go after their dreams and live the life they deserve... I want to make people smile & laugh throughout the world. I will continue to work hard as an actor for the rest of my life... no matter where it takes me. I have lived partly in Canada over the last 12 months so next year we will see what opportunities arise over there... but i'll always come back for Neighbours if required :)
With Neighbours about to begin its twenty-fifth anniversary year, why do you think the show has lasted so long?
It has the Perfect Blend of course... ( corny :) )
Interview by Steve. Added on 14th November 2009