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Interviews > Danielle Horvat

Three months ago, Danielle Horvat made her Neighbours debut as one half of Erinsborough High double act Jess and Taylah. With Jess now gone, Taylah is moving on with a new partner in crime, beginning a relationship with Zeke Kinski. Here, actress Danielle Horvat chats about how she won the role, and what's in store for her character...

Had you done much acting before joining Neighbours in 2007?
Yes i have done acting classes for 3 years prior to Neighbours, but it remained to be my first professional experience. :)

How did the role of Taylah come about? Was it just a typical audition for you?
I recieved a phone call from my agent to audition for the character of Taylah, but at that stage she was only meant to be there for 6 weeks, playing the side-kick of Jessica Wallace. The audition process for Taylah was similar to any other audition. I had learnt the script provided and gave it my best, being fortunate enough to audition in front of Jan Russ. In a week's time, I recieved a phone call that I was successful in getting the part of Taylah.

How would you describe Taylah?
On the surface Taylah is portrayed as that typical youthful school girl, who enjoys the company of her friends and loves to have fun. I think the significance of her character is that a lot of young girls can relate to her. However, it is slowly revealed when Taylah gives Rachel advice to be grateful for the family she has, that we learn of her abandonement from her mother and the not-so-strong relationship she has with her dad.

Has there been anyone you’ve particularly enjoyed working with during your time on the show?
Of course. Most of the scenes I had were alongside the other teenagers, particularly Matthew (Zeke) as on screen we played boyfriend and girlfriend. They've made my time on Neighbours the funniest and most enjoyable as not only could I learn from them, but I could actually relate to them. I've also been fortunate enough to work a little bit with Brendan O'Connor (Brad; Taylah's father) as well as Alan Fletcher (Karl Kennedy).

What is it like to work alongside such an established cast?
At first it was breath-taking just being in the same room as them! But once you've been there for a couple of weeks you feel almost a part of the family. I think that the standard of actors that are cast in Neighbours is what makes the show so successful, and I've learnt so much just from watching them.

Which of Taylah’s stories did you most enjoy filming and why?
Honestly, I would have to say some of my upcoming scenes, which I can't give to much away about. They tend to give Taylah much more depth. Also, by this stage I felt quite familiarised by her character and therefore I was able to handle the intensity of them.

Did you have any input into Taylah’s ‘look’ or personality or was it all down to the writers and wardrobe?
The writers and wardrobe created the dimensions of Taylah, and had initially planned out her input towards the teen scenes. They gave me 2-dimensions of Taylah, but the responsibility was left up to me to make that 3rd dimension in which she comes to life.

Have you ever been a Neighbours viewer yourself?
Actually Neighbours has always been a show that is on the TV in our house. I used to watch it all the time when i was younger.

With Taylah appearing on a recurring basis, has there been any discussion about making her into a more permanent character? Are you still filming at the moment?
No, I'm not filming at the moment, but with the way that the stories were unfolded, there is always a possibility for Taylah in the future.

What do you do in your time away from Neighbours? Do you find time for other acting roles?
I have just finished filming a pilot episode of a sitcom, which includes a great cast and was actually quite funny during production. I have also recently auditioned for a couple of established TV shows, which look exciting. Fingers crossed!

Finally, after more than 23 years, what do you think is the secret to Neighbours’ enduring success?
I think that its storylines try to be as real and believable as possible, and aren't overly exaggerated. Also, as I mentioned before, a lot of credit must go to the actual cast in the past and present, which make it what it is.

Interview by Steve. Added on 19th April 2008