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Interviews > Anna Jennings-Edquist

Back in 2002, Tahnee Coppin was Erinsborough High's bitchiest student, causing trouble for Nina Tucker, Michelle Scully and anyone else who got in her way. Seven years later, actress Anna Jennings-Edquist is back in her second Neighbours role, as Lucas' new girlfriend, Lisa Hayes. Here, Anna chats to us about her two stints in Erinsborough...

Had you done much acting before you joined the Neighbours cast in 2002 as Tahnee?
I was lucky enough to fall into the role of Tahnee almost by accident, so I hadnít done much professional acting before then, although Iíd always loved performing in school plays and so on.

How did that role come about? Was it just a typical audition for you?
I actually didnít even have an agent at that stage, but was doing a drama class for fun which had a yearly performance. One of the performances ended up generating the audition. I auditioned on the Wednesday, was told I got the job on Thursday and started on Friday!

Tahnee was introduced in the same episode as Nina (Delta Goodrem). Did it make things easier for you, not being the only new girl?
It definitely did, especially since Delta is such a great person. It makes things a lot easier when youíve got someone lovely and funny to muck around with at a new job!

You recently returned as Lisa Hayes. How did that role compare to playing Tahnee? Did you have to audition again?
Both were really fun characters to play. Tahnee was fantastic to play because she was such a troublemaker, and was always up to devious tricks! Lisa Hayes was fun because she also caused a lot of trouble, only this time it was through being too nice and friendly! I had to audition again for the role, and I was pretty certain I wouldnít get it Ė it seems odd to be on the same show twice as two different characters!

Had things changed much at the studios in the six years between playing Tahnee and returning as Lisa?
Most of the behind the scenes people were the same, like make up and hair, which was nice because itís always good to see friendly faces. The cast had almost entirely changed though, but the routine and vibe was the same.

Was there anyone you particularly enjoyed working with during your two stints on the show?
I know it sounds corny, but everyone was great both times. The first time around, Delta was a stand out great person. The second time around I found the whole cast to be fantastic, very relaxed, friendly and fun. Most of my scenes were with Scott Major and Pipper Black, and theyíre both awesome.

What was it like to work alongside such an established cast?
Itís great in the sense that everyoneís relaxed and extremely professional, but it does mean you dive straight into the deep end. Theyíre all doing a show thatís second nature to them, so you have to pick up very quickly on how things work! It was nice to see how comfortable everyone is with each other though, theyíre just like a big cuddly family!

Would you ever consider a regular role on Neighbours if the opportunity arose?
Iím at the end of my law degree now with a view to becoming a barrister, so it would mean a big shift in focus! But at the same time itís such a great job, who would say no?

Have you ever been a Neighbours viewer yourself?
I think as an Australian you have to have watched the show at least once!

Whatís next for you?
I do have some more acting roles on the way, which Iím trying to juggle with completing uni and undertaking a judicial associateship (working with a Judge). So itís a flat out time, but an extremely enjoyable one!

With Neighbours now in its 24th year, do you have any thoughts on why the show has lasted so long?
I think people really enjoy watching a show where they can relate to the characters and their problems Ė itís like having a regular group of friends you can tune into every night to cheer their highs and sympathise with their lows Ė without having to shoulder their burdens yourself, of course. Itís a good reflection of every day Australian relationships, so its an enjoyable thing to watch.

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Interview by Steve. Added on 16th May 2009

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