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Interviews > Eliza Szonert

Back in 1993, Ramsay Street had a new wild child when Cheryl's daughter, Danni, ran away from boarding school. Actress Eliza Szonert played Danni between 1993 and 1996, reprising the role last year for the 20th anniversary celebrations. Here, Eliza shares some thoughts on her time as a neighbour...

Can you tell us a little about your career prior to joining Neighbours back in 1993?
I had only finished my Victoria Certificate of Education and I began Neighbours the following year. I had done Cinderella at the Children's Oxford Theatre. I also appeared in a television commercial for Speeds Shoes.

How did the role of Danni come about?
The role of Danni was presented to my agent and I auditioned for the part several times.

Did you enjoy playing Danni? How would you describe the character?
I loved playing Danni. She was a confident, talented, rebellious young woman.

Danni was diabetic did you have to do any research into the condition when it came up in the scripts?
I did do some research on being a diabetic and found it quite challenging to act out some of the scenes where I would pass out and collapse.

Was there anyone in the cast who you particularly enjoyed working with?
I loved working with my on-screen brother "Brett". We had lots of laughs and many "Deep & Meaningfuls"!

How did your departure in 1996 come about?
In 1996 my contract was up for renewal, however I had a strong sense that it was time to leave. I went on to study acting for two years in Los Angeles, which I found wonderful and will always remember.

You made a brief reappearance as Danni this year as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations. How did that come about?
My agent called me and asked if I would like to be part of the 20th anniversary celebrations by appearing in the "Where are they now" special. Of course I said yes!

Where and when were your anniversary scenes filmed? How did it feel to play Danni again after almost ten years?
They were filmed inside the wardrobe area of the studios. It felt exciting, yet strange to play "Danni" again. I have missed her.

Did you get a chance to watch the finished reunion episodes?
Yes, so did my children.

A big party was held around the time of the filming of the episodes did you attend?
No, unfortunately not.

Could you ever see yourself returning to the role of Danni again if the opportunity arose?
I'd love to play Danni again.

Where has your career taken you since you left the cast in 1996?
Los Angeles - studying for 2 years. Numerous acting jobs, including the feature film The Dish, television productions including The Secret Life Of Us, Stingers.

Finally, what do you think accounts for Neighbours' enduring popularity over the past 20 years?
Consistency and because its a family show, revealing everyday issues that we can all relate to.

Interview by Steve. Added on 31st March 2006