> Guest Character
Lana Crawford Bridget Neval
Lana Crawford 2004-2005
Parents: Joan Crawford
Occupation: Student, Coffee Shop Assistant, Cartoon Writer
The less-dippy cousin of Sindi and Penny Watts, Lana was born in Australia, but her family emigrated to Ottawa, Canada when she was four. They returned to live in Australia several years later, and Lana started attending Wattle Heights High School, where she found herself struggling to fit in. The other girls nicknamed her ‘Loner Lana’ and beat her up before dumping her in the school toilets. This incident led to her changing schools. At the same time she started at Erinsborough High, Lana also got a new job waitressing at the Coffee Shop. She immediately struck up a friendship with Serena Bishop, who had also just started working there, as the two gossiped about boys and clothes. During her first shift, Lana was convinced that she’d seen Serena somewhere before, and it suddenly dawned on her that it had been in photos at Chris Cousens’ workshop. Lana admitted to Serena that she had also been taken in by Chris and she still hadn’t gotten over it.
Although Lana managed to forge a strong friendship with Serena, things were very different with Serena’s cousin, Sky. Sky saw Lana as just another typical blonde girl with no interests other than boys and make-up. The two soon began sniping at each other, especially as Lana made an effort to fit in by insulting the school janitor, who happened to be Lou Carpenter on community service. Sky was unimpressed with this and things only got worse when Lana started talking about a guy who’d been flirting with her in the Coffee Shop that morning – and it turned out to be Sky’s boyfriend Boyd. The tension grew between the two girls, to the point where they had a fight on the netball court during a game, and Susan Kennedy had to break them up. She put them on detention – painting the scenery for the school play. At first, the girls continued to bicker, and ended up painting the set the wrong colour. Susan warned them that they’d have to make an effort if they were to work together, and soon the two girls began to trust each other a little, as Sky covered for Lana walking out, and Lana took the blame for the paint mix-up.
When Lana stayed over at number 24 for a sleep-over with Serena, Sky managed to get in on the action, sitting by them and insulting their choice of a typical Hollywood film to watch. However, she was extremely surprised when Lana admitted to enjoying the black and white movies that Sky was so fond of. As Serena fell asleep, Sky and Lana bonded over a shared appreciation of Marilyn Monroe after watching Some Like It Hot. That night, as Sky fell asleep, Lana brushed the hair out of her eyes and watched her. The following day, the girls continued to bond as they painted the sets, and Sky realised that Lana had plenty of hidden depths. However, when she mentioned this, Lana got upset and said that she wasn’t hiding anything. Sky wasn’t convinced, and phoned an old friend, Kiara, from Grease Monkeys, who had attended Wattle Heights High with Lana. It was then that Sky found out about the bullying that had caused Lana to change schools, and she began to wonder exactly what was going on inside Lana’s head…
During another sleepover, with just Sky and Lana this time, a playful fight over the remote control ended with Lana suddenly kissing Sky. She ran out of the house, believing that she had ruined the friendship, and headed to the Coffee Shop, where her cousin Sindi found her. Lana finally found the courage to reveal to Sindi that she was gay. She explained that she had told her best friend at her last school and that incident had led to the whole school finding out and her being beaten up. She admitted that she didn’t want to lose Sky as a friend, and decided to pass it all off as a joke. Sky, meanwhile, had told Boyd about what had happened, and before long, most of the school knew, thanks to it being scrawled on a blackboard. Lana roped in Boyd and Sky and attempted to convince everyone that it was just a rumour, and started seeing Brendan Bond. Sky was unhappy about her friend covering up her true identity, but felt guilty about Lana’s secret being spread around the school, so went along with it. However, when she found out that Lana was planning to sleep with Brendan, during a party at his house, she decided that she had to do something. Lana was horrified to see Sky appear at the party, and told her to get lost. However, minutes later, Lana revealed to Brendan that she couldn’t sleep with him, as she preferred girls, and ran out of the house.
With confirmation to the rumours, Lana found herself the target of both positive and negative feedback around the school. Although she received anonymous notes in her locker praising her for being so brave, she also found herself being targeted by a group of girls in the locker room, threatening to cut her hair off. Things calmed down slightly as the Susan and Libby heard what was going on, and decided to get the school involved in a campaign about tolerance. Meanwhile, Sky and Lana had been drawing a cartoon strip – The Enigma and Freak Girl – and found interest from underground gay magazine, Leichen. Magazine editor, Buffy Only, visited them to find out more. She immediately mistook Lana and Sky for a couple. Lana managed to call her later to put her straight, and even found herself asked out on a date. But as things improved in Lana’s personal life, things at school became awkward as many of the parents began to protest about the new tolerance classes. After one date, Lana wasn’t convinced that Buffy would want to see her again, but was still unhappy when Sky answered her phone and turned Buffy down for a date that night. However, Lana then began to wonder if perhaps Sky was developing feelings for her and, after another night out with Buffy, who told her to find someone who made her truly happy, she was convinced.
With their friendship seemingly repaired, Sky and Lana found a new way to rebel. One night, they planted lavender plants in the gravel outside Lassiter’s reception. They camped out that night in order to see everyone’s reactions, and Sky was thrilled when she woke the next morning to see security staff looking confused. In the excitement on the moment, Sky kissed Lana. Lana was delighted by this development, believing that Sky had finally shown her true feelings. Sky, however, had realised, after the kiss, that she felt nothing more than friendship for Lana. When they met at school later that day, Lana was all ready to reveal their feelings for each other to Boyd, but Sky was forced to stop her and explain the truth. Lana was horrified and ran off, accusing Sky of using her and telling her that their friendship was finished. Boyd ended up finding out about it as well, when Harold let it slip, and before long, Sky had lost her boyfriend and her best friend.
Lana avoided Sky for several days, but when she found out from Serena that Sky was thinking about returning home to Western Australia, it made her think. She went to Ramsay Street and patched things up with Sky, using the characters from their cartoon to do the talking for her. As they hugged, Boyd saw them, only making the situation between him and Sky even worse. In the weeks that followed, Lana provided a shoulder to cry on for Sky, and even acted as go-between in a bid to get them back together. When the end-of-year formal came around, Lana decided not to go, as she didn’t want to be the token lesbian, standing around on her own. The rest of the gang managed to convince her, and she was intrigued, but confused, when she received a hand-written note asking her to the formal, from someone named George. It wasn’t until halfway through the formal that George – Georgina - introduced herself. She and Lana got close and spent the rest of the night together.
As Christmas arrived in Erinsborough, Lana was dragged into an act of rebellion by Stingray – spray-painting the word ‘peace’ all over Ramsay Street. The gang then managed to organise a farewell party for Lana at number 24. Sky seemed in a terrible, snappy mood about losing her best friend, and it looked like Lana might not even turn up, after they argued. However, as the party got started, Lana arrived with George. Sky made a speech about how much she was going to miss Lana, who had taught her so much about being brave and honest. Lana then said a final farewell to George and the gang headed down to Grease Monkeys, where Sky had an idea for Lana’s final farewell. At the community hall, which was housing a temporary pub/Coffee Shop following recent fires, Sky and Lana painted a mural of an Australian girl and a Canadian girl, holding a peace sign over the portrait of the Queen. They suspected that the adults would go nuts, but were in for a surprise when Susan and Max saw it, and spoke of what a wonderful representation of feminist views it was. The time then came for Lana to say goodbye, as her taxi arrive to take her home. She told Serena that she would find someone to make her happy one day, and received a pen from Sky, with which she was told to write her first novel. The gang then watched as Lana left, having changed all of their lives forever.
Episode 4634: Lana's
read our interview with Bridget Neval, click here
Biography by Steve