From Ramsey Street to Holby City: We Chat With Soapie Starlet, Australia’s Natasha Leigh

| 30 November , 2012 | Reply

You would have seen her on screen in Overture, Underbelly, Bogan Pride or even as Carla Turner on Neighbours, though you might not be familiar with the name. But that is soon to change, because Natasha Leigh is one of Australia’s next rising stars.

The darling from down under has made it big in the UK; staring as Dr Lilah Birdwood on iconic medical drama Holby City. Natasha sat down to talk to us about her new role (and on set hijinks), walking the red carpet, and some tattoo’s you just might not know about.

She’s a long way from Ramsey Street but don’t think that is going to phase this soapie starlet.

Paige: We hear so many stories of Aussies heading to the UK to make it big, and struggling to get their break. How did you do it?

Natasha: It is true about the difficulty of this industry. My first acting teacher told me this: “Great actors have four things; heart like a dove, skin like a rhino, mind like a professor, spirit like a child.” I think all these qualities are essential to carry on the journey.  It’s a very ‘rollercoaster’ journey and although it’s been hard at times I’ve been very blessed to have so much work. I have a long way to go and I’m so excited about the future.

Paige: You were coming onto the Australian radar when you scored the gig on Holby City, how did it come about?  What was the audition process like? 

Natasha: It was so surreal how it all happened. I was in LA and I taped my audition in my friend’s kitchen. [I] came back to Australia and put down a couple more scenes with my parents acting opposite me! Then [I] did an interview with the producers on Skype! An hour later I got the role and two weeks later I was here in the UK!

Paige: Holby City has an iconic status in the UK (the show just started its 15th season). Did the idea of joining such a renowned show scare or excite you?

Natasha: A bit of both really! It was obviously very exciting to land such an amazing role on such a massive show… though a part of me was freaking out about the fact that now I have to ‘back it up’ But I am happy with what I did, I really worked hard in London.

Paige: You have worked alongside some big names in Australia, but was there anyone you were nervous to meet at Holby City? We’re talking soapie royalty here! 

Natasha: I don’t really get nervous around celebs; I think that when it comes down to it, everyone is just another person I can get to know. With Holby, it was like a family! I made so many great friends and had such an awesome time!

Paige: Do you have any funny stories you can share from the set?

Natasha: When we are running rehearsals in surgery, we have a dummy patient lying on the table. One of the other cast members kept smacking in on the forehead saying ‘wake up, wake up’ as a joke…. and it was, until the take and the real actor came on the table and got a ‘whack’ in the face.

Paige: How are you at remembering all the medical terminology?

Natasha: Learning dialogue for me is easy, but this is totally different.  Its not ‘person to person’ chat a lot of the time; its lists, lists, lists which I found difficult to remember sometimes.  Also, with my Aussie accent, I really had to articulate my words for the UK audiences to understand me.

Paige: In Holby City, your character is Dr Lilah Birdwood. Can you tell us a bit about her, and what we should expect?

Natasha: Lilah is a hugely talented student who is in the UK on a scholarship, having clawed her way up from an underprivileged background. She is determined to be a success in her new position, well aware that she’ll lose her sponsorship and have to go back to Australia if things don’t turn out well. With failure not an option for Lilah, her storyline explores just how far she will go to prove herself. She was such an awesome character to play, lots of fun!

Paige: You’ve already made quite the impression at the Inside Soap Awards: picking up a few best dressed titles! What was it like to walk the red carpet and mingle with some big names? 

Natasha: Like most women, ‘playing dress ups’ was one of my favourite things to do as a girl. So doing it for real is so much fun. I love having my picture taken and mingling around though I don’t think I could do it every day as its draining. But every once in a while is fantastic!

Paige: How do you pick your red carpet look? Do you have a stylist that you work with?

Natasha: I do have a stylist – Sophie Sax from Fashionizer TV. She is amazing and I realised there is so much more to it all than just slipping on a dress & jewellery.

Paige: What do you miss the most about Australia while you are away? What do you love about the UK?

Natasha: I miss the Aussie heat when I’m away! The UK just doesn’t get the sun like we do, though I do love London. It’s so beautiful and chic with its history and funky bars… I always feel at home there.

Paige: What’s your highlight so far in your career?  Are there any dream actors or directors you would love to work with?

Natasha: Holby is definitely the most exciting thing I’ve done so far, though Underbelly was amazing too! I would love to work with Jack Nicholson! He is always so ‘alive’ on screen, I respect him a lot and I’m sure he would be so much fun!

Paige: What’s next for you that we can look forward to?

Natasha: I will definitely head back over to London next year, but most likely go via Los Angeles again for pilot season. So lots of fun times ahead!

Paige: Can you tell us something that we don’t know about Natasha Leigh?

Natasha: I’m a pretty open person, so not sure what hasn’t been told….  I have tattoos all the way down my spine! I love them. They honour times in my life and add personality and beauty to my canvas.

Sadly we have to wait for a while before we see Natasha in Holby City screen in Australia, but fingers crossed she gets picked up for a US pilot and we’ll be sure to see her sooner!


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