There's a brand new face for the brand new 1999 season of Home and Away, and that face belongs to Antoinette Byron, one of Australia's most versatile and hardworking actors. Antoinette steps into the role of Natalie Nash, who was previously played by Angelica La Bozzetta. Angelica decided to leave the show at the end of 1998 to spend more time with her baby daughter. The busy schedule of Home and Away doesn't allow a young mum much spare time!
If Antoinette looks familiar, that's probably because she's one of the busiest actresses around, and she's popped up in lots of shows you've probably seen, including Melrose Place and Baywatch and the American daytime soaps All My Children and The Bold & the Beautiful. Her Australian television credits include E-Street, Neighbours and The Henderson Kids.
Antoinette started her acting career by studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney, but her first big job was playing Janet in The Rocky Horror Show, a gig that took her around the country. We asked Antoinette if she thought NIDA gave her a good start.
'It was good but I think I learnt more by being in the industry. You really learn by doing, I think... You learn so much from people you work with in the industry and you learn how to survive on your feet and you can't really learn that from books, you have to experience that.'
As a lot of fans of Home and Away often want to know how to break into acting, we asked Antoinette for her advice. So all you aspiring thespians, take note!
'Do everything, don't say no to jobs, just say yes to everything you possibly can, get as much experience as you can local community theatre, school plays, everything. At school I was always in the musicals and the plays. Some people come out of drama schools and they have attitude 'I won't do this, I won't do that' but you learn by doing and acting is doing, so you've really got to broaden your horizons and just try everything.'
Antoinette has a lot of admiration and respect for Australian actors and the local film and television industry as a whole.
'That's the good thing about Australian actors people give you the opportunity to do everything. In America you have film actors and then you have television actors, and within television actors you get asked do you do comedy or do you do drama because they like to separate everyone. Well, if you do drama, do you do soap or do you do prime time? It's very channelled. Whereas here a lot of actors sing and they dance and play instruments and they're in bands. I think it's really wonderful the way people are so adaptable here.'