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Xanthe’s here!

Get an insight into the newest member of the Canning family in this exclusive interview with Lilly Van Der Meer.

How are you feeling taking to Ramsay St as Xanthe Canning?

Amazing, she’s such a cool character and she’s so different to me so I’m excited for people to see what I’ve been up to the last couple of months. She’s going to bring some fun to the street, it’s going to be good!

Have you always wanted to pursue acting as a career?

Yes I’ve been doing speech and drama since I was 5 years old, I love it. I enter 9 different categories every year which has really helped with my articulation. It has helped increased my awareness on stage, there’s nothing better than having to remember lines in front of people. I think it’s always great to get nervous as well because if you don’t get nervous then it’s not exciting or fun anymore. Because of having that on stage presence all the time, I’ve discovered how to channel my nerves in a different way. I’d love to take acting further after Neighbours and see how it goes!

Who has been your inspiration when learning to act?

Shia Labeouf 100% is my favourite actor. I am quite a fan of his work and people often ask me, “When did you first start liking Shia?”. It wasn’t in Transformers or Even Stevens, I fell in love with his acting when I watched Disturbia at the age of 9 (without my mother knowing!). Ever since then I’ve seen all of his movies, I just love how in the moment he is, he’s so real, I can always watch him and see that he’s so present. I hope my acting will one day be like his! He’s definitely my inspiration for acting, I watch his interviews and think, that’s what I want to be like and that’s my inspiration to keep going. I’d love to work with him one day!

How do you think Xanthe feels meeting Sheila, Kyle and Bossy for the first time?

She has no idea who they are so to find out is very confronting. Xanthe just has absolutely no idea where she is and what she’s doing. To not be told that you have family that you could have potentially been close to is really hard to find out. I think she goes through a phase of abandonment where she’s not sure who these people are and how she feels about them. It takes her a while to get used to now having a family after being alone for 15 years.

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How have you found working with Colette Mann and Chris Milligan?

My very first scene was with Chris and I cannot even explain how amazing and helpful he was, I was very nervous and he was just lovely. He plays my on screen brother but it feels to me like he is my brother off screen too. Colette and I are best buds, we chat and laugh. We can have those great intense, emotional scenes as a family and then we can also have a nutty, funny scene and it’s so much fun to have that dynamic. To have such a bond off screen is so special and I’m thankful to be working with them. 

What are the 3 best things about Xanthe’s character? 

1. Her bubbly personality is fun to play with. She’s so bouncy and in your face the whole time, it’s great. 2. Her heels, they might not be practical or easy to walk in, but the heels just make her character! Every time I put on the heels it’s like ‘Xanthe’s back!’. 3. The things she gets up to makes playing her very fun. 

How do you deal with nerves before heading onto set? 

I exercise prior to my scene especially as we have such early mornings so I like to stay active beforehand. Right before heading onto set I have all different playlists of music, for example if it’s an emotional scene I’ll have a playlist of emotional songs. All the playlists are different and they get that energy going, so that’s a big part of how I prepare. It’s always nerve wracking if I haven’t met a cast member, if it’s a new scene or if Xanthe’s doing something crazy but I like being in the moment so there’s no point in worrying about nerves. I remind myself to breathe and everything’s fine. 

Can you give us any clues as to what’s in store for Xanthe? 

She arrives with no friends but soon makes a good friend. She also finds cool things to do in Erinsborough and gets herself into trouble, excitement, and mischief. You’ll have to keep watching to see what’s in store!

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