Wielding a crossbow, Courtney Miller certainly makes a memorable first impression this week as Colby’s (Tim Franklin) long-lost half-sister Bella.
But if Courtney already looks a little familiar to eagle-eyed Home and Away fans, there’s a reason for it. The actress played a brooding extra in the weeknight series many years back – and she couldn’t be more thrilled to have now landed a major role in the hugely popular show.
“I was about 15 when I was first an extra,” says Courtney. "That was really my introduction to screen acting and how a set worked.
“I was very nervous and my mum used to come with me. As soon as I got on set, I forgot how a normal person walked! But it was extremely exciting.
“My role was that of a ‘mean girl’ who was bullying one of the other characters at the time.
“I can remember seeing Emily [Symons, who plays Marilyn] and Shane [Withington, who plays John] and I was definitely a bit starstruck. At that stage, I was very new to the whole acting thing.”
Since then, the hard-working Sydney-sider has not only studied drama part-time at NIDA, but completed a science psychology degree at Macquarie University. And she is now undertaking a postgraduate diploma in rehabilitation counselling at Sydney University.
“The aim is to help people with disabilities, both physical and mental, to get back into the workforce,” she says.
“Helping people has always been a part of my life and I think that’s one of the reasons I love acting – because I get to empathise with a character. I really love playing Bella, because she is ultimately a troubled child due to her upbringing, and I wanted to bring some truth to that.”
Certainly, while acting is Courtney’s true passion, she says she will “always have a foot in the door of the psychology side of me, because I feel that is a part of me, too.”
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