They say all good things must come to an end. And that is certainly the case for 25-year-old Raechelle Banno, whose three-year stint on Home And Away as Olivia reaches its conclusion.
For Raechelle, who joined the hit series as a relative unknown, the role presented her with the opportunity of a lifetime.
‘To be able to be thrust into 46 weeks [of filming] a year – all day, every day – it was just the education I’d always dreamed of,’ she says.
Not surprisingly, when the director called ‘action’ on Raechelle’s final scene, which sees her character farewell the Bay to take up an exciting work opportunity in Melbourne, the star struggled to keep her feelings in check.
‘It was a really emotional journey for me, but a positive one to be able to send off Olivia in such an independent way', Raechelle says. ‘It was a tough day, because you want to do the right thing by the scene, but you’re also feeling quite indulgent yourself.
‘It was a very emotional last couple of weeks but, all in all, I’m very proud of how it all came together.’
Over the past three years, Raechelle has worked particularly closely with the show’s longest-serving female cast member Lynne McGranger, who plays town battler Irene.
‘When they say that Lynne is one of the legends of Home And Away, it’s not an overstatement,’ says Raechelle. ‘We had a really nice little moment where they called “cut”. We walked off the set and she gave me a really big hug. That meant a lot to me.’
Will Raechelle stay in touch with her former co-stars?
‘Oh yes, absolutely – I already have been,’ she reveals. ‘That’s not something I could walk away from. They’re a part of my family.’
There’s one thing, however, that Raechelle won’t miss.
‘I’m not actually that much of a beach gal and doing beach scenes in winter probably isn’t my favourite thing to do,’ she admits, adding with a laugh: ‘Especially at very early times in the morning when no-one should be in the water! That’s when the real acting skills kick in.’
Since stepping out of Olivia’s shoes, Raechelle has been anything but idle. She’s starred in the acclaimed short film Second Best, alongside none other than her identical twin sister Karina – who herself happens to be a talented actor.
‘I’ve also started working on a really exciting project that I can’t quite comment on just yet,’ she says.
As for the possibility that Raechelle could one day return to the Bay, she’s certainly not ruling out the opportunity.
‘That’s a nice little thing when you’ve left an open door,’ she reflects. ‘Along Olivia’s journey, she was always – and beautifully so – in a relationship, but a tumultuous one from time to time.
‘So it’s a really positive message to send out. She now goes off on her way, but she can always come back to her Summer Bay family.’
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