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Shortland Street

Weeknights at 7pm | TV2

Get to know: Michelle Blundell

Michelle Blundell plays Hayley in Shortland Street on TV2

Phoenix (Geordie Holibar) with Hayley (Michelle Blundell) - Shortland Street on TV2

Michelle Blundell plays Hayley, Phoenix's attractive new tutor who's ruffling feathers in the Warner household.

How did you get your role on Shortland Street?

I auditioned for the part in November last year.

How long have you been acting and how did you get your first big break?

I've always loved performing and have wanted to be an actress for as long as I can remember. In my Standard Four production I played a dancing black panther with no lines and I was desperate to get a speaking part one day.

I studied Acting at Unitec's School of Performing and Screen Arts. I pretty much consider every role I've had a break of sorts. My first breakthrough into the Auckland theatre scene was in 2007, when I was selected to be part of the Silo Theatre's Ensemble Project straight out of drama school. That was a dream come true for me as I had always wanted to work with the Silo.

Name three similarities between you and your on-screen character.

Well I think we are quite different, but we're both 5ft 1, afraid of scary movies and love black eyeliner.

What has been your best experience/scene on the show to date?

I think learning to work quickly in such a fast-turnaround environment has been a great experience for me. It's so different to being onstage and I hope to get better at screen acting because I'd love to do more of it.

Which other character would you like to be and why?

Vinnie. He's got such a big heart, a sweet, romantic side, and has a lot of fun. If time travel is an option, I'd say Kirsty Knight - she had some great story lines and a good long run on the show.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of Shortland Street?

Watching movies, reading, catching up with friends and family, going to gigs, theatre, yoga, walking, road-trips, cooking, picnics, trawling markets. I love exploring new places and am hatching my next overseas travel plan.

What do you do in your down time during the day when you're not shooting?

Lately I've been doing a lot of line-learning! Otherwise reading, walking, cooking, catching up with friends, watching movies... that sort of thing.

What is your favourite destination in NZ and overseas?

Auckland's West Coast beaches Bethalls and Karekare. Overseas, I'd say Japan.

How many brothers and sisters do you have, are they older or younger?

I have an older brother who is living in London.

What is your date of birth and what star sign are you?

19th of January, I'm a Capricorn.

Do you have any pets?

I had a cat called Josh who recently passed away - RIP little guy.

Who is the actor or actress that you look up to or admire the most?

Oh man that is a tough question! There are so many actors and actresses that inspire me. But hands down, Naomi Watts is my favourite actress, I think her work is extraordinary. She is talented, intelligent, brave and versatile. I admire her perseverance within the American industry, despite her struggle to gain significant roles before cracking it with Mulholland Drive. I also love Natalie Portman, Audrey Hepburn, Kate Winslet, Julianne Moore, Rose Byrne, Helen Mirren and Leonardo DiCaprio.

What is the thing you enjoy most about going to work everyday?

Getting paid to do my most favourite thing all day is AMAZING. It's been an incredible opportunity to learn new skills and develop as an actor.

What has been your favorite scene to film in your time at Shortland Street?

Ha well there's a great scene coming up soon which was pretty nuts! I have to say ALL of the scenes really. Playing a character like Hayley is a lot of fun - she is someone I can really sink my teeth into. She does a lot of inappropriate things and is a real chameleon, changing tactic depending on the situation. It's been quite liberating and delicious playing a character like her.

Do you watch Shortland Street at home? If yes, is it strange seeing yourself on television or are you used to it?

I watched a bit of Shortland Street online to bring myself up to date with the show before I started. I have been watching the footage we've shot so far, and it's so useful for me to see what's working and not working, and make adjustments to my performance.

What is your favourite food?

I'm a real sucker for sweet things... chocolate brownies, neenish tarts, carrot cake, dark chocolate, macarons, croissants, cheesecake...

What is your favourite television programme and/or film of all time?

I love Peepshow, it always cracks me up. I'm also into QI and Gossip Girl. Favourite film? Er, I can't choose just one. My top five are Edward Scissorhands, Amelie, The Wrestler, All About Eve and Drop Dead Fred.

Are you from Auckland or did you move here to film Shortland Street? Where did you grow up?

I'm from Auckland and have grown up here.

Which other actors/actresses do you like working with the most and why?

I've really enjoyed working with Angela Bloomfield and Michael Galvin, they are so professional and generous.

Have you made any good friends amongst the cast and crew?

Yes, for sure. Everyone is super friendly. I've worked with a number of the actors in shows before, and some of the production team on previous projects. I actually went to drama school with my good friend Rachael Blampied who plays Bree Hamilton.

What's the best experience you've had with a fan/fans?

Well I'm not so sure Hayley will garner many fans... know what I'm saying...

Can you remember your first day on Shortland Street - what was it like?

It was on location at Milford Beach, it was fantastic - everyone was so welcoming and warm.

Catch Michelle as Hayley in Shortland Street, weeknights at 7pm