Talented young Shortland Street actor Emily Robins has been turning heads since she hit New Zealand screens as headstrong teenager Claire Solomon. In a small space of time, Claire has dabbled in sex, drugs and car theft and survived two near-death experiences. This week, Claire meets her match when she becomes a pawn in the games of villainous Robyn Stokes (Kirsty O'Sullivan).
The role has been a rollercoaster ride for 16-year-old newcomer Emily Robins, but she is enjoying playing the spoilt little rich girl. "I think it's more fun to play someone different from me. When people ask me about her and say they don't like her it's cool because she's so different. I can't take it personally. People are interested in Claire because she's so out there."
weeks of arriving in Ferndale, Emily overdosed on drugs
an argument with older brother and guardian Andrew Solomon (Paolo Rotondo). Since then, Claire has embarked on a passionate relationship with Jake Valentine (Calum Gittins), who has been put to the test handling Claire's turbulent behaviour.
Robins says she is a world away from her poor little rich girl character. "Claire doesn't have any family and she feels like no one loves her. I have a really close family. And I would never use someone to cover for me if I broke the law like Claire does with Jake. I'm not horrible or high maintenance."
Co-star Paolo Rotondo, who plays her on-screen brother, couldn't agree more. "She's the best screen sis I've ever had!" he laughs. "She couldn't be further from her character. She is incredibly sweet, but plays her part with such spirit. It is a great example for other actors."
Unlike Claire, the bright and attentive Robins has settled easily into her new environment, becoming part of the tight knit cast and crew that form Shortland Street. "I think she found it less challenging coming onto the show than I did!" says Rotondo. "She has great ability to play gags on me which I really appreciate. It is important to have fun at work in order to play such serious characters like Claire and Andrew."
On-screen, it has taken two dangerous accidents to make Claire and Andrew realise how much they care about each other. But their happiness is short lived when Claire becomes a helpless accessory to Robyn's malicious plans.
or hate her, Claire is fast becoming one of the most compelling
characters on the Street. However, there is one person who
Claire will never win over. "If Claire were a real person," laughs
Robins, "I would definitely hate her."
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