Home and Away fans aren’t happy with Heather Fraser, played by Sofia Nolan, and her storyline is heating up this week.
Heather is Marilyn Chambers' (Emily Symons) illegitimate daughter, who Marilyn adopted out against her will years ago.
The feisty blonde is taking revenge on Marilyn this week by hosting an elaborate high tea with a twist.
Luring Marilyn, Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher), Leah Patterson (Ada Nicodemou), Roo Stewart (Georgie Parker) and Irene Roberts (Lynne McGranger) to a country location, Heather is prepared to make her mother pay for abandoning her.
Sofia chatted to Yahoo Lifestyle about her experience in Summer Bay, and is quick to add that she doesn’t think Heather is strictly ‘a villain’.
“I often think the villain is the best character, and I think every story needs a villain,” she explains. “But at the same time, in my opinion, maybe not the viewers’ [opinion], but Heather is not the villain.
“I think she is a victim of her own dismay,” she says, before adding that Heather’s actions ‘come from a place of misguided love’.
“This is a grand statement. It’s a call of desperation on her part,” she says about Heather’s ‘evil’ High Tea plan. “Humans can lose control and lead with emotion. And leading with emotion obviously leads to doing really, really silly things.”
The actress says that Heather feels like she’s ‘not heard’ and ‘not cared about’ by her birth mother, and warns viewers to ‘buckle up’.
‘They hate her’
Sofia’s family are long-time Home and Away fans, with her nanny Gail even considering herself a ‘super fan’.
While they watch the show every night, her family aren’t completely on board with Sofia’s character.
“They love her and hate her which is kind of exactly what we wanted. Everybody in my family feels a little bit bad for hating Heather,” she laughs.
“At the same time I’m like okay, well that’s fine, I think I did the script justice then if everybody’s really disliking her.”
Over the past few weeks, Summer Bay fans have flooded social media with hundreds of comments about how much they want Heather gone.
The Newcastle-based actress says she doesn’t take anything personally and she was told about the soap’s ‘cult following’ before her storyline went to air.
“Everybody warned me and they were like, ‘You’re probably gonna get a lot of rude messages, people are really gonna hate her’,” she remembers.
However, the actress says she was surprised at how ‘protective’ the fan base are of Marilyn, who was first introduced to Summer Bay in 1989.
“The fact that I was hurting their Maz was really, really upsetting for them. Every now and again, I’ll look at the comments and I’m like, ‘Ooh, goodness gracious, they really don’t like [Heather]’,” she admits.
‘Shaking in my boots’
The young star says she was ‘nervous’ to meet the long-term cast members, and remembers ‘shaking in her boots’ before the first day.
In a full circle moment, she reveals that she had a photo with Ray Meagher from when she was a child, and had even seen his wax figure at Madame Tussauds.
The star also grew up watching Georgie Parker on Play School, and was a fan of Emily Symons.
“I spent a lot of time with Georgie and Emily [on set], and they were both such guiding lights for me throughout this whole experience. They’re both beautiful women inside and out. I was very lucky, in good hands there,” she gushes.
The hardest part about playing such an unlikeable character were the situations she found herself in with the Aussie icons.
“I had no idea what the story was, all I knew that this was Marilyn’s long lost daughter and I thought, ‘that’s amazing!’,” she says.
“I think the hardest part honestly was being really mean to Emily, Georgie, Ray and to everybody who attends this whole [High Tea] situation.”
Both Emily and Ada have echoed their support for Sofia in their past interviews with Yahoo Lifestyle.
After Heather and Leah clashed onscreen, Ada said that she had fun filming their storyline.
“I loved working with Sofia, she is such a great actress, loves what she does and is very good. Her threatening scenes with Leah were very chilling. She’s scary,” Ada said.
Emily also described Sofia as ‘a delight’, adding that the star is ‘a great little actor’.
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