It was 20 years ago when one of Home & Away's most controversial and confronting storylines played out involving teen characters Dani Sutherland and Kane Phillips.
Dani, played by Summer Bay newcomer Tammin Sursok, was sexually assaulted by Kane (Sam Atwell) in a storyline that no doubt stayed with fans of the long-running soap long after the credits rolled.
'Cut the entire thing'
Two decades on, Tammin, 37, tells Yahoo Lifestyle in an exclusive chat that she has mixed feelings about filming those scenes — some of which didn't even make it on-air.
"That was the first time as a 16 or 17-year-old that I really got to play as an actor," she recalls.
"I really got to go there, to delve deep. I really got to be in a place where, as an actor, I didn't know what was going to happen and it was amazing, it was thrilling."
Despite putting her heart and soul into her performance, to her surprise it ended up being scrapped by the show's producers.
"I went as intense as I could go [...] I was trying to give the situation some gravitas and truth. But they cut the entire thing and made me reshoot it. It wasn't allowed to be as intense.
"So it was hard for me as a 17-year-old because I just wanted to be able to portray situations as deep as they were, as authentic as they were."
Nevertheless, her portrayal of Dani earned Tammin a Most Popular New Female Talent Logie Award in 2001. She walked away from Home & Away a few years later with her sights set on Hollywood where she landed plum TV roles on Young and the Restless, Hannah Montana and Pretty Little Liars.
Back to the Bay
But, as Tammin tells Yahoo Lifestyle, she wouldn't say no to coming back to the Bay for nostalgia's sake.
"They [Home & Away producers] haven't asked me to come back but my fans ask me that constantly. I wouldn't be doing it for me, I'd be doing it for them. [And] also as a way to thank the show because it gave me everything.
"It started off my entire career and the reason I am able to work in this business is because of Home & Away and that's why I don't understand when people turn their backs on their roots, it's like, you get an opportunity that changes your life and you should be forever grateful for that opportunity."
Sadly for fans, a full-time return to the Channel 7 staple is off the cards as Tammin is largely based in LA where she lives with her American husband, Sean McEwen, and their two daughters Phoenix, 8, and Lennon, 2.
She did, however, manage to make it home to Australia in June for a stacked work schedule including a starring role in the rom-com You, Me and the Penguins, which recently wrapped filming in Queensland.
"The fact that I got to have that opportunity was amazing because, with the COVID pandemic and having my second child, it's been a minute since I've been on set.
"It really gave me a big injection of just feeling like, this is what I'm meant to be doing. It felt great, for sure."
And what about those sneaky rumours about Tammin suiting up for a stint on Channel 10's smash-hit, The Masked Singer? She's certainly in the right place at the right time...
"I think there was an opportunity at some point," she says cautiously. "I'm not exactly sure where we are with that."
Tammin on top
Next up Tammin will be in Sydney shooting a 10-part TV series, The Good Hustle about five ambitious female publicists juggling the demands of life, love, family and career in a cut-throat industry.
"We're really going to delve into the lives of all these women who are professionals trying to succeed, and it isn't always easy and you do have to make sacrifices," she explains.
The constant pressure on women, and mothers in particular, to do it all and with a smile is something Tammin tackles in her refreshingly candid podcast, Women On Top, with co-host Roxy Manning.
"I've always been very vocal about, you know, stopping the — excuse my French — the bullsh*t. Everyone has a struggle that they're fighting, everyone has a beast that they're trying to figure out.
"We talk about periods, we talk about sex, we talk about miscarriages, mental health, we talk about relationships, we talk about all of it. I was so worried to actually talk and just be open but I realised that so many people are suffering or want information about certain things and they're just too scared to ask for it."
For sexual assault and family and domestic violence support, you can call 1800respect on 1800 737 732.
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