They're the golden girls of Summer Bay - four beautiful young actresses who manage to stay fit and healthy despite their early starts and demanding schedules.
With the new season of Home And Away set to begin, we asked the glamorous cast members to share their diet and exercise secrets for looking good and feeling fabulous. Their answers were surprisingly simple. And with each admitting to a little indulgence here
and there, they were also refreshingly honest.
Here, Tessa James (who plays Nicole Franklin), Esther Anderson (Charlie Buckton), Ada Nicodemou (Leah Patterson-Baker) and Rebecca Breeds (Ruby Buckton) reveal that their amazing beach bodies are all down to tins of tuna, long walks, occasional treats and, most importantly, being happy with who they are.
If she wasn't so lovely, Esther Anderson, 30, is the sort of girl you'd probably envy like mad – legs up to her chin, gorgeous skin, a cracking sense of humour and she even indulges in a burger and chips each week at McDonald's!
But the former model is quick to point out that her stunning body is the result of more than just good genes.
‘My sister is a nutritionist so when I started modelling she told me how to stay trim and healthy – she said I had to eat protein at every meal to stay full and have lots of energy without getting bloated,' Esther says. ‘Now I have a protein shake with my cereal and at weekends I always have scrambled eggs or an omelette for breakfast. For lunch I take a tin of tuna and buy a salad at work. And for dinner I have salmon and vegies, or I will make myself a great tofu curry.'
Exercise-wise, Esther goes to the gym and does Pilates.
'I also love walking the Bondi to Bronte path in Sydney,' she says. ‘And I recently bought an Ab Roller after seeing it on TV – but that's still in its box!'
She may be only 22, but Rebecca Breeds has a glow that comes not just from a healthy lifestyle but also from finding peace within herself.
As an overweight teen, she came close to developing an eating disorder. She says: ‘I was 14 and I'd come home from a day of being called Fatty. I had my head over the toilet and was about to go to extreme measures. But, in a moment of divine inspiration, I realised I might be a stick figure at 18, but I saw myself hollowing out emotionally and physically if I went down that road.'
In a remarkable confession, Rebecca says she chose a healthier path after having a vision of herself with an eating disorder. She recalls: ‘I saw myself in hospital, leaning on a drip. It was like a warning, and instead I chose to be happy with who I am.'
Rebecca now walks most days, cycles, does Pilates and eats well – although she does treat herself to licorice. She says she knows a lot of girls look up to her 16-year-old Home And Away character Ruby, so she is determined
to be a good role model.
‘Insecurity is ugly,' she says. ‘I want girls to know that being confident in your own skin is what makes you attractive.'
While she loves her role on Home And Away, Tessa James admits the long hours filming the popular TV show can make it hard to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
So last year the 18-year-old from Melbourne sought advice from a nutritionist. And since then she's been able to adopt a program that has given her much more energy.
‘I learnt so much about what and how much I should be eating. I now eat regularly through the day and I even have dessert if I want,' Tessa says. ‘My problem is lollies. At the moment I'm obsessed with Werther's Original Toffees.'
To offset her sweet tooth, Tessa makes sure she walks or runs for an hour most days.
‘I used to do it three times a week, and I thought that was enough,' she says.
‘But now I fit it in before work or during my break and it's made me feel so much better.'
As for her glowing skin, Tessa puts it down to drinking lots of water and keeping things natural: ‘I wash my face with water and try not to use anything on my skin when I'm not working.'
Even when she's on holiday, Ada Nicodemou loves to exercise.
‘I'm not one of those people who goes on holiday and turns into a slob,' she says. ‘I love health retreats and fresh food and long walks on the beach.'
After 10 years on the hit show, 32-year-old Ada has worked out how to stay healthy in spite of her busy schedule. She runs and does spin and boxing classes. And while she loves the endorphin rush she gets from exercise, she also sticks to her regimen because it combats her other passion – food.
‘I'm a big eater for a little person,' says Ada, whose husband, Chrys Xipolitas, owns the restaurant Zippo's in Sydney's south.
‘I'm the girl who has containers full of food in my dressing room. I'm a snacker – I eat about six times a day.'
While tinned tuna, nuts and fruit are her usual snacks, Ada also has a penchant for tiramisu, doughnuts and ‘anything custardy'.
‘Mostly, though, I eat well,' she says. ‘I start the day with lemon in hot water, then I have a vegie juice.'
Ada also finds it easier to be disciplined in summer. She says:
‘I hibernate in winter, but in summer I look and feel better.'
By Angela Mollard
Home And Away is back on the air, on the Seven Network.