Surprising reason Home and Away star almost wasn't cast: 'Suffering'

Home and Away newcomer Stephanie Panozzo has made a splash as Eden Fowler on the long-running soap, but she almost missed out on the role.

Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle, the actress revealed that she tested positive for Covid the day before she was meant to fly to Sydney for her callback.

L: Lynne McGranger, Shane Withington, Stephanie Panozzo and Nicholas Cartwright on the set of Home and Away. R: Stephanie Panozzo hugs Nicholas Cartwright
Home and Away star Stephanie Panozzo has made a surprising admission. Photo: Instagram/lynnemcgranger & Seven

“A couple of days prior I was starting to get a little bit of a niggle in my throat,” she explains. “I tested on the day before the audition and I tested positive to Covid.

“I had to do it over Zoom, and I was currently suffering symptoms of Covid at the time, so I thought I wasn’t going to get it,” she admits.

The star wasn’t able to meet her fellow bandmates during the missed audition, but she tells us that luckily there was instant chemistry.


When remembering the moment she found out she’d booked the role, Stephanie gets visibly excited.

“I was trying to heal from Covid and basically feeling sorry for myself because I thought I didn’t get it. And I got the call, was so shocked, so excited. I just kind of started screaming on the phone with my agents,” she remembers.

“I think my sister came over and we just started dancing…it was a great moment.”

Stephanie Panozzo as her character Eden Fowler playing the bass guitar
The star loves jamming with her bandmates. Photo: Seven

‘Both my passions’

When she saw that Summer Bay was looking for band members, she jumped at the chance to audition.

“I was thrilled that there was music involved as well. It’s very, very exciting to be able to do both music and acting. Exploring both of my passions essentially through Eden, it’s a really great opportunity,” she gushes.

Saying that the bandmates all became instant friends, her eyes light up when discussing the band Lyrik.

“Having Matt [Evans] on as our lead singer, it’s just been such an incredible process to work with those guys. The chemistry between us all is awesome, and they’re just really great humans,” she tells us.

While Stephanie actually auditioned for both Kirby and Eden, she believes that the final casting decision was perfect.

She doesn’t think that she’s similar to her character, but loves playing the ‘sassy, fun and crazy’ character.

Stephanie Panozzo and Adam Rowland on the set of Home and Away
The star hints she will have a storyline with Cash Newman in the future. Photo: Seven

‘I was quite nervous’

The actress recalls her first day on set, and says that she was overwhelmed before filming started.

“I was quite nervous to begin with…[but] as soon as we started filming it was just a ball, and it was so much fun.

“Everyone was so welcoming…it was just great,” she says.

Although the band has to put in lots of work, with rehearsals and recording songs before every filmed performance, the star wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We rehearse all of the songs that we perform. Its kind of a lot of jamming, and enjoying the musical side of things as well, which is awesome,” Stephanie explains.

When asked if she can share anything about her character’s relationship with Cash Newman (Nicholas Cartwright), she laughs and says that viewers will just have to tune in.

“There is something in [their] past,” she spills. “It’s been so great working with Nick and the rest of the team.”

“I’m excited for audiences to see what’s coming up,” she teases.

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