Lifestyle

I played Phoebe Tonkin’s little sister

She got her break as a bratty kid on H2O: Just Add Water, but now Cleo Massey, 19, is all grown up and headed for LA.

She got her break as a bratty kid on H2O: Just Add Water, but now Cleo Massey, 19, is all grown up and headed for LA.

My mum is an actress and also teaches acting classes, so I went along to those when I was growing up. I started learning scripts from a young age, which I think is why I learn them really easily now. I’ll read through the whole thing once, then break it down into sections and say each line three times over in my head. Then I know it!

My first big role was onH2O: Just Add Water. I was 11 and played Kim who was a complete brat, which was really fun. My character was the little sister to Cleo, who was played by Phoebe Tonkin. It was like she was my big sister in real life and we had a lot of fun together, fooling around on set. She was a bit older than me, I think she was around 16 or 17 at the time, so she’d help me with things like learning my lines or doing my homework. I definitely looked up to her, as well as Cariba Heine who played Rikki, Claire Holt who played Emma and Angus McLaren who played Lewis.

While it’s really fun being on a TV show like that, it’s also a lot of hard work. I’d get up at about 4.30 in the morning and my dad would drive me to the studios. I’d be in hair and make-up for about half an hour, then get my fist costume for the day. After that, we’d start filming, with loads of costume changes and different scenes, and finish at around 4.30 in the afternoon.

There’d be plenty of breaks in between so they could set up lighting and camera angles. I didn’t even have an iPhone back then, so I’d kill time by hanging around and trying to learn as much as I could. I’d talk to the “continuity lady” who makes sure everything looks the same for each take. Like, if someone gets into bed then gets out, she has to make sure it’s made exactly the same each time. Or if you put down a drink, she makes sure it’s in the same spot in the next take. I remember one time it took a whole day of filming for just five minutes of footage in the show.

When I wasn’t hanging on set, I’d be in the tutoring trailer getting up to date with my assignments. It was hard missing school, but having a one-on-one tutor actually made me get better marks.

I was onH20for three seasons, and since then I’ve been doing short films here and there, and I did my first feature film calledThe Little Things. It was really cool to be on a more adult set – it was a really different vibe.

I love acting and it’s what I want to do, so I’m hoping to get a job soon. I had some meetings over in LA and I’m going back there for pilot season, which is when the producers and directors hold lots of auditions.

I’m going with a friend who’s also an actress, so that kind of comforts me. I’m sure we’ll meet lots of other Aussies. I can always text Phoebe and be like, “Phoebe, help me!” It’s really cool how well she’s doing over there. I’m sure there are some exciting people she could introduce me to… I’m hoping!