What happened to the mean girl from Muriel’s Wedding?
In her first major feature film role, Pippa Grandison played a mean girl.
She was one of four, tormenting the title character played by Toni Collette in Muriel's Wedding.
The bittersweet comedy became a seminal Australian film classic by revelling in ABBA and self-empowerment - but with a sharp, satirical heart.
But back then, in 1994, Grandison didn't feel so empowered. She felt like Muriel.
"I know this sounds silly, but I had a massive body-image issue right from when I was a very young girl," Grandison, 48, admits to Stellar.
Yes, the hot one in the banana bikini and headdress - the one who committed onscreen adultery with Sophie Lee's new groom - thought she was overweight.
Before that, she was a young ballet dancer. Just one problem: "I was always told I was too fat."
I was one of her earliest TV roles in the series E Street, and, as she recalls, "A producer told me I didn't have a body to match my face."
Thankfully this is not her lament, a wistful cry after years covering her secret. After all, she is returning to the scene of a past crime, as it were, now playing the role of Muriel's mother in the new season of the successful stage musical adaptation of the film.
Grandison is happy. She gets to revisit one of her fondest professional experiences with director P.J. Hogan (he adapted the musical with Kate Miller-Heidke) as well as the many characters transferred to the production by the Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures.
And she has no qualms coming full circle, from the gleeful cruelty of her original character Nicole to the sad desperation of Muriel's mother, Betty Heslop.
It is a fantastic challenge, she enthuses, because "I feel like I'm moving forward as an actor. That's such a trite thing to say, but I'm middle-aged now. I'm growing up, and for a lot of years I played sexual predators and god knows, a string of them. Now I'm moving into the slightly disturbed, depressed, slightly anxious middle-aged woman... About time!" she laughs.
The truth is, Grandison hit the ground running as a young actor in the '90s with multiple early TV roles, including ABC's Brides Of Christ and a number of films, while performing on the stage in several Stephen Sondheim musicals.
She was recognised not just for her talent, but also for her beauty. Reminded of this, she responds, "And I never ever saw myself that way. I had great amounts of self-loathing, and it was odd to me that I would always be cast like this because I would pretend. Acting is pretending, essentially."
That meant taking a lot of deep breaths before she would try diving in to a role - mainly because she always felt uneasy with her sexuality, let alone the way people perceived it, or her.
"Whenever I had to take myself seriously in a sexual way, [I was] very insecure about it," she says.
An outsider might believe Grandison punished herself by staying in the industry while harbouring so much self-doubt.
She experienced enough of the upside - challenging characters, meeting interesting people and getting stuck into the camaraderie - to overcome the negatives, which she calls "a small part of it".
That meant, for instance, steeling herself every time she had a wardrobe call to measure her up. Even today, she admits she still does. "It's silly, but it's conditioning, I guess."
Today - with leading roles in stage musicals such as Wicked and Georgy Girl under her belt - Grandison is in a position to coach younger actors, and so takes it upon herself to comfort and advise the ones who might be experiencing the same emotions.
"Sometimes things stay with you, but you've got to realise what's inside and who you are inside is more important," she tells Stellar.
"Which again sounds trite and naff but, with the pressure young kids put on each other with social media, it's important."
Grandison is married to another actor, Steve Le Marquand, and they live on the NSW Central Coast with their 10-year-old daughter Charlie, who she admits she hopes has no inclination to follow the lead of her parents and become an actor.
"I'm trying to shove a tennis racquet or stethoscope into her hands... As a parent, you can't force your kid into something. I wouldn't want to do that. If she wants to do it, I won't stop her - but I'll have something to say!"
Yet Grandison admits although having two actors in a home can be difficult, there is strength in understanding the fickle nature of their chosen career.
"I like to think we communicate very well, which is imperative, and we're not jealous of each other," she says. "If he's flying and I'm not, I'm really happy for him and I'm glad to say I don't ever feel... well, sometimes you think: 'Oh god, can it be my time soon? I want that.'" She roars again with laughter. "But there's happiness for our successes."
Grandison's next one may well be the blues album she recently recorded. It was a bucket-list item, but the result was so well received that she plans to release it later this year.
"It was one of a couple of things I wanted to do before I turned 50 and I was afraid no-one would want to hear it," says Grandison. "But who cares? Just do something you're proud of."
Muriel's Wedding The Musical is at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne from March 12 and Sydney Lyric Theatre from June 28.