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Home and Away star Ada Nicodemou on how she learned to love herself

We’ll bet you still recognise Ada Nicodemou if you’re one of the rare individuals who has only watched glimpses of Australian TV drama Home and Away when it first aired. Nicodemou, 44, is a television legend in Australia.

She began her career on Heartbreak High as young dancer Katerina Ioannou in 1994, and by 2000, she’d landed her permanent role as Leah Patterson on the popular serial. She says, “I can’t believe Leah has been a part of my life for over 22 years.”

Nicodemou is also a mother to her 9-year-old son Johnas, who she claims is unconcerned with his mother’s popularity.

She discusses her family life and stardom, as well as how she manages to look so darn good! Her best piece of advice? “I workout first thing in the morning,” she tells WHO. “It really makes me feel better and sets me up so beautifully.”

Except for lockdown, 2021 was a pivotal year for you. What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?

Hopefully, there will be a lot of laughter and dining out at restaurants. A little international travel would be great! I’ve always planned a vacation every year, but I haven’t done so in the last two years. I didn’t believe I’d forgotten about it, but I’m all set now.

Where would you go if you could go anywhere?

Without a question, it is Europe. Even only the Greek Islands are worth seeing. I’d want to visit my closest friend in New York, where she’s lived for the past ten years. It’s been a long time!

How can you find time for yourself while you’re planning your next vacation, caring for your family, and shooting commitments?

I have always been a morning person. So, in the mornings, I attempt to perform some sort of workout. I enjoy going for automobile drives – I know, that seems crazy. I enjoy listening to my several podcasts — it’s my peaceful time. I enjoy reading as well. As a result, I do it before going to bed. I mean, it’s like we’re all in this together. We attempt to get our belongings in as soon as possible.

Isn’t it true that you’ve been working for a long time?

The only real break I’ve ever had was while I was on maternity leave, which isn’t really a break! It was literally great to stop this past lockdown — I know it was horrible for many folks – but it was nice for me to simply stop. I didn’t have to go anyplace and we could essentially do whatever we wanted at home. It was a fantastic holiday, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a hit with Johnas. I got to cook and play at the same time. We were in the pool almost every day, so we took advantage of it.

And until you leave Home and Away, you’ll probably never get that time back…

Nope! Doing nothing has caused me – and I’m sure many others – to reconsider what I say yes to. I’ve switched things up a little at work. I now have a better work-life balance than I ever had before, even when I was 16 and starting employment. I still like working, but it was beneficial to our family.

Is your son Johnas aware of your celebrity, since we’re on the subject of family?

He’s well aware of the situation. They go through a stage that is rather amusing. They’re perplexed as to why everyone is staring. We attempt to persuade him that celebrity isn’t everything, and that it’s more about hard work. That’s more like it’s just something Mum does. In fact, he prefers Mum’s presence at home.

Is he ever on set with you?

Yes, he has in the past, but owing to COVID, he hasn’t been for a time. The crews are great, and he gets to yell “action” when he’s there, but he’s only been a few of times, like when it’s a brief scene. Children, after all, grow bored! Johnas is a soccer and Formula One fanatic. In any case, he’d much rather meet Chris Hemsworth.

At the very least, you’ll be able to say you’ve worked with Chris!

Exactly! He couldn’t believe it when I told him I had worked with Thor. When he arrived at work, there were vintage TV WEEK magazine covers on the walls along the corridor, and he was more enthusiastic about seeing Chris on the wall than going into set to meet me.

What’s the secret to your flawless appearance?

I enjoy lifting weights. I try to do that at least twice a week. I started doing F45 at the end of lockdown. It’s a terrific workout mix that’s also challenging! However, because you’re singing and dancing the entire time, the 45 minutes fly by. I also enjoy walking and do some jogging. I strive to keep things interesting. I’d want to try yoga as well.

Do you have any habits?

I’ll devour a bag of chocolate bullets if I find them in the home. I enjoy sweets and alcoholic beverages. I assume that if I workout most days, I’ll be able to indulge in my sweets. I don’t deprive myself because, after all, life is too short.

Home and Away premieres on Channel Seven on Monday, January 31.

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