Tammin Sursok promised herself she’d never return to a soap opera after quitting her long-running role as Dani Sutherland on Home and Away. But now, after 18 years, she’s changed her mind.
Tammin, 38, tells TV WEEK, “You know, I always thought I’d never come back into soaps.” “It’s not because I dislike it or because it was a bad experience. It was because I felt as if this chapter of my life had come to an end.”
Tammin guest stars on Neighbours this week as Montana Marcel, a troubled fashion designer who has come to Ramsay Street to hold her next fashion event.
The experience of working on a fast-paced weekday drama transported the Logie award winner back to her 16-year-old youth, when she landed her first part on Home and Away.
Tammin explains, “It utterly transformed my life and determined who I was from a very young age.”
“I felt compelled to make sense of that time in my life and realise that it wasn’t so enormous, terrifying, or overwhelming. It was a fantastic experience to be a part of. It was unquestionably cathartic.”
Her guest appearance came at a bittersweet time for the mother of two, as the demise of Neighbours was announced while she was on site.
While the actors and crew were understandably devastated, Tammin was impressed by their positive attitude on set every day.
“You’d think people would incorporate that into their work, but they didn’t. They came to work professionally, and no one on set was allowed to give up “she explains.
“Seeing how hard everyone works and having such a strong work ethic was inspiring.”
Tammin has lived in Los Angeles for the past 15 years with her husband, writer and producer Sean McEwen, and their two children, Phoenix, nine, and Lennon, three.
But the Pretty Little Liars star always felt at home in Australia.
“We’ve always wanted to make Australia and America our homes,” she says.
“It was always our choice before to having children. Things like school and travelling from one location to another might become challenging when we have children.”
When the epidemic struck and the borders were closed, Tammin and her family’s plans to visit Australia were put on hold, and living in LA, a COVID hotspot in 2020, became a terrifying reality.
“Everyone was going through a difficult time at the moment. My husband contracted COVID and suffered from long-term COVID symptoms “She thinks for a moment.
“It was a terrifying time. There were no immunizations available, and no one knew what to do. The hospitals were overflowing, and he was in serious condition. He was sick for a long time, and I’m just grateful that he’s doing much better now and that we’re moving on.”
Tammin landed intriguing jobs like Neighbours and Stan’s series Joe vs Carole back home in Australia as the world began to open up again in 2021.
“It wasn’t like we planned to pack our belongings and move to Australia; it just happened,” she laughs.
“Now that we’ve been here for almost a year, we’re going to return to Nashville and then return here in a few months to start my daughter’s next school term.”
Tammin is back on the soap opera scene, but she has no plans to return to Home and Away just yet.
“I am absolutely certain that I would never return to a long-term character. The labour is extremely demanding and never-ending. When you work that many hours, it’s difficult to spend time with your family “she explains.
“I like shorter six-week jobs or guest appearances, but you never know.”