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

“I’m living my best life!”

If you’re one of the few people who’ve only seen snippets of Australian TV drama Home and Away since it’s been on air, we’ll bet you still know who Ada Nicodemou is. At 44, Nicodemou is an icon of Aussie TV. 

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 soap. She says, “I can’t believe Leah has been a part of my life for nearly 22 years.”

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

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

With the exception of lockdown, 2021 was a huge year for you. What do you want from the year ahead?

Hopefully a lot of fun, laughter, eating out at restaurants. A bit of overseas travel would be nice! I’ve always had a holiday booked each year and for the past two years, I haven’t. I didn’t think I missed it, but I’m ready now.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

Obviously Europe, without a doubt. Even just the Greek Islands. My best friend lives in New York and she’s been there for 10 years, so I’d love to go and see her. It’s been a while!

Between planning your next holiday, looking after your family and filming commitments, how do you possibly find time for yourself?

I have always been a morning person. So, in the mornings, I attempt to perform some sort of workout. I enjoy going for automobile rides – 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 that 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.

“I’m living my best life!”

You’ve been working for a very long time, right?

The only real break I’ve ever had was when 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 just stop. I didn’t have to go anyplace and we could essentially do whatever we wanted at home. It was a fantastic break, 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 you’ll probably never get that time again, unless you quit Home and Away

Nope! Doing nothing has made me – like I’m sure a lot of people – reassess what I say yes to. I’ve changed work around a little bit. I have more of a work-life balance now, more than I ever had before, even when I was 16 and just started working. I still love work, but that was a good thing for our family.

Ada has worked on Home and Away since its first episodes.

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 try 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.

Does he ever join you on set?

Yes, he has in the past, but he hasn’t been for a while due to COVID. The crews are really lovely and when he’s there, he gets to call “action”, but he’s only come a couple of times, like when it’s a quick scene. I mean, children just get bored! Johnas is all about soccer and F1. And he’d much prefer to meet Chris Hemsworth anyway.

At least you can say you’ve worked with Chris!

Exactly! He couldn’t believe I worked with Thor. When he’s come into work, there are old TV WEEK magazine covers on the walls down the hallway and when he saw Chris on the wall, he was more excited about that than coming onto set to see me.

You’re looking incredible, what’s your secret?

I enjoy lifting weights. I aim to do that at least twice a week. I started performing F45 at the conclusion 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 running. I strive to keep things interesting. I’d like to try yoga as well.

Do you have any vices?

If I have a bag of chocolate bullets in the house, I’m going to eat them. I love my sweets and I like to have a drink. I figure if I exercise most days, I can enjoy my treats. I don’t deprive myself, life’s too short, right?

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