After taking time out, the star is back with a bang! –
She might still get recognised in the supermarket, but for the best part of a decade, nobody has seen former Home and Away star Holly Brisley on a red carpet, or even on the small screen, after a near-death experience inspired her to change her life.
But in an exclusive sit-down interview with New Idea, the mother of two reveals she’s finally making her big comeback.
“It was an odd turn of events,” Holly tells. “I went on a trip to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and I couldn’t breathe as I was approaching the summit, so I was forced to stop. I found out later I had a high-altitude pulmonary edema and could have died if I continued.”
After that near-miss in 2010, the actress and TV host, who is married to marketing executive Paul Ford, decided to reevaluate her life and take a step back from the spotlight.
Holly gave birth to their first child, Levi, a year before the near-fatal expedition.
Holly, who completed the walk to assist the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, which raises cash for sick children, adds, “There was a point throughout the ordeal when things appeared so horrible, my fear was I’d never make it off that mountain alive.”
“It forced me to take stock and reconsider what was essential to me.”
Two years later Holly and Paul had their second child, daughter Willow, whose arrival only confirmed Holly’s belief that she had to cut back on work and concentrate on being a mum.
“I really wanted to be there for my kids during those years when they were figuring themselves out, and I’m pleased I got to spend that time with them,” she says, adding that it also allowed her a chance to decide out what she wanted to accomplish with her life.
“It allowed me to focus on my own artistic growth. It was all about regaining control of my life. I decided to enter into film production when I was in my 40s because I didn’t want to be at the mercy of others.”
Holly has worked in the entertainment world since she was 13 years old. She got her break on Agro’s Cartoon Connection three years later. She went on to host The Looney Tunes Show and World’s Craziest Videos, among other shows.
It was acting, however, that was always Holly’s passion, and she learnt the craft working on films like Garage Days and Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure. In 2005, she joined the cast of Home and Away as Summer Bay’s resident vixen, Amanda Vale.
It’s been more than a decade since Holly left the popular serial drama that reintroduced her to the public eye. However, it drew a lot of unwelcome media attention.
Holly is looking forward to getting back to work, this time behind the camera as well as in front of it, with Levi now 11 and Willow 8.
The first is Ruby’s Choice, a feature film she co-produced. It stars Jane Seymour, a legendary British actress, as well as Jacqueline McKenzie, a popular Australian actress.
Two more films are also in the works. One is about to start filming, while the second is in development stage. Holly will produce both, as well as act.
“I think it’s really good for [mine and Paul’s] relationship … it feels great to be doing something I love,” Holly tells New Idea, adding that now both their kids are in school, she felt the timing was right to reboot her career.
“There are so many chances right now, and I knew this was the correct road for me intuitively,” she adds. “I’m so at ease in my own skin, and I’m also incredibly happy and, yes, still in love. “Life is wonderful.”