BELLO WATCH: Teressa Liane in the seventh season of “THE VAMPIRE DIARIES”

Hailing from Australia’s longest-running drama, Neighbours, Teressa Liane has come a very long way since her role as the outlandish ‘Rhiannon Bates’. She is due to appear in AMC’s highly anticipated show Into The Badlands alongside Daniel Wu as well as being cast as a new and devious character in CW’s beloved series, The Vampire Diaries.

The Australian-born beauty has been cast as the feisty and susceptible ‘Mary-Louise’ in the seventh season of this deadly popular show. With Damon’s sarcastic and snarky wit dominating Mystic Falls, it’s about time he met his match. From her first celebrity crush, to her talented musical family and the foodie loving culture that exists in Atlanta, Teressa revealed all in an exclusive interview with BELLO.

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You have been acting from a very young age.  When did you decide this was the route you wanted to take professionally?

As I was growing up, I knew there was a passion and that I was drawn to it, but never really allowed myself to think of it as a possible profession until I got caught up in Student theatre in my late teens.  I was essentially spending more time there than studying and finishing assignments, and the roles I was being cast in grew from supporting to lead. I loved the challenge and energy of taking on different roles. Something just clicked where I knew this was all I would ever be happy doing and I had to go for it.  I suddenly became very determined.

What was your family’s reaction to this? Are any of them in the business too?

My brother (Benji Lewis) is an incredible singer. He’s in the early stages of releasing his first independently produced album, Hearts and Halos. We were brought up in a very musical family, both of our parents were singers, and our mum, especially, encouraged an appreciation for music and the arts.

My family has always been really supportive and let me know that they believe in me.  They were understandably worried about the instability of this kind of profession, financially and emotionally, given all of the rejection and everything that comes with it. But, as they saw my first year or two of going in for auditions and how I was handling it, it put their minds at ease to know that I wasn’t pinning my self-worth on the outcome.  They knew it was a huge part of who I was and that giving up was never going to be an option.

The Australian series Neighbours has produced some seriously talented individuals over the years, Liam Hemsworth, Margot Robbie etc. What made you decide to leave Australia and pursue an acting career in the States?

I’m really proud of the work I’ve done in Australia. Shows like Neighbours are a great platform and training ground for Aussie actors. You’re working at a crazy-fast pace, 6 episodes a week. Some of my greatest memories are going in to work at those studios! You have to know your stuff and there is very little time or room for an ego. I will always be so grateful to them for entrusting me with the role of Rhiannon. She was an absolute gift of a character, and I loved playing her. Every second of it! Working internationally, the range of projects and opportunities are just multiplied so greatly, it was a no-brainer that working outside of Australia was going to be the next step. I definitely plan on returning to work on future projects back home.  But for now, this is where my work has taken me and I’m really excited to see what is next.

Congratulations on your role as ‘Mary Louise’ in The Vampire Diaries!  Tell me about your experience working with this long-standing cast? Did you feel at all intimidated or overwhelmed?

Thank you! It has been a wild and wonderful ride! Given the fact that we were basically cast and then went straight in to hair & makeup tests and then shooting in the space of a week, there wasn’t really any time to feel intimidated.  I think we all just buckled down and went to work, which was great. I felt so welcome from day one! The way that we were introduced to the cast and crew was perfect, plus coming in with a couple of other newbie’s helped!  Everyone made an effort to come up and say hi, and let us know how excited they were for our characters and the new storylines. After the first table read, we were all joking around and looking forward to the work ahead. It really is just a great group of kind and talented people! I feel very lucky.

You are taking on a really important role this season, in the sense that your character is involved in a same-sex relationship. How have you found playing Mary Louise so far?

Mary Louise has turned out to be more than I ever expected her to be. I was initially so excited and in love with her fierce, sarcastic nature, but she has truly become such a dynamic character in her own right. I genuinely felt a kind of pride in being part of the show’s first same-sex couple. I believe in bringing diversity as well as truthful representations across all media, and seeing the way in which the network and writers have been respecting our characters love and individual personalities has been a definite highlight of my career.

What aspect of Mary Louise’s character in particular made you want to take on this role?

I just loved the way she read off the page.  Her fire is something that I was so drawn to. I find those characters the most appealing. She has this snarky, sharp wit, teamed with aggression as well as this incredible vulnerability. She’s an impulsive villain with the ability to live in moments of contrasting extremes. I love her unpredictable nature; it is so thrilling to play.

Are you a fan of any other romances in Mystic Falls?  What is your take on Caroline and Stefan?

With Caroline and Stefan, I feel like I’m biased, but I kind of want to side with Valerie on that one. A first love that was ended by force, and no actual closure! It’s so tragic! I’m rooting for those guys. As for other romances, I’m interested to see where things go with Bonnie and Enzo! I think the two of them have spent a lot of time trying to find their place and putting others before themselves. They have been without love for too long. I’ll be keeping an eye on them.   

After a long week of filming, what is your ideal weekend setup?

Sleep. Lots of sleep.  And I’ll Skype back home with family.  The week is usually so busy, that doing nothing feels like a luxury.  During filming, the whole cast and crew live out here in Atlanta, so I’ll just take my time going over lines for the following week and catch up with whoever is free. I am pretty spoiled for awesome brunch and dinner dates. Atlanta has some seriously great food! I was just introduced to Fat Matt’s last week. I am convinced it is up there with the greatest food I’ve ever had. You couldn’t have it all the time, but, wow!  So good!

Who is your celebrity crush?

I don’t have one at the moment! My first ever crush was Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop. I was 5 years old and I couldn’t explain to you why, or what the “crush” was about, but I knew I was in love with him. And my latest crush was…  Mads Mikkelsen.  He’s a great actor and I love the risks he takes in his work.  He’s just a very talented, beautiful man with excellent cheekbones!

Lastly, is there anything else you have coming up that you would like to share with your fans?

Yes! AMC’s new series, Into The Badlands began airing last Sunday. It’s an original martial arts, drama series, starring Daniel Wu. I was so lucky to work on this show and to experience the creative masterminds behind it.  I’m so excited to see how it all turns out.

About The Author

Michelle Ganney
Contributing Editor

Although born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Michelle was raised in England from the age of 2 years old. She discovered her love of writing at University with an overriding interest in the film, TV and entertainment world. She interviews talented, global stars as the Entertainment Editor at BELLO mag.

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