Neighbours: “Chloe Brennan has a big heart – and a big mouth!” April Rose Pengilly interview

The lowdown on Mark and Aaron’s cheeky kid sister

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Neighbours fans finally get to see Chloe Brennan in the flesh this week, when the kid sister of Mark, Aaron and Tyler turns up in Erinsborough to reconnect with her big brothers.

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Chloe has been talked about by her siblings but never seen until today, 27 March, and she makes a quite an impression when she clashes with Elly Conway who thinks she’s a thief!

April Rose Pengilly has landed the coveted role. The daughter of Kirk Pengilly from Aussie rock legends INXS, she is a former international model and has appeared in a number of film roles, as well as the Australian version of Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing With The Stars. She spoke to RadioTimes.com about what we can expect from the new face on Ramsay Street.

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How would you describe Chloe?
There’s so much to live up to, she’s been talked about for years! She’s very free-spirited and fun loving, she’s got a very big heart but also has a very big mouth. That can sometimes cause problems and get her in trouble but she always has good intentions, she’s not a bad girl or out to hurt anyone. She’s not a minx.

How close is she to her brothers?
When her parents, Russell and Faye, split up when the siblings were younger, the brothers stayed with Russell and Chloe went to Adelaide to live with her mum so she was raised more like an only child from then on, and only saw her brothers during holidays and at Christmas.

Why has she come to Erinsborough?
She’s back to reconnect with her brothers and may be out of cash having been on an extended gap year and travelling wherever the wind blows her. Chloe doesn’t answer to anybody, Faye may have spoilt her a little bit!

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She gets into a fight with Elly in her first scene, are people suspicious of her after that?There are two sides to every story! Chloe actually thinks Elly is stealing from her and that’s why a tussle ensues. It’s a misunderstanding and there are no bad intentions! Given Chloe’s propensity to take off at the drop of a hat and do whatever she pleases, Mark is suspicious she may not be there very long so he’s not sure how invested to become. She has to prove she’s there to reconnect and be there for the family, after Tyler’s imprisonment and Russell’s death. There are a couple of mishaps but people start to see her true nature. She’s makes friends eventually!

Are you anything like your character?
A little bit in certain ways, she has elements of my personality that are heightened. I too don’t mean any harm and am prone to putting my foot in it with my big mouth!

How have you settled in on the show?
Everyone’s been so lovely and welcoming, especially the Brennan brothers. Our scenes together are my favourite we have so much fun. I am an only child and feel like I have brothers now. And the best-looking brothers on TV as well, lucky me!

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Were you a Neighbours fan growing up?
I watched it when I was in high school, the Delta Goodrem era. It’s such an iconic show and I’ve definitely had a few ‘pinch me’ moments, especially working with Ryan Moloney – Toadie’s a legend!

How hard was it to cross over from modelling to acting?
I got a role in a feature film while I was still modelling and it became clear I couldn’t do both, the industry in Australia tends to want you to be one or the other and pigeonholes you, so I quit modelling and made acting my focus. I had issues where people wouldn’t see me for auditions because of the modelling background. I did get work but it was an uphill battle to convince people.

How did the Neighbours role come about?
I love comedy and there’s not a great deal of scripted comedy being produced in Australia so my plan was to relocate to LA. I was working towards that for years, trying to sort out a visa which took a long time. There’d been some interest from Neighbours almost a year ago but not for a specific role so I didn’t think anything would come from it, then months later they called about Chloe and I got down to the final two. About a week later I had the part as I was literally packing to move to the States! But you can’t say no to Neighbours, can you?!

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Has your dad given you any advice about being in the public eye?
We are in very different industries, but both my parents are creative so I don’t think I was ever going to end up as an accountant! But they’ve instilled in me the importance of a good work ethic, and being kind and polite and consistent.

How are you finding the hectic soap filming schedule?
I was very afraid of that going in, but the pace actually suits me and I enjoy it. I’m quite impatient and like to work quickly. I did a short film a few weeks after starting Neighbours and I found the shoot really slow, I was like ‘Let’s get on with it guys!’.

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Neighbours continues weekdays on Channel 5 at 1.45pm and 5.30pm.

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