Mackenzie Hargreaves has had quite the time on Neighbours already.
From her transgender journey to the darker web series Erinsborough High, we've seen her at the forefront of some memorable storylines and with the character now part of the regular cast, there is a lot more to come from her.
This week sees the character continue to experience problems with her choice of new housemate, the troublesome Mannix who has already caused numerous problems for several Ramsay Street residents.
Mackenzie has told her aunt that she is living with the Rebecchi family, but secretly she hasn't moved anywhere and instead got someone in to help pay the bills.
RadioTimes.com exclusively caught up with Georgie Stone about Mannix and all things Mackenzie, past, present and future.
When you first joined the show last year, how did you handle approaching such a sensitive story that was so personal to you? Did that make it easier or harder?
There were times it was very emotional. Some scenes I found quite difficult to do because they were so harrowing – like when Mackenzie is outed by Yashvi. But as a first-time actor, it was great to have a role I could connect to and I had shared experiences with. That made it easier.
What was it like filming the Erinsborough High spin-off? Was there a different feeling on set for that and can we hold out hope for a sequel?
It definitely felt like its own world, which I really loved. It felt different because there was such an emphasis on character, not just plot. We all got an opportunity to explore our characters in ways we hadn’t had the opportunity to before. I don’t know if there will be a season two but I really hope there is. I would love that!
When did you find out the producers wanted you full time and what was it like filming your first-ever opening credits shot?
I found out I was joining the main cast when we were in the middle of shooting E-High, so about mid-August 2019. It was two weeks before my first episode was going to air, and it was absolutely surreal. And filming the opening credits was so much fun, except my heels kept sinking into the grass on Ramsay Street so I kept falling over. I don’t think I looked very graceful!
Neighbours has a lovely teen group of regulars at the moment with you, Harlow and Hendrix. Can we expect you to share the screen a lot going forward, and will we see more Richie?
I love the teen group! I think there is a really nice dynamic, and we definitely have some great scenes coming up. I also love Mackenzie and Richie’s relationship (Michie? I think?) and we will be seeing more of those two in the next few months!
The story of Mackenzie’s transgender journey has been extremely well received. Will we see another focus on this aspect of her life soon?
There is definitely more of that to come. We just want to make sure that it comes up again naturally – our main aim is to tell this story authentically and respectfully, and we want to explore more of who Mackenzie is outside of that. But there is a storyline coming up that I do love, so I look forward to that!
Many have, quite rightly, called you an inspiration for how you’ve conducted yourself and all that you’ve done to raise awareness on key issues. How does it feel to have helped so many people and does a degree of pressure come with that?
I’m really glad that I have helped people. I want to be helpful! Mostly the pressure I feel is pressure I put on myself because I want to do the right thing. But I’m glad that this opportunity I have is allowing me to not only do something I love, but also help educate people too, and also give hope to those who can connect to Mackenzie and to me. I feel very lucky.
Here in the UK, we are watching as Mackenzie gets the housemate from hell in Mannix. What can you tell us about how worrying things get for her whilst living with him?
Things escalate very quickly. A lot of the drama is centred around the fact that Mackenzie is oblivious to who Mannix really is, and how much danger she is in. Things will come to a head soon, and it shakes Mackenzie to her very core. I can’t wait for people to see it!
Where do you see Mackenzie in the future? Do you have a vision of where you would like her to end up?
I hope she continues down the law career path. There are so many story possibilities that could come from that path! I also hope Mackenzie continues to develop and becomes more assertive as she gets older. Right now she harbours a lot of self-doubt and shame. I hope she starts to grow out of that and becomes a confident and capable person!
And finally, what can you tell us about what is to come for Mackenzie in the coming months?
Oh, so much! She is in for an emotional roller-coaster, I can tell you that! Her dilemma is centred around worrying about her future, and what is in store for her, whilst also grappling with her past. She is still finding her footing and working out her place in the world, like so many young people. It is quite interesting to see.
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