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Inspired by... Jennifer Ward-Lealand

Jennifer Ward-Lealand, 53, lives in Auckland with her husband Michael Hurst and their sons Jack and Cameron.

My advice to my 16-year-old self would be... Everything will work out as you want it to - just don’t worry.
My greatest achievement is... My children. Jack is 19 and he has started working in the screen industry in crews. He has worked on Find Me a Maori Bride and done a couple of web series. Cameron is 16 and in Year 12 at college.
If I could bring someone famous or accomplished back from the dead… It would be William Shakespeare. I bet that besides being brilliant, he would really understand just how actors work.
The quote that always motivates me is… “Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Maori – the language is the life force of the mana Maori” from Sir James Henare. It inspires me to keep learning this gorgeous language. I started at 46 with night classes and then I did an immersion course in 2013 and I’ve been doing university diploma since then – not to gain a degree but to keep talking and learning. I would love to have the opportunity to play a te reo-speaking Pakeha.
The flowers I would always like to have on my kitchen table… Are Daffodils.
My most prized possession is… (Aside from my family) my Burmese cats, Vinnie and Ruby. They are ridiculously adored by us. At the moment the line-up in the bed in the morning is Michael, Vinnie, me and then Ruby, because it is cold. Ruby is a thief – she has stolen about 300 items from around the neighbourhood. She has such a quirky personality.
The last film I loved was... Incendies, a Canadian mystery drama about a brother and sister unravelling the mystery of the world. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks.
My dream holiday destination is… Turkey. Michael and I went there in the early 1990s and had the best time. I would like to take the children to Cappadocia (Central Turkey), where we spent more than three weeks exploring what is an extraordinary landscape, riding through it on a motorcycle. Cappadocia is incredible. It’s like going to the surface of the moon.
The actor I would like to play me in the movie of my life is... Someone tall who can sing… and speak te reo Maori. I’d love it if it was someone as yet undiscovered.
The food that makes me feel energised is... A salad made of vegetables freshly picked from our garden.
When I need to wind down… I lie on the bed with the cats and read.
My perfect winter night in… This entails a roast dinner cooked by my husband, Michael, sitting by the fire and watching a great TV series. We are watching Bloodlines, House of Cards and we really loved Better Call Saul. I was away when Filthy Rich was on and I recorded the whole lot so I am also watching all of those lovely New Zealand actors chewing up the scenery on that.
Watch Jennifer in Dirty Laundry, Wednesdays, 8.30pm on TVNZ 1.

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