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Keisha Castle Hughes – “My dream wedding!”

Kiwi actress Keisha Castle-Hughes on love, family and her dream white wedding

There’s a refreshing incongruity about adored Kiwi actress Keisha Castle-Hughes. Yes, she covets frilly dresses and when she has time, loves nothing more than fastening a pinny around her tiny waist and baking cookies for her fiance Bradley Hull. Shopping remains her favourite hobby, and she collects bone-china teapots.

But, as she settles down for a long chat with the Weekly, her singlet rides up to reveal one of four tattoos etched onto her body. This one is fairly fresh – her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Felicity’s name in cursive script close to her waist. It was, she says, “outrageously painful” and took over four and a half hours to complete. She plays touch rugby every Tuesday and trains for two hours on a Sunday. She describes herself as “off-kilter and a little bit mad” and tackles each challenge life throws at her fearlessly.

Even so, when presented with the biggest challenge of all – motherhood – she found herself yearning to get out of the house and work again. “I’m not afraid to admit it – I’m just not the type who wants to stay at home with children,” Keisha (19) tells. “I started out being a stay-at-home mum with Felicity, and it was amazing, but I wasn’t intellectually and emotionally stimulated.

“She’s an absolute blessing and I wouldn’t change her for the world, but some days I didn’t want to be a mum. I’d think, ‘It’s too hard, I’m too tired. I don’t want to cook and change nappies.’ “And you can’t just clock out. It’s your job. Let’s face it – I was an extremely selfish teenager when I had Felicity and motherhood isn’t easy, cruisy or simple.”

Keisha is frank about her decision to work – on projects she enjoys and as often as she feels comfortable. It suits her better than picking Play-Doh off the carpet, and fireball Felicity – headstrong and talkative like her mum – is happy at daycare. In the weekends and evenings, if Keisha is filming or walking the red carpet, Dad steps in.

Brad (22), who works as a plasterer, says if there was more money in the pot, he’d take care of his daughter all the time. “I’d love to be a stay-at-home dad,” he muses, then chuckles, continuing, “but for now, I know my place. I’m the donkey! oy job is to look after Keisha and Felicity and to be the best dad I can be.”

There is, says Keisha, enormous pressure on women “to be a supermum and the best partner and a wonderful housewife and to look gorgeous”. She screws up her face. “It’s so intense! Feminists fought hard for that pressure to be relieved and now it seems to be going backwards again!”

And here’s another magnificent Keisha contradiction: the gutsy, earthy actress with the glint in her eye, whose latest project The Vinter’s Luck opens in New Zealand cinemas next week, wants a big traditional white wedding with all the trimmings.

“I want the whole Prince Charles and Princess Di thing,” she exclaims, laughing. “I want masses of people, a frou-frou frock, a huge celebration.”When the wedding will fi nally take place is still under negotiation. Brad and Keisha have been engaged for almost two years, with no sign of setting a date. “Why aren’t we married yet, Brad?” enquires Keisha cheekily, elbowing her partner. “I guess,” she says, “we’re waiting for Felicity to understand what’s happening and to be a part of the wedding. And there’s no hurry. We don’t feel the need to prove we love each other. We’ve been together for six years and we have a child together.”

If he had his way, Brad would elope with Keisha to a tropical island “and tell the family when we got back”. But his wife-to-be is having none of it. “So, I decided to take Keisha to the Auckland Wedding Expo,” says Brad. “But I got the date wrong

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