Celebrity News

Natalie Medlock: ‘my toughest goodbye’

The stage is set for a bright future for the Kiwi actress

Sisters Kate and Natalie

As the lifeblood was draining from her character, Jill Kingsbury, in the Christmas cliffhanger episode of Shortland Street, off screen, actress Natalie Medlock was brimming with excitement.

Being reunited for the summer with her beloved sister Kate has been the perfect tonic for the family-focused star after her turbulent times on set.

The gorgeous British-born siblings seem relaxed and happy as they kick back in the inner-city Auckland flat they once shared, but with Kate now based back in England and Natalie a firm Kiwi, they’re savouring every precious minute together.

And though the pair are the best of friends, it’s clear that, despite their closeness, they couldn’t be more different.

Born in the UK and raised there till they were in their early teens, Natalie (27) and Kate, who have an 18-month age gap between them, emigrated with their parents to New Zealand in 1999. The family settled on a farm in Te Puke and right from the outset the girls had opposing attitudes to their adopted home.

While Natalie had been much more reluctant than Kate (26) about the move, she soon threw herself headlong into making a success of her new circumstances – a trait Kate says is typical of her older sister.

“Natalie is a lot more hard-working than me. She never gives up on anything,” laughs Kate, whose public relations job means she’s currently based in London. “When we were growing up, whatever classes Mum sent us to – be it acting or piano – Nat would always persevere with it right to the end and I would drift off the radar as soon as it became a little bit boring.”

“I have to work harder because I’m not as bright,” says Natalie, grinning at her sister. “Actually, it’s just blind determination. I don’t think I even liked the piano, I’ve just always been that way.”

The sisters’ differing core qualities are also reflected in their career paths. “Kate is very confident, a real people person, she knows just how manage a room,” says Natalie of her sister, who as part of her job hosts foreign journalists on trips around New Zealand.

Kate, on the other hand, applauds her sister for being fearless in the way she approaches all situations. “Being honest is one of the most important things to Nat. She thinks if you’re honest with your life you can move forward in every way.

I would never be so bold as to choose a career like acting where you just have to trust your gut that it’s going to work out. But even in the first few years after finishing drama school, which are incredibly hard for a young actor, Nat just went out and made her own stuff.”

For Natalie, creating her own theatre work has always been a practical strategy for staying in employment and the star has more of that planned for this year.

In a typically brazen move – assisted, she admits, by a small amount of Dutch courage – she approached veteran Kiwi actor Michael Hurst at a party and asked him to appear in a show she has written with her regular collaborator Dan Musgrove called Frequently Asked Questions.

The show will be part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival in March. “I also want to try and get behind a camera and make some short films,” says Natalie.

Right now, Natalie and Kate are indulging their shared passion for travel with a three-week trip to Sri Lanka, before Kate returns to the wintery climes of the northern hemisphere and the sisters are separated once again.

Natalie is managing to stay philosophical about saying goodbye. “I was gutted when Kate got posted to London, but I wonder how long she’ll be away for. She seems to keep coming back.”

“New Zealand definitely feels like home to me,” admits Kate. “There’s something about being here that always feels soothing.” And though her time on Shortland Street is now over, Natalie has no plans to join Kate back in Blighty. “I’d consider going to back to the UK for work, but I wouldn’t choose it for the lifestyle.

I like the space that I have here – it’s much easier to do your own work. And,” adds the determined star with a smile, “that’s the trajectory I’m on.”

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.

Related stories