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Shorty sisterhood: We fell for each other!

For these gals, it was love at first sight

When it comes to their fun photo shoot for Woman’s Day, up-and-coming Shortland Street stars Ngahuia Piripi and Lucy Lovegrove are adamant it has to include either food or wine.

“We socialise a lot outside of work and it always somehow involves those two things,” explains Maori beauty Ngahuia, 26, as she talks about their instant friendship.

Bumping into her blonde Australian co-star, 25, before Lucy’s first script-reading with the Shorty cast, Ngahuia introduced herself and, from there, “took me under her wing”, tells Lucy.

It couldn’t have been more different from their fiery on-screen introduction, when Ngahuia’s character, feisty nurse Esther Samuels, met Lucy’s alter ego Sass Warner and later described her as a “Barbie doll on the outside and toxic troll underneath”.

Ngahuia, who is mum to seven-year-old Owairea, laughs, “Well, luckily, Lucy is nothing like her character! It helps that we have very similar interests. I knew I liked Lucy from the beginning. Hopefully, I don’t change my mind!”

“Hopefully!” says Lucy. “We have to share a dressing room.”

In between filming, the pals spend their downtime on the hit TVNZ 2 show’s set chatting, playing cards, watching movies and challenging each other at chess.

When not at the office, they will whip up culinary delights at each other’s houses – they recently nailed a beef, mushroom and Guinness pie – and wine and dine their way around Auckland. They’re also planning trips to Wellington and Queenstown so that newcomer Lucy can see more of the country.

It was just a little over four months ago that the Melbourne-based star got the call from her agent that a New Zealand soap was casting for an Aussie actress. The beautiful blonde grabbed a friend, filmed a scene and quickly sent it off pronto. Just a few days later, Lucy heard that she’d bagged the gig.

“It was all very sudden,” she recalls. “I had six days to pack up my house, quit my job, say goodbye to my flatmates, fly to Canberra to say bye to my family and get to New Zealand. It was so rushed, I don’t think it really hit me until I arrived that I was going to be living in a new country.”

But being the new girl on the Street was made all the more easier with her new best friend to show her the ropes. Lucy remembers, “Ngahuia was so nice and really looked after me when I started. She told me where I could raid for chocolate and where I could see the B-cuts, the scenes before they go to air.”

Ngahuia adds, “We just really hit it off. We clicked instantly. I mean, I don’t know how it happened – you’re from Australia!”

Even an awkward on-set tumble couldn’t spoil their bond. Covering her face with shame, Lucy recalls, “There was this scene where I was in high heels and I had to step off a ledge. I completely stacked it and reached for the nearest thing, which was poor Ngahuia! I nearly took her out in front of the whole crew. It was so embarrassing!”

A laughing Ngahuia continues, “I thought it was hilarious. She was so mortified and so apologetic, asking if she hurt me. It was a nice change to be honest because normally I’m the one falling over!”

The gal pals say it’s also great to have someone in the same boat when they go out and about in public. Ngahuia tells, “You get used to the stares and people talking about you, but when you’re with someone who isn’t used to it, they can get caught up in it. Whereas we can just ignore it and get on with talking about other stuff.”

That support aside, what other pieces of advice do they call on each other for? “What kind of wine to buy,” grins Lucy. “Or what restaurant we should try next!”

Throwing her hands in the air, Ngahuia laughs, “How does it always come down to food and wine with us?”

Unlike their on-screen characters, up-and-coming Shortland Street stars Ngahuia Piripi and Lucy Lovegrove count themselves close pals.

The stars first met just before Lucy’s first script-reading with the rest of the Shorty cast.

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Quick Fire Questions with Ngas and Lucy from Shortland street

From there, Ngahuia “took [Lucy] under her wing”, and the pair have formed a fast friendship.

In between filming, the pals spend their downtime on the hit TVNZ 2 show’s set chatting, playing cards, watching movies and challenging each other at chess.

Ngahuia adds, “We just really hit it off. We clicked instantly.”

Lucy remembers, “Ngahuia was so nice and really looked after me when I started. She told me where I could raid for chocolate and where I could see the B-cuts, the scenes before they go to air.”

When not at the office, they will whip up culinary delights at each other’s houses – they recently nailed a beef, mushroom and Guinness pie – and wine and dine their way around Auckland.

The BFFs are also planning trips to Wellington and Queenstown so that newcomer Lucy can see more of the country.

The gal pals say it’s also great to have someone in the same boat when they go out and about in public. Ngahuia tells, “You get used to the stares and people talking about you, but when you’re with someone who isn’t used to it, they can get caught up in it. Whereas we can just ignore it and get on with talking about other stuff.”

Ngahuia in action on Shortland Street.

New girl on the Street! Lucy films a scene for the TVNZ 2 soap.

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