Celebrity News

Tandi Wright reunites with her daughter

There’s no place like home for the nothing trivial star after an extended stay in LA.

When Tandi Wright set off to audition in Los Angeles, her first challenge as an actress came at the airport. Trying to look cheerful as she said goodbye to her daughter Olive and partner Michael Beran – knowing she wouldn’t see them for weeks – required all her skill.
“I was desperately trying to hold it together because I didn’t want to upset Olive,” says the mum-of-one.
“I waited until I got through security to start crying. But it’s one of those things for working mothers. What can you do?”
Of course, working mums don’t usually travel halfway around the world for their job – and nor was it something the Nothing Trivial star expected she’d do – but when Hollywood came knocking, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“I thought I was way too old to do pilot season in LA,” laughs the stunning 43-year-old. “Then I got approached by a United States management company who were really good. They liked my work, which was very flattering.”
Tandi was reluctant to leave her family for five weeks and leap into the unknown.
But while she was delighted by the agency’s interest, Tandi was reluctant to leave her family for five weeks and leap into the unknown. “I could have easily talked myself out of it,” she says.
In the end, it was Michael who convinced her they’d all cope and that if she passed on the chance to win a part in a US show, she’d always regret it.
And because Michael is a freelance writer and can work anywhere, the couple knew it could turn into an opportunity for the whole family.
“If you’re in this business, you always have to be pushing yourself to the next level,” says Tandi, “and every now and then that means taking big risks and really scaring yourself.”
The actress says it was scary navigating her way around a strange city and auditioning for ‘stoney-faced network executives’, but is proud that she didn’t give up.
And, sure enough, having to navigate her way around a sprawling city, turning up to auditions and performing before large groups of stoney-faced network executives was every bit as scary as the actress had anticipated.
“At about week three, I went completely mad,” she laughs. “I thought, ‘What am I doing here?’ I had to face the possibility that I might fail completely, but then I thought, ‘Hang on, what is failure anyway? It will be my choice how I chose to perceive this.’”
Despite the fact that she was desperately missing her support network in New Zealand, Tandi was able to take advantage of the freedom the trip allowed.
“I don’t think many mothers get the chance to just step to the side of their life, even for a little bit. It gives you some perspective and clarity, which is a real luxury.
“As women, we often define ourselves according to the people around us – I’m Olive’s mum, I’m Michael’s partner – but when I was in LA, I thought, ‘Who am I when they’re not there?’”
While she relished this rare chance to reconnect with herself, Tandi was also reminded how grateful she is for the wonderful family waiting for her back home. And, thanks to technology, mother and daughter were able to keep up with some of their favourite daily pastimes, despite being thousands of miles apart.
While Tandi was away, she Skyped Olive pretty much every day.
“I Skyped them pretty much every day – Olive had the iPhone and she would bounce with me on the trampoline, give me a tour of the garden, then she’d put me in her trolley and wheel me around the place.”
Finally, after what ended up being eight long weeks away, Tandi returned home, immensely proud to have made it to the final three for a lead part in a pilot episode for a show and newly inspired to do great work.
“I’m aware that it’s a cruel industry for women and I will get to a point where there just aren’t that many roles. I may be there already, I don’t know. What I do know is that I love my job and I feel like I’m just starting to get good at it. The odds of getting any work from the US are very slim, but I’m delighted that I gave it a shot. As Michael says, ‘You gave it a good nudge.’”
Back on mum duties, Tandi has relished everyday life with Olive, such as taking her to school.
Now the family is focused on returning back to their daily rhythms and revelling in each other’s company again.
“I’ve been re-immersing myself in Olive’s world, taking her to school and back every day,” says Tandi. “I do think it took her a few days to trust that I was going to stick around. Now she’s really affectionate again.”
Not surprisingly, Michael is happy to have his partner back on deck and is looking forward to some downtime of his own.
“He’s allowed to go off and do the Otago Rail Trail now,” smiles Tandi, who can’t confirm whether she’s involved in filming the Nothing Trivial finale, currently in production.
“I think this experience has been good for our relationship – absence really does make the heart grow fonder. This trip has been character forming, not to mention wrinkle forming, but really good.”
Words by: Nicky Dewe

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