Styling up…fashion designer Bianca Spender fits actor friend Geraldine Hakewill in one of her gowns. Photo: Bob Barker.
IF there’s anybody who could dish out advice on how to survive TV’s night of nights with grace and glamour, former Gold Logie winner Rebecca Gibney is a smart place to start.
And Geraldine Hakewill — nominated for this year’s esteemed Graham Kennedy award for most outstanding new talent — has made it her job to shadow Gibney, learning the best tricks of the trade from her Wanted co-star.
It’s paid off so far, with the 29-year-old actor getting the nod by her peers and fans alike for her remarkably assured TV debut as unlikely renegade, Chelsea Babbage on the run with Gibney’s Lola Buckley in the Channel 7 drama series the latter created and produced.
Sharing the reflected glory of her nomination with her co-star, Hakewill credits Gibney for her “big sister” support and professional inspiration.
“It’s been one of the most important relationships in my career so far. I’m sure she’s part of the reason I got the role because our chemistry was really great in the audition.”
The former Packed To The Rafters matriarch has garnered a reputation for taking young actors under her wing and Hakewill is no exception.
“She’s so generous with her wisdom and her time. She’s so much fun to work with and so easy and really has been a great role model for me, in terms of my first lead role.”
So much so Gibney invited Hakewill along as her date to last year’s Logies, a valuable test run before she faces the industry gala this time, with the added pressure of being nominated — vying for the peer-voted prize along with Elias Anton (for ABC miniseries, Barracuda); Hunter Page-Lochard (ABC drama series, Cleverman); Rob Collins (for Ten’s The Wrong Girl and ABC’s Cleverman) and Tilda Cobham-Hervey (Foxtel drama series, The Kettering Incident).
“It was such a nice, very gentle entry into the whole thing because it really is madness. I mean, it’s so exciting and so much fun, but also quite surreal too, being in a room with people you know, or have seen and feel like you know; people from all different shows and networks.”
The awards have had their detractors, with the public-voted Gold Logie raising eyebrows when only one woman — The Wrong Girl and Love Child star Jessica Marais — earned a nom, alongside Molly star Samuel Johnson (Seven); Doctor, Doctor favourite Rodger Corser (pictured, Nine), as well as Waleed Aly, Peter Helliar and Grant Denyer (Ten).
But Hakewill was swept up in the moment by her experience last year and loves the comraderie of the occasion.
“I was sitting on a table with Dannii Minogue and then Delta Goodrem was over to my left, and over there were the MasterChef judges…that actually made me quite excited. It was all a bit bizarre but how fantastic is it that we can all be in a room together and celebrate each other? I guess that rarely happens and it’s nice when it’s something celebratory like that and you can all get together,” Hakewill said.
Pooling talents is also what has bonded Hakewill with one of her best friends and Logies’ dress designer, Bianca Spender.
The pair met seven years ago across a crowded movie festival, instantly enamoured with one another, Hakewill revealed: “we were in this big, cavernous hall and I was wearing this bright yellow Carl Kapp dress and she was standing across the room…it was love at first sight. The room parted and we saw each other. She came walking towards me because she loved the colour of my dress and I recognised her because I had read an interview with her not that long beforehand, so I went running towards her and we both just started gushing, talking and it kind of went from there.”
Walking the red carpet at Melbourne’s Crown casino on Sunday night, Hakewill will be wearing a special Spender creation she has coveted since seeing it on the catwalk of her friend’s collection show two seasons ago.
“It was a finale dress, so there was only one made,” Hakewill explained. “ No one has ever worn it since and I’ve kind of had my eye on it. We tried it on ages ago just for fun and I said at the time ‘if nobody else wears this before the Logies, and if I go, can I wear it?’ and she said, ‘yes, of course!’”
Beyond a celebration of the sisterhood, Hakewill said the dress would also be a comfort for her jangling nominee nerves: “It’s nice to wear something of hers because I feel like I have a bit of her with me when I’m there.”
* The 59th annual Logie Awards airs from 7pm on Sunday, April 23 on Channel 9.
Actress Geraldine Hakewill lets us in on some of her secrets
As told to Renata Gortan, The Sunday Telegraph
March 4, 2017 2:00pm
Young star Geraldine Hakewill starred opposite Rebecca Gibney in Seven Network’s drama Wanted, with a second series set to air later this year. But first she has returned to tread the boards in Chimerica now showing at Sydney Theatre Company.
The hardest working item in my wardrobe is … my Lonely lingerie. I discovered this brand while I was working in New Zealand and it’s the most comfortable and the most beautiful underwear you could ever hope to own. It’s rare to feel special in something that is also really, really comfy.
My most recent purchase wa s… black Dr Denim overalls. I wanted to see if I was an overalls kinda gal, and you know what? I think I am. I’ve had lots of comments already and I think they’re fantastic.
The wardrobe I wish I could raid belongs to … Charlotte Gainsbourg. Elegant, a bit kooky, effortless and ridiculously cool.
Three items every woman should own are … Free education, family planning and clean water. But after those essentials, I reckon a terrific hat to keep the UV rays at bay, a dress or a suit that you feel a million bucks in, and shoes that make you walk like a boss.
I buy shoes over bags because … I love a statement shoe. They take an outfit to the next level. Usually it’s flats and boots over heels, though… I’m a really tall lady.
My make-up MVP is … Perricone MD No Blush Blush. This stuff is magical. It’s the perfect colour for me, it has SPF and it immediately makes me look alive, no matter how rubbish I feel. My make-up artist on Wanted uses it on me for the show because it’s so natural, and now I wear it every day.
My ultimate skincare saviour is… Dr Hauschka Revitalising Mask. I have very temperamental skin and this is a miracle worker on dry patches and acne scars. You can use it as a mask once a week, but I actually use it as a daily moisturiser. It works a treat.
Photography by Johnny Diaz Nicolaidis
I fix a bad hair day with… hats, dry shampoo, messy high buns and distracting eye make-up.
My signature scent is… Le Labo The Noir 29. I love masculine or unisex fragrances that aren’t too sweet. This is so unusual. It’s peppery, there is a bit of rose and incense in there, it makes me feel more mysterious than I am.
My morning routine involves… mediation, yoga, tea, shower, a big breakfast and tea (so much tea) while listening to the news or reading.
Tea over coffee… because coffee makes me go a bit bananas. I do drink coffee when it’s getting to the end of a big job and I’m starting at 4am, but I need tea every morning. I like Earl Grey best.
My comfort food go-to is… potatoes — chips, mashed potato, baked potato, sweet potato fries. It’s the Irish in me.
My favourite Sydney spot is… the Botanical Gardens, and just before sunset is prime. When I was last working at The Opera House I’d go for runs along the water in between shows and it made me fall deeply in love with Sydney.
I’m a regular at… the dumpling tea house inside the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale. It’s delicious, and then you get to go and look at all the incredible Chinese art while the dumplings digest.
Photography by Johnny Diaz Nicolaidis
My party trick is… starting the dance floor.
I’m currently binge watching… Saturday Night Live videos, and Chef’s Table on Netflix.
I’m Instagram stalking…. @lord_birthday, my favourite Instagram account. It makes me laugh out loud on public transport.
I’m listening to… Laura Marling’s new singles from her album Semper Femina. I think she’s extraordinary.
My favourite app is… realestate.com.au. It’s my porn. Right now I’m a bit obsessed with finding land in the mountains where I might build a house one day.
My favourite Friday night in involves… my best friends, making food all together, listening to music and lying on the floor belly-laughing.
My five, real or fictional, dream dinner party guests… David Attenborough because he is wondrous, Neil Gaiman for the stories and Amanda Palmer for the after dinner jam session, Massimo Bottura (chef) for the cheese he would bring, and Mark Ruffalo because, Mark Ruffalo.
If my life had a hashtag, it would be… #tallgirllyf
Trio will take on the male gaze in Low Level Panic
Audiences for Low Level Panic shouldn’t feel surprised if they sense their inner voyeur turned on during the course of the evening.
Justin Martin, the show’s director, would be disappointed if it wasn’t. Part of his job in bringing British writer Clare McIntyre’s probing and very funny three-woman play to the stage, he says, is to make sure that sexualising gaze – the male gaze – comes into play.
“You have three women who share a flat and the play is observing them in their private space – their bathroom,” says Martin, who is staging the show at the Old Fitzroy Theatre. “The play is about how women survive and live with that male gaze.”
Martin has already seen the effect McIntyre’s provoking 1988 play can elicit. He comes to the Old Fitzroy having directed a critically praised production in Ireland in 2014.
“Low Level Panic talked to what was going on over there at the time,” Martin says. “There were incidents of young girls and boys being captured on mobile phones having sex. The reaction was as you might expect: the girl was a slut; the boy was a legend, and the person who put it online was an innocent bystander. We wanted to look more deeply at that reaction.”
The play strikes Martin as no less pertinent to Australia in 2016. “It feels right to bring the play into the conversation about sexism, [online] trolling and what has been happening in the media.”
For actor Kate Skinner, who co-stars with Amy Ingram and Geraldine Hakewill, the play’s title describes what women experience most of the time.
“It’s an anxiety you can’t quite put your finger on, a sense that you are doing something wrong, or that something might happen to you, but you aren’t allowed to talk about that anxiety,” Skinner says.
“If I call it out, what will be the response? Will there be backlash? Will people say it isn’t really happening? When you work on a play like this, you can’t help see the way things are more clearly.”
Hakewill agrees. “As women, we live with that anxiety, we normalise it. It’s like we’re meant to feel this way and we can coast along like that. It’s not until you start questioning that at some point in your life, because you see a play or read a book that highlights it, or because you’ve been abused or made to feel uncomfortable in some way, that you realise how ingrained it really is.”
McIntyre, who died in 2009, wrote her breakthrough Samuel Beckett Award-winning play to examine the effects of pornography on women’s behaviour and self-image. It was created in a time before the internet became widespread, and before smart phones and social media.
In McIntyre’s original, one of the flatmates finds an unwanted Penthouse magazine stuffed into their rubbish bin. In Martin’s production, sexualised images of women are everywhere, all the time, and unwanted comments are just a tap of the smartphone away.
Having an audience observe the private rituals of everyday life in what will be a working, plumbed-in bathroom in this intimate theatre will be a challenge to the easy voyeurism and sense of male entitlement that has developed with the internet and social media.
“I’m directing the play to show how even the most banal moments between women – like the painting of toenails – can be sexualised or misconstrued,” Martin says. “Hopefully, by exercising that awareness, we can change the way people look at the world.”
The object is not to teach men a lesson, adds Ingram. “It’s about seeing your thoughts rather than just being your thoughts. Even if one person comes out of the play, male or female, and says, I’m going to shift the way I look at things, then we’ve done our job.”
SOURCE: theage.com.au / Photography by Peter Rae
Low Level Panic explores questions of female sexuality in a unique setting at the Old Fitz Theatre
An open discussion about pornography might seem a risky method through which to explore the way women view themselves — but according to Justin Martin, director of Low Level Panic, it’s one that is necessary.
As Red Line Productions newest play, Low Level Panic focuses in on the experiences of three women and their perception of themselves and each other, using the lens of pornography to create a dialogue about issues which affect us all.
“I think pornography, and they say in the play, is the tip of the iceberg. Pornography is a jumping off point rather than necessarily what the play is about,” Martin said.
Kate Skinner, who plays one of the women in question, said the often taboo topic was a catalyst for how the women “deal with something that has already happened. So in a way it gives them something to talk about so they can talk about much bigger things,” she said.
Set in a bathroom, the play offers a unique and voyeuristic insight into the insecurities the women have and the struggles they face when confronted with an idealised version of their gender.
“We took this idea that the women in the play are exploring the female gaze and the way they see themselves and the way in which they are refracting the way they see themselves based on a male view,” Martin said.
“At the same time you’re allowing that private space to be viewed publicly which suddenly allows me as a male director in the context of that to explore the male gaze where something very domestic is sexualised, or might be misunderstood,” he said.
The issues raised in the play highlighted the unrelenting saturation of sexualised images in media and advertising in the world, Skinner said.
“Through doing this play and through collating things in the world that have to do with it, I definitely think I look at myself and how I stack up or don’t stack up to the ideal women — I look at that very differently now … It hits me in the face in a way it wouldn’t normally,” Skinner said.
There is a lot of humour in the play as well — a tool which makes the play accessible to both male and female audiences, he said.
The aim of the play is to encourage a debate which people want to have — not one where men try to “defend themselves” but feel “empowered by the idea that there are amazing women in this world,” Martin said.
“All women are amazing but these three characters are amazing and interesting and we need to support them and we are a part of the world with them,” he said.
SOURCE: dailytelegraph.com.au / Photography by Chris Pavlich
Geraldine can currently be seen (until 12th August) in the theatre production of Low Level Panic at the Old Fitz Theatre. Below is a promotional photo taken by Chris Pavlich. Click on the photo to see it full size:
Low Level Panic – Lisa chats with Geraldine Hakewill (Theatre interview)
Low Level Panic at The Old Fitz Theatre is one of the most anticipated indie theatre events of 2016. Its presented by Thread Entertainment and Red Line Productions and directed by Justin Martin. Here’s the blurb from the Old Fitz website:
Here is a careful examination of the role of pornography in our society and the way it affects three young women in particular. Short scenes show how popular images of women influence the way they are seen by others and the way they see themselves.
With a play particularly important for the way women are depicted, I grabbed the opportunity to quiz Geraldine Hakewill on some of the tougher aspects of making theatre about complex female subjects. She was kind enough to provide fascinating answers that will whet your appetite for the production, and give us a taste of the challenges and joys she experienced preparing for this show. Enjoy!
Low Level Panic is on at the Old Fitz from 12 July to 12 August.
LT: Tell us about your character in Low Level Panic. What do you like most about playing her?
GW: Celia is the third-wheel in the household. She’s not as close to Mary and Jo as they are to each other, and so she’s constantly on the back foot trying to fit in. It doesn’t help that she’s awkward and a bit precious and not a particularly authentic person. I love playing someone who may come across as unlikeable in some respects. I think she’s fascinating, and there are so many layers to her that I am still uncovering. She’s a romantic dreamer but she’s also very practical. She’s obsessed with how she looks but then she reprimands others for being self-centred.
LT: Sometimes the combination of female sexuality and comedy can result in stereotyping. Do you feel tempted to bring a culturally appropriate history to the role? If not, how does Low Level Panic inspire you to challenge the audience?
GW: That’s a great question and something I have been thinking about a lot, because in some ways Celia actually could represent a stereotype of the naively sexual, beauty obsessed, vacuous, attractive woman. But that is only one layer to a reading of her, and the whole point of the play is to push against stereotypes. What’s great about Claire’s text is that the majority of it is set in a bathroom which is a private, intimate, sacred place. It’s a space where you can be incredibly mundane but also exposed and vulnerable at the same time, without really needing to try. And so we have this woman who is almost like an embodiment of The Beauty Myth, doing her daily bathroom routine, and we see behind the mask to who she really is, and who all the women are. And that’s something I don’t see very often on stage, and that’s inspiring to me.
LT: It has been said, that there can never be a true female theatre production because the female aesthetic is essentially subversive and therefore never commercial. Do you see Low Level Panic as being subversive, commercial or both? How?
GW: I don’t really know what to say about that. I can’t say I agree or disagree with that statement because I don’t feel like I’ve ruminated on it enough, or read enough about it. I want to say that of course the female aesthetic can be commercial! I would hope that I’ve seen “female” theatre that has been successful. But have I? How do we define “female” theatre? Is it that the themes of the play are “female” or just that the writer is female? Or that the director must be female too? If so, then our play is not “female” because we have Justin directing. But what’s interesting to me about him directing this play is that he is very aware that he is embodying the “male” gaze, which is the audience, which will be made up of men and women. I think a lot of women now watch things with a “male” gaze also because that is what we have learnt to do as we grow up in this world. We’re all aware of this as we make this show and we are trying to make the audience aware of it too. So hopefully it becomes a discussion about how we watch and judge women- on stage or in life. And I suppose that could be seen as subversive. But we hope it’s also entertaining enough that we make some money at the end of the run. So it needs to be commercial, also. Can it be both? We shall see…
LT: How have you identified with the layers of your character in Low Level Panic that separate it from any other character you’ve played?
GW: Every character is different, just like every human being is different. There are things about Celia that feel very close to my own experience of life, and there are things like the language she uses that I find difficult to embody because it’s not natural for me. I can see threads of her in other characters I have played- it’s hard not to as an actor. You’re always drawing on your own experiences and so you often get attracted to characters who have similarities, but she’s definitely her own special self. It’s one of the hardest plays I’ve had to wrap my head around because it’s seemingly quite mundane and there is a lot of subtext. Justin has also expanded it with all sorts of fun little extras which makes it very rich but it also means that we are genre-bending and breaking conventions a lot.
LT: Low Level Panic will be performed at The Old Fitz, an intimate indie venue. Tell us, who love indie theatre, what makes this type of production special for you?
GW: I’ve never performed at The Old Fitz before and that was a big reason for me wanting to do this. I love it as a space, and I’ve always had a brilliant night out when I’ve seen shows there. I also love the camaraderie that exists in the indie theatre scene. I want to support it and to be a part of it. I think it’s the place for challenging and whacky work, and I feel very lucky to be a part of a show that I think is politically and socially important and very relevant. It’s more immediate than any other play that I’ve done, and I’m excited by that. I think that’s the beauty of indie theatre not having to program so far in advance. I hope audiences continue to support indie theatre in Sydney because it’s where all our new stories could come from. These experimental “laboratories” like The Old Fitz are where we can keep evolving theatre and maintain it’s relevance.
Thank you Geraldine Hakewill.
Geraldine attended the 58th Annual Logie Awards today. Check out 5 photo below:
I also added 1 more photo taken by Simon Lekias for InStyle Magazine:
2 Birds Espresso Bar is a heartfelt local cafe
WHY I LOVE THIS PLACE
Geraldine Hakewill, actress from Lilyfield
2 Birds Espresso Bar, Lilyfield
“I chose it because I lived just down the road for many years and I worked there for a year and a half and it’s the heart of that little community in Lilyfield. It’s such a great spot.
“One of the girls who works there, Ruby, is an artist. It’s covered in art on the walls and on the cups.
“Tables are made out of milk crates and there are some tables outside. It’s quite small, there are toys for the kids to play with. We have a big map on the wall covered with foreign coins we get from people who have visited somewhere.
“It feels like you’re maybe in a little Swedish sauna. It feels like something out of Frankie magazine. It has a kitschy vibe. It’s tucked in between a corner shop and a hairdresser. It’s such a central part of the community for that area.”
“They do a double shot as standard, so it does strong coffee. They do a really great bacon and egg roll. There are lots of pastries that come in from local bakeries, really good GF options, cookies, lots of different toasted sandwiches and I think they have salads now – just easy stuff you can take away or eat quite quickly. Lots of professionals come for lunch and get a toasted sandwich. It’s easy and delicious.”
“I love cooking. My boyfriend and I are big foodies. We eat really healthily, we just love fresh ingredients, we love cheese and beautiful bunches of organic herbs. I love being inspired by what’s in season and what’s round. And lots of colourful fresh vegies.
“I’ve just done a play at the Darlinghurst Theatre Company called The Pride. A TV show I’m starring in called Wanted is on Channel Seven at the moment and I’m filming the second series of Soulmates for ABC.
“I have a lot of things in the pipeline. I’m about to go to the US; that’ll be an adventure, and then hopefully Wanted goes again for season two.”
Photography by Simon Lekias. Click on the photos to see them full size: