NADINE Garner is a member of that elite club of thespians who, after starting out as child actors, have continued to be successful in the profession in their adult years.
Garner who is now starring in City Homicide on Channel 7, first appeared on our TV screens when she was just 13, playing Tammy in The Henderson Kids.
Since then she’s appeared in shows like The Secret Life Of Us,Blue Water High, RAW FM, Boys From The Bush, Heroes’ Mountain and Through My Eyes.
“I guess it depends on what comes your way and if the work keeps sustaining you, and interests you, then you stick around, and if it gets too hard then you have to make other arrangements,” she says.
“It hasn’t always been easy for me and there were times when, if I was a more sensible person, I may have walked away, but I have stuck with it and I have had some great jobs and some great experiences.
“But it definitely had its moments when it was hard to stay committed to it.”
Garner says she sat down with husband Cameron Barnett a few months back and watched some episodes of The Henderson Kids on DVD.
“I looked at it because my husband had never seen it, and I started feeling emotional about it because I realised how much hard work went into it and how young I was,” she says.
“I think of my son working like that at 13. I was working so hard and I was away from home and I had pressure on me, and while it was unspoken I think I carried that quite heavily.
“It set parts of my personality in stone because of the responsibility put on me to deliver.”
Garner and her family had just returned from a four-month stint in London when she was given the chance to audition for the role of Detective Senior Constable Jennifer Mapplethorpe in City Homicide.
“It looked like a strong production, the cast was exceptional, the chance to play a strong female lead on a commercial network on a show I think has a lot of credibility; it wasn’t something to turn down,” she says of City Homicide.
“Essentially she’s a woman in a man’s world. Our supervisor is played by Noni Hazlehurst but she isn’t always around so the colour and the tone is very much male.
“I think because I get on really well with the boys, and there’s a real respect, I don’t feel that I am singled out or disadvantaged at all. These particular boys are not blokey or arrogant.
“But I think it’s very civilised compared to what’s the truth. From what I have got talking to women police who have worked in homicide, it’s very tough to get there and once you get there it’s tough, especially if you want to raise a family.
“Jennifer does reflect what’s the truth of being a woman in homicide. You can’t really hold down the job and have a successful marriage or children, you have to have one or the other.”
City Homicide was especially attractive to Garner because it was shot in her home town of Melbourne and meant her 19-month-old son Edan would have lots of family and friends around when Mum and Dad were at work.
“We had been going back and forth (to London) over the past couple of years but that was getting tough. Unless you are earning a lot of pounds it’s difficult to stay there and sustain yourself,” she says.
“So it’s nice to have a spell in Australia and be working in my home town. I can go home at night, I’m not in a hotel room, and I have family around me.
“There have been emergency times when dear friends and family have been able to come and help, and if we had been away somewhere that wouldn’t have been the case.”
City Homicide season finale, Seven, Monday 8.30pm