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Home and Away Mandy McElhinney’s life from quitting acting to role she can’t escape

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Home and Away’s mysterious newcomer Margot is played by well-known Aussie star Mandy McElhinney and the famous actress has an exciting life away from the Channel 5 soap

Margot Dafoe, the newest character on Home and Away, arrived in Summer Bay on Tuesday (July 11) in search of her son, Andrew.

Margot, played by Mandy McElhinney, 52, was disguised as Esther and was overjoyed when she was reunited with the youngster she claimed was her son.

After Esther joined Justin and Leah for supper with Andrew, the unhappy youngster opted to go live with his mother, bidding his foster family and Summer Bay farewell.

Cash Newman realized Esther was actually Margot Dafoe, the leader of the deadly cult Vita Nova, on Monday (July 17).

As soap fans wait for Margot to reveal her true self in upcoming episodes, the Daily Star has delved into the personal lives of well-known actress Mandy.

The role she can’t escape

Mandy was a well-known actress before joining the cast of Home and Away.

She is arguably best known to Australians for her appearance in a series of insurance commercials that aired in 2012.

In the popular AAMI ads, Mandy played Rhonda, while actor Kadek Mahardika played Ketut.

Rhonda meets her younger lover while on vacation in Bali in the series of ads, which originally aired to promote AAMI’s safe driver insurance, and their summer affair blossoms into a long-term partnership.

Despite the fact that the renowned advertisements aired more than a decade ago, they remain an important part of Australian pop culture, and the soap star revealed she is instantly recognized as a result of them.

“Some people recognize me right away, and it’s always a very funny exchange,” she told The Daily Telegraph. People remember that friendship and that time fondly.”

“There was something incredibly sweet about her, her lack of pretense, her open heartedness, and her desire for love,” the Channel 5 star concluded.

“I think people want good things to happen to good people, and I think that was what she represented.”

Lengthy career

Mandy began her career as a social worker in the Australian children’s television series Ship to Shore in 1994, and she has been in various Australian TV shows and films over the past three decades.

She starred in the sketch comedy series Comedy Inc from 2003 to 2006, which featured original skits, impersonations, and caustic parodies of other shows and films.

Mandy got the role of Nene King in the TV miniseries Paper Giants: Magazine Wars in 2013, a role she claimed was her favorite during an interview in 2022.

“I adored playing Nene King; there was something very liberating about her energy, her blunt honesty, and her unapologetic ambition, which is unusual, generally for female characters,” she remarked.

“Of course, all of the characters I’ve played have shaped who I am as a person,” the star continued, “but the collaborators and the experiences we had creating together are unforgettable.”

Mandy got the part of Matron Frances Bolton in the four-season drama series Love Child, which aired from 2014 to 2017.

She also played Gina Rinehart in the 2015 telemovie The House of Hancock, alongside Hollywood A-lister Sam Neil.

The TV actress is also a theater regular, having been in Sydney Theatre Company’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire and as Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie in 2022.

Almost quit acting

Mandy revealed to TV Week that she almost gave up acting after filming season one of the psychological thriller series Wakefield in 2021.

“A lot of us thought it was going to happen again [for season two], but they couldn’t bring it back unfortunately,” she told the publication.

“A lot of my colleagues have left the industry, and I was on the verge of doing the same.”

The star revealed co-writing and starring in theatre show Dirty Birds with her actress sister Hayley McElhinneyHayley “saved her”.

She continued: “This project with Hayley saved me in a way because we could figure out what stories we wanted to tell.

“I don’t have control over my career at all. All I can do is be grateful for the opportunities that come along.”

Marriage

Mandy met Carlo D’ora in 2015 through a mutual acquaintance while he was on vacation in Sydney.

“My friends run an introduction agency for men looking for love – same-sex partners,” she told Women’s Weekly of their unexpected encounter.

“They didn’t expect us to get along so well, but we did.” We hit it off right away.”

Carlo, who was born in Italy, then left his job as a producer and writer in Italy to join Mandy in Sydney.

In December 2017, the couple tied the knot in a Sicilian cliff-top chapel.

Their ceremony was followed by and Italian-styled reception in historic castle, Castello San Marco.

The theatre star looked stunning in a white dress by Australian designer Leah da Gloria, while Carlo opted for a suit by Dolce & Gabbana.

Gushing over her show-stopping gown to Women’s Weekly, Mandy said: “I felt like I was wearing a piece of art, so completely out of myself and yet so comfortable. I just felt divine in it and I could dance, too.”

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