Madelaine West

“I have always wanted to be an actress. For as long as I can remember it’s all I have wanted to do. According to my mother, as a toddler I would wait till everyone was absorbed in a TV show then start dancing and singing in front of the set. Hey, a girl’s gotta have a captive audience! From then on, mum says she knew I was destined for the stage.

My first big break was winning a drama scholarship which paid for all my tuition. For me it was an affirmation that my dreams could become a reality if I was prepared to put in the work. I loved my time working on Neighbours, although I remember I did hyperventilate during my first screen kiss.

I’m proud to say on that show I achieved the ultimate soapie trifecta. On the day of my character’s exit I got married, had an horrific car accident, and was washed out to sea never to be seen again. All in the space of a day! I’ve worked in TV, radio, film and theatre and love them all.

We have a number of companion animals: a siberian husky called Buck, Missy the cat, four turtles named Bazza, Gazza, Shazza and Trace, six silver perch, twelve rainbow fish and a grumpy old murray cod quite aptly named Murray. In our household the maxim “do unto others as you would have done unto you” has been revised to read “do unto all creatures great and small as you would have done unto you.” And it is with this philosophy that we intend Phoenix to grow up.

I only buy produce that comes from free range farms and I certainly would never wear fur. Faux, darling, faux! It’s the new black! The day that dogs start wearing mascara and cats start doing the dishes will be the day I support animals being used in laboratory safety experiments.

Supporting animal welfare does not necessitate chaining yourself to trees or marching on parliament. If that is your preferred method for expressing your views the so be it, but for the majority it’s important to remember that you can still lend your support simply by being aware of where the products and produce you buy come from and by making careful purchasing choices. Every great change starts off with baby steps.”

“The day that dogs start wearing mascara and cats start doing the dishes will be the day I support animals being used in laboratory safety experiments.”