MEET CAROLINE BRAZIER: ACTRESS, ARTIST, LOVER OF BEACH SWIMS
To say West Australian actress Caroline Brazier is a versatile artist is an understatement to her brilliance and talent.
You may know Caroline from her major role in the successful ABC TV series, Rake. Or perhaps you know her from the much loved Packed to the Rafters and Offspring series? What about Water Rats, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Diary of an Uber Driver or Wakefield? If not her leading roles in television, then you have probably seen her perform for the Sydney Theatre Company, or the Bell Shakespeare Company in many high profile and critically-acclaimed roles. Caroline has also appeared in thriller, sci-fi and comedy movies including Rogue, Three Summers, Locusts and Pulse. And we can’t wait to see her in the upcoming feature film “How to Please A Woman” due for release in May this year.
We are lucky to have her based (for now) in her hometown of Perth, where she has discovered that our beaches really ARE the best in the world, our traffic never really jams, the wind in Perth is not her friend and there are way more than three things to love about Perth!
Meet Caroline Brazier: brilliant actress, talented artist, great sense of humour.
Hi Caroline, thank you for agreeing to do this interview! I know you are at the pointy end of rehearsals for the upcoming theatre production, Mary Stuart, for the Perth Festival, so I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to Iridescent Sea!
You were born in Perth but have travelled and lived in Indonesia when you were a child, followed by a few years in NSW, then WA for high school and then back to NSW to study at NIDA. Where do you think your heart lies and why?
I feel, like a lot of people who have left home and family to pursue a career, that I have had to make peace with the fact that I have, and will probably always have, a divided heart. The parts of my heart that house the daughter, and the sister, the auntie, will always yearn for Perth. But the actress, the adult woman in me, the colleague and collaborator and best friend, will always yearn for Sydney, where those parts of me were earned, and honed. I’m always torn, never quite settled. Incapable it seems of really committing to either. Having said that, I have enjoyed some absolute career highlights in the past couple of years here in Perth. Shooting ‘How to Please a Woman’ with that incredible cast and crew was pure joy, and getting to do Mary Stuart again is a dream come true…so I have just made a liar of myself! Put it this way; wherever I am, I am homesick!
You were only five when your family moved to Indonesia. Do you remember much about it and have you been back in your adult years?
I remember our house, and the joint-embassy school I went to, I remember going to Bali in the 70’s and staying in Sanur at Batujimbar in a villa on the beach, the smells!! Frangipani everywhere, the offerings, I remember my mother- her glamorous expat aesthetic, all batik and shoulder blades, my father and his obligatory 70’s moustache moment …bits and pieces, fragmented, like all memories are….
I remember that my brother David and I spoke fluent Bahasa. Him probably more so-he is a few years younger than me, and in fact, could barely speak English!
I know that all my ideas about style were probably formed during that time, and haven’t shifted much since then.
I have been back a few times since childhood, needless to say, it has changed a lot.
But I love it and feel very connected to it because of that rather magical time in our childhoods.
Not only are you a brilliant actor, but you are also an artist. Do you still have time to paint and draw in amongst your acting jobs
Oh I have PLENTY of time to paint and draw but do you think I do it?! I do not do it enough and have enormous guilt about that.Urghhh now I feel terrible (lol) and will probably have go and draw something. See what you made me do?!!
How long have you been back in Perth for? Are you here for good or has the pandemic played a role in your length of time here?
I returned to Perth in March 2020. I let my flat in Sydney go, and everything I own is in three storage containers over east.
I have no idea where I am going to go when going (or rather, returning) becomes an option. Or even if I am.
All I know is that today I am here in Perth, and my dog loves it. And I'm doing what I love.
You're currently living in Fremantle. Can you tell me what you love about it?
Oh so much to love about it. It's so dog friendly, it feels really alive, particularly down in South Freo, it’s laid back, the people are adorable, it’s humming with creative energy, and then there’s all the coffee, and the food, and the bars. The beaches are ridiculous, it’s very community-oriented, there are nice dogs everywhere to pat. The houses are so pretty. It’s just very, very cute. I’m taking off a point for the wind. Are there any women out there who like wind? It makes me mental.
Perth is setting a few hot weather records of late, how have you been beating the heat?
I don’t beat the heat. The heat beats me I’m afraid. I’m so lucky though because my bedroom is air-conditioned. The other day when we were in the middle of a bit of a heat wave, I went to the servo and bought two bags of ice. I have one of those little plastic clam pools for the dog (and random toddlers) which I dragged around the side of the house, filled with water and the ice, and attempted fit my roasting adult body into. It was a pitiful sight. But quite refreshing! And I try to get into the ocean every day. What a wondrous blessing that is! I do worry about the hot yoga studios though. I wonder how business is going for them? Makes me shudder. I had to cancel my membership.
How did you discover the store and do you have a favourite piece?
Oh yes it’s divine. I used to love going there back in the day when it was in East Freo too.
I have an incredible Spanish lace dress that I got from there years ago, it’s too pretty to wear so it hangs on my wall like a piece of art. It's a beautiful store. Robin has done an incredible job, and her eye is flawless.
You are playing Mary in the upcoming theatre production, Mary Stuart, as part of the Perth Festival. How does it feel performing in front of a home crowd?
I am excited to play in front of a home crowd! But it’s also a little nervous making!Playing dress-ups in front of people who have known you your whole life?!Beyond embarrassing. But if you’re gonna do it, do it in a play by Kate Mulvany and you should be right. That's what I’m telling myself anyway!
You've had an incredible acting career to date, performing extensively across tv, film and theatre. Do you have a favourite acting medium and if so, why?
My favourite acting medium is a good script. If the script is good then it doesn’t matter whether it's tele or stage or film. Having said that, there’s no place like the theatre rehearsal room. That’s where I feel most at home. Most like me. That is where I got infected with this wretched bug in the first place.
What are three things you love about being back in Perth?
Three things I love being back here….
- Being able to hang out with my family all the time.
- The beach.
- How easy it is to park.
Sorry, there’s more than three.
- That I can take my dog to the most beautiful beaches. In Sydney you have to drive miles, and then it's some sad little bay.
- How slow and user friendly it is- according to my phone every time I type in a destination, it’s 7 minutes away and traffic is light.
- Being part of my niece's lives in a meaningful and consistent way. I love them so much and I love that I have become so familiar to them, as opposed to the once a year auntie.
- But mostly that I get to live in the same city as the people I love most in the world- my family- I haven’t done that since I was 24.
- And my dog loves it. Have I said that already….?
Go see Caroline performing as Mary Stuart in the Perth Festival. Link below.
"Kate Walsh is Elizabeth and Caroline Brazier is Mary, two flawed and fascinating women locked in a monumental feud. The stakes couldn’t be higher. An empire is in jeopardy. A queen’s life hangs in the balance."
Interview by Vanessa McCall.
Caroline is dressed in the HOTEL Sahana Dress in Rum & HOTEL Azrou Dress in Golden.
Hair & Make Up by Rebekah Clark.
Photos by Robin Egerton Warburton.