Playing Rachel McKenna on Shortland Street, Angela Bloomfield has been a household name since she was 19 years old.
Having been an avid fan of shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race, the actress figured she was more than ready for whatever Celebrity Treasure Island had in store.
However, after butting heads with some of her more macho camp mates, who labelled her “weak” and couldn’t handle taking instructions from women, the “proudly sensitive” star, 48, admits she was “naïve”, adding, “My personality is unsuitable for reality TV.”
Here, the mum of two reveals to Woman’s Day how she’s coping with her return
to the spotlight and what we haven’t seen behind the scenes of the TVNZ 2 series…
What has it been like for you watching the show at home?
It’s been a journey! It’s so weird because I’m used to watching myself on the telly, but as an actor, I’m someone who isn’t me – it’s not my clothes, my behaviour or my choices. But on Treasure Island, that’s no one else but me on the screen.
It was a very heightened, emotional experience and those feelings do come back. At first, my tummy would get tight and there was a rising dread, but now I’m trying hard to watch it with a slight disconnect and just enjoy it, which I do for the most part now.
What’s the hardest thing to watch?
It’s not so much the challenges – it’s all the conversations you’re having about people and what they’re saying about you. I can get a bit judgmental of myself. But I’m really enjoying the response from my family, friends and people on social media, which pulls me out of being judgey. I needed that support. I’ve realised it’s okay to have done something bold and fight for an all-female finale. It was fun in the moment, it’s fun now and we made some money for charity, which is what it’s all about.
Did you go on Treasure Island with that girl-power strategy?
I didn’t even go on with the intention of winning – I just wanted to be there beyond a few days! I didn’t really think I’d be a contender, but I figured I’d try my hardest. When I met Lana [Searle], I relaxed a bit and thought, “Let’s spice this up!” The all-female finale wasn’t even my idea – it was something Kim [Crossman] had said to me before we were even unleashed on the island and it stuck with me. It made me think, “Let’s get up to mischief and overthrow the men.” Why not? I mean, it was three men in the end last time this show was on telly.
Did your acting skills come in handy?
Oh, there was a lot of acting! I was reading people and giving a performance. It was fun to be able to do what I know how to do. Mostly in the challenges, but also in terms of holding yourself together in that environment. There were moments the façade crumbled – like, I’m a celebrity, get me out of here! – but I had to participate and put that coat of armour on, no matter how homesick, hungry or tired I was.
Get in there and smash that egg on my face! I know Anna [Simcic] wasn’t feeling right for a few days, where she was missing her kids and didn’t know what to do beyond pack her bags, but as soon as I saw a camera on me, I knew what I was there for.
Despite the butting of heads, did you make any new friends on the show?
Absolutely. Lana and I are in completely different cities, but we miss each other. We thought we’d be watching a couple of episodes together, even though she’s in Christchurch, so it’s been really weird to watch it in this disconnected way. There’s definitely a handful of people who, as soon as we can, are getting together to have a wine!
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