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Heartbreak High is back with First Nations mob in front and behind the camera

Emma Ruben -

When Australian series Heartbreak High ended on the cusp of the 2000s, so with it went one of the only Aussie coming-of-age teen dramas.

Known for its taboo and salacious topics, the original TV show tackled hard conversations and showcased what multicultural Australia looked like in the 1990s.

So when Netflix announced a reboot for the series in 2020, and the diverse list of cast members in 2021, anticipation quickly built.

In its 2022 iteration, Heartbreak High is back with more than one First Nations actor in its ensemble and First Nations producers and writers behind the scenes.

Part of the cast is Kamilaroi actor Thomas Weatherall who plays main love interest Malakai and Arrernte actress Sherry-Lee Watson who plays Missy.

Weatherall and Watson said, turning up on set and seeing more than one First Nations person part of the project, was a good feeling.

"It's a nice feeling to have," Weatherall said.

"It's a great feeling to have. And it's not even just us mob either" Watson said.


♬ original sound - National Indigenous Times

Weatherall has previously shown off his acting chops in tv shows such as All My Friends Are Racist and Troppo.

Working on set of Heartbreak High, Weatherall said it was reassuring seeing so many First Nations people part of the writing team.

"In kind of the main ensemble there's us but there's people a part of the writing team and production team," he said.

"And that's important as well to feel that connection on set and in a table read and that kind of thing.

"But to actually see other mob around the place and feel good about the inclusivity without it feeling tokenistic."

Watson said knowing other First Nations mob would be working on set with her, reassured her they were going to get the First Nations storyline right.

"It was just really refreshing to be in a kind of safe environment where I was able to express myself and put my own cultural mannerisms into my character," she said.

"Talk the way I talk, walk the way I walk and let that translate.

"I'm very privileged to be kind of part of this first global representation of Indigeneity, of Australia Indigeneity."

Heartbreak High is available to stream on Netflix from September 14.

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