Miriama's driven and sassy alter ego

By Cindy McQuade -
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The cast of new television series Filthy Rich starring Rotorua-born actor Miriama Smith.
The cast of new television series Filthy Rich starring Rotorua-born actor Miriama Smith.

Miriama Smith reckons growing up in Whakarewarewa in Rotorua helped her learn how to get noticed.

The actress is returning to our television screens next week with a new character she thinks we will enjoy.

She plays Brady Truebridge, the second wife of wealthy John Truebridge who curls up his toes, leaving some unexpected heirs and an unhappy first family to tussle over the legacy.

Smith told the Rotorua Daily Post the new series, Filthy Rich, was fast-paced and addictive and viewers would enjoy the way it bridged the gap between the different socio-economic groups in the country.

"It highlights not just the extreme difference, but the fundamental common threads that make us human," she said.

She said her character was driven, tough and intuitive and there were many things she admired in the Filthy Rich character.

"She might not hold an MBA, but she is streetwise and doesn't suffer fools.

I admire her sassiness. She calls a spade a spade, there is no BS with Brady. She might be polarising, but she underneath she is a loyal woman who only wants the best for those who are close to her," said Smith.

While Filthy Rich might be fast-paced, Smith's life over most of the past three years has been spent away from the glamorous world of acting, and she has literally been getting down to earth in Bay of Plenty soil.

She was born in Rotorua and spent the first four years of her life growing up in Whakarewarewa.

This she said gave her the grounding to put herself forward, something that is essential to a career as an actor.

"Growing up in Whakarewarewa as a toddler meant that we were all born hustlers. Penny diving, being around all those tourists, concert parties. We were never scared to give anything a go. It was open door policy in that village and if you wanted to be noticed you had to put your hand up and shout, not shy away and hide behind a rock."

She moved home to the Bay to commit herself to being a full-time mum to her son, and as well as acting, now grows avocados with her partner in the Western Bay of Plenty.

"The Bay of Plenty really lives up to its name. I love how abundant the area is for kai. I love that the place has so much precious resource, freshwater springs, hot pools, the ocean. We've got it all."

Smith appreciates her life and she has changed greatly over the years of growing up on our television screens.

With maturity, she said her focus had changed from her younger years in the industry.

"When I was younger I was restless, bulletproof and full of ego. My priorities were very different because my motivations were purely selfish, but now that I have a family to consider (my husband and son) my motivation is to be the best person I can be for them professionally and personally."

- The show starts on TV2 on February 15.

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