My first job was:

When I was about 10 I did some singing for one of my parents' friends who was workshopping a kids' musical she'd written. I'd go round to her place and we'd learn the music and record it.

It taught me… you could get paid for singing work. Also, I was super into musicals at the time, all the Andrew Lloyd Webber ones, so it was a real buzz to feel like I was a "professional" performer.

My big break came… I don't know if I'd call it a big break, but getting into drama school really set me on the path I'm on today. I studied acting at Unitec straight from high school, and it felt from day one like I'd found my tribe. I'm so grateful for that experience.


The last job I quit was… Last year I did some casual nannying for a friend in my last trimester of pregnancy, which - understandably - was why I had to eventually quit.

The most famous person I've ever met is… Again I'm showing my musical theatre nerdiness - probably Elaine Paige. She was the original Eva Peron in Evita, Grizabella in Cats, and as a child, I was obsessed with her. I did a master class she conducted. I sang a song from Jesus Christ Superstar and was so nervous I got the words mixed up.

She was… Thankfully she was completely delightful and complimented me on my ability to inhabit the story in the song - though she laughingly told me the heels I'd worn were too clompy and never to wear them to an audition.

The best time I've had on set/stage was… Every day on Westside is the best. The crew, cast and creatives are all such awesome people and we have a wicked time making that show. I especially enjoy any scene with the lady actors - it's just a shame the gin's not real!

But the worst was… My lines dried up mid-monologue performance once; that was awful. It's every actor's worst nightmare to be standing on stage with a captive audience all looking at you, waiting for you to continue, and you're completely lost with no other actors to help you out of your mind blank.

My dream role would be… Janis in a Janis Joplin biopic. I find her completely fascinating. Though not sure I've had enough whisky and cigarettes to master her vocal tone.

Westside star Esther Stephens performs in 60s girl group tribute band The Up Doos, with Aria Jones and Liv Tennet, Saturday at the Basement Theatre, 9pm.