Even if you’ve never watched an episode of Home and Away in your life, you probably recognise Ada Nicodemou.
The Sydney-based actress has been on our screens since 1994, when she starred in the oh-so nineties drama Heartbreak High. Since then she’s had roles in Breakers, The Matrix and for 15 years now, Home and Away.
These days Ada, 37, juggles her busy shooting schedule with raising her adorable two-year-old son Johnas. This year she’s also an ambassador for Priceline Pharmacy’s Beauty of You campaign, which celebrates the beauty and wellbeing of Aussie women.
Though her life seems incredibly glamorous, you probably have more in common with Ada than you realise. She listens to Madonna while cleaning the house, she's currently hooked on Game of Thrones and The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills, and she gets her husband, chef Chrys Xipolitas, to apply her fake eyelashes for her.
Wait — don't you...?
How has your perception of 'beauty' changed with age?
"I think I’m easier on myself. You just get more comfortable with yourself and you don’t beat yourself up about stuff. Also 'less is more', to a point — when you’re younger you put so much makeup on, and now you don’t have as much time. Looking after my skin and using the right products for my skin are also really important the older you get."
You've had an incredibly hard 12 months. What would you say to anyone who's trying to cope with adversity or bad news?
"I just think go and get help, always speak to people. I also think physical health is just as important as mental health — these days we’re starting to talk about that a lot more." (NB: Ada and Chrys' second child, Harrison, was stillborn late last year.)
Have you ever fallen for any terrible beauty fads?
"You know the bleach you put on your upper lip? I was really young and I decided I wanted to have a bit of blonde in my hair. So I put it in my hair, and it just went orange. It was so bad. I also used to do the dark liner around the lip with a lighter lipstick and face — it was really nineties. I look back at old Logies photos, actually, and go 'Oh god'." (Post continues after gallery.)
As a mum, what are your bathroom cupboard essentials?
"I had never tried dry shampoo up until about two years ago — it is amazing! I think a foaming cleanser’s good, it’s efficient, it gets rid of everything fast. Also, there’s an awesome nipple cream called Lanisoh you use when you’re breastfeeding, that is actually really good lip balm, and I only discovered that once I had Johnas. I never needed to use it around my nipples, but I used it on my lips!" (Post continues after gallery.)
What's your approach to exercise?
"When I can, I get up in the morning and exercise — sometimes it might only be for 20 minutes. I’ll race to the gym at 5am, which is crazy, but I just feel I can get through anything if I’ve exercised in the morning. I like training with a trainer. I love doing spin, and boxing as well, and going for a walk. I wish I loved to run, and I try to do it, but I don’t really like running."
How the hell do you get out of bed at 5am?
"I don’t press snooze. I think the minute you start snoozing, you’re going to stay in bed. I just always know once I’m there I feel so much better, that I don’t even think about it. I have all my clothes already laid out, my water bottle filled up, my bag packed, and I just get to the gym and exercise. The minute you think or say stuff to yourself, you’re not going to get there."
What do you like best about the Beauty of You campaign?
"The campaign is all about embracing women of all different shapes, sizes, cultures, backgrounds. It’s positive, and it’s how I like to live my life as well – a great balance of looking good and feeling good. I love having my red wine and eating my desserts but I love going to the gym and eating heaps of veg and fruit, so it’s a bit of everything."
What are your favourite Priceline buys?
"Bioderma, the [micellar] water – love that. There’s a cleanser called Neostrata cleanse, and I also love Cetaphil... I wear a lot of makeup at work so I make sure I cleanse properly. I love Nivea Body Firming Body Lotion, too. I use so many products and I get really expensive moisturisers, but I always go back to the Nivea. And mascara — Maybelline mascara’s awesome, you don’t have to spend a fortune."
Any makeup obsessions?
"I love lashes — individuals, curling, heaps of mascara, a heated lash curler as well after you’ve put the mascara on. When I’m going out, I use the Katy Perry lashes and I get [husband] Chris to put them on. You just can’t do it on your own — I always say to Chris, 'Get over here!' And he says, 'Okay, but don’t tell anyone'." Oops.
What's your go-to fast healthy meal?
"If I’m out all day and can’t warm anything up, I always pack a can of three bean mix, a can of tuna, and take some avocado and cucumber, mix it all together. That’s pretty yummy."
And when you need a treat?
"You know what I did after the Logies? I got to the airport and I had a [Krispy Kreme] donut. I was like, 'This is heaven'. I love dessert and anything custardy. I like chocolate but I can live without it; give me a cake, a tart a donut and I’m obsessed. And I love cheese."
Any advice for mums juggling crazy-busy lives?
"Get help. I’m lucky — my husband’s really hands-on and my mum’s quite hands-on as well. I think that’s how I make it work. And I make sure I do something for myself. I put myself first, I know it probably sounds really selfish but I do try and do that. I think if I’m healthy, everyone else around me is going to be healthy. And lists. I have lists for everything, my husband will tell you that."
Oh, go on then. What are your favourite Priceline prods?
As a bond fide 90s gal, we reckon Ada probably owned a few of these...