One of the benefits of being a soapie kid is that you end up with two sets of parents. Take Home and Away's Tammin Sursok, for example. Not only does the recent winner of the TV Week Most Popular New Female Talent Logie, who plays Dani Sutherland in Summer Bay, have a beautiful real-life maternal figure in Julie- she has a second mum in the form of her equally beautiful screen mother Paula Forrest [Shelley Sutherland].
In other words, Tammin has double cause to celebrate this Mother's Day! " I feel very fortunate to have two mums, and it's even better because I consider them both to be friends," says the delightful 17-year-old. "Mother's Day has always been very important to me. It's a chance to show your mum how much you love her, and often kids don't do enough of that.
"I try to spoil Mum all year round, which makes Mother's Day more of a challenge. I have to think to myself, "What can I do to make this even better?' But, really, the main thing is to spend time with Mum."
When TV Week brought the trio together for our flower-filled cover shoot, fun and frivolity was the order of the day. Paula and Julie chatted like old pals and revealed a similar attitude to the annual celebration. "Mother's Day is not about gifts and material things," says Julie, who's also mum to Tammin's older brother Shaun. "To me, it's a day to spend quality time with your children".
"They are always wonderful, making me cards and spoiling me all day. They always cook me a meal- and even if they burn it, it's still very special!"
As the real-life mum to two young boys-three-year-old Darcy and four-year-old Angus-Paula also looks forward to a day filled with love and laughter. "Mother's Day has become important to me," she says. "The boys aren't really old enough to understand fully what it means, but I should get breakfast in bed, which will be lovely."
Tammin says it's 'wonderful' to have a real family and a screen family, but it can also get confusing. In Summer Bay, Dani and Shelley share a close bond- just like Tammin and Julia! " It can be very odd," Tammin reveals. " I spend the day shooting scenes with Paula, going through all these problems, then I go home and go through the same sort of problems with Mum. I'm living the same life twice-it's almost like the movie Groundhog Day!
"Of course, it's also fun, as you've got someone to talk to all the time for 24 hours...but on the other hand, you also have someone telling you what to do 24 hours a day!"
Just as Tammin finds the experience bizarre, Julie feels disoriented when she watches Home and Away. "It's strange to watch someone else play her mum, because you think, 'That's my job!'" she laughs. "Recently, there was a scene where Shelley was giving Dani a serve, and I aws sitting at home getting all indignant and thinking,'Hey, Paula, don't shout at her.' But then again, Dani deserved it! "I often recognise little nuances in Dani that Tam also does at home. The real her comes through. I'm pleased that Shelley actually listens to the kids, which is what I try to do at home with Tam and Shaun.
"It's quite funny for me because I look at Paula and I look at Tam and I think they look alike," Julie continues. "They could be mother and daughter-it's bizarre! Paula is lovely, and if I have to share Tam with anyone I'm glad it's her."
There are a few differences between Shelley and Julie, according to Tammin. "Don't get mad when I say this, Mum," she begins, looking at Julie, "but the main difference with Shelley is that she's always calm and understanding."
"She has only really shouted at Dani once or twice, which is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. Actually, I think Dani needs a big kick. When I do scenes with Paula, I often think,'I could never get away with saying this to my real mum.'"
Playing screen mum to Tammin and her "sisters" Kirsty[ Christie Hayes] and Jade[Kate Garven]takes Paula back to her own childhood as one of four girls. "When I had my two boys, I thought, 'What am I going to do? I don't know anything about boys!'" she laughs. "I worked it out, of course, but it's still nice to play Shelley as the mum to three teenage girls, which is very similar to my own family."
Watching Tammin and Julie interact, Paula believes the key to a successful mother-daughter relationship is communication. "Dani and Shelley communicate well, and that's reflected with Julie and Tammin," she observes. "I think that's what being a good parent is about. The idea is to always keep those lines open."
Not that Tammin wants Paula and Julie to do too much communicating! "I'm glad that they know each other and they get along, but I'm not sure I want them going out to coffee together," she admits. "The last thing I need them to do is start swapping notes about me!"