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Asher Keddie Talks Career Milestones, Motherhood, and Turning 50

The actress tells WHO about her new show Strife, the family juggle and her upcoming milestone birthday
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As one of the country’s leading actresses, Asher Keddie no doubt has her pick when it comes to the projects she chooses to take on. But when she was approached to produce and star in the new dramedy series, Strife, the 49-year-old didn’t even think twice.

“Strife was just a no-brainer for me,” Keddie tells WHO of the highly anticipated TV series. “When [the production company] Made Up Stories asked me to be in it and to partner with them and produce it with them, I just saw it as one of the most wonderful opportunities of my life … it couldn’t have been better, really.”

Watch Below: Strife | Official Trailer | BINGE

Inspired by Australian media mogul Mia Freedman’s memoir, Work, Strife, Balance, the series follows fictional editor Evelyn Jones (Keddie) and her journey from lounge room blogger to becoming a full force in women’s media.

“We meet her when she’s really still traumatised after a public dismissal from a large magazine,” Keddie explains of her character. “She’s lost her confidence as an executive and editor, but really, just mostly as a writer. She has lost her voice … And I guess along with what we know to be a relentless juggle of work and motherhood and everything that comes with running a household, there are other challenges that emerge when we first meet her too.” 

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Keddie teases that there are “complexities and surprises throughout” Strife, including unannounced guest roles. (Credit: Getty)

In a world where the media landscape is constantly evolving, the story’s setting stuck out for Keddie. “It’s an interesting time, and that’s what really drew me to it to, that it looks at a moment in time between 2010 and 2012, when it was the proliferation of the start-up. And Mia was such a big part of that,” she says.

“And what began then too was women really using their voices … but also it was the beginning of cancel culture and outrage culture and navigating that and the cost personally as well as professionally.” 

Although Keddie has made a name for herself playing relatable and inspiring women – à la Nina Proudman in Offspring and Ita Buttrose in Paper Giants – Evelyn is someone that the actress felt like she could connect with on an even deeper level. “I guess I understand the relationship between female ambition and motherhood. And I think it’s something that we’re slowly beginning to not apologise for anymore,” the actress explains.

“I find that interesting, that only 12 to 15 years ago we were apologising for it, or we felt that we needed to, and I think that we’ve come a long way in that sense. I’m not feeling like I need to apologise for it the way I may have once felt, and I certainly see that in my female colleagues as well – that it’s OK to feel ambitious but also to be a parent and to not see it as a tricky relationship as such, anymore.”

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Keddie says her youngest Valentino, “is very much into entertaining” like her. “He’s a funny character,” she tells WHO. (Credit: Binge)

That realisation has come at a valuable time in Keddie’s career. After her award-winning role in Offspring, the actress has continued to soar on the small screen in series such as Nine Perfect Strangers and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. And while those roles, and this one in Strife, have seen her spend time away from her husband, artist Vincent Fantauzzo, step-son Luca and their son together Valentino, the family “just make it work”. 

“We all support each other,” Keddie shares. “It’s the way life’s always been in our family, so everyone rolls with it. We’re very organised and when travel is required, which is a lot for me, we just make it work for everybody. The kids always come first.”

Finding that elusive balance has allowed Keddie to take on more opportunities, such as producing another series, Fake, in which she also will star. “It requires a lot, it is a lot, producing as well as performing, but I really enjoy it,” says the star. “And I really feel like I’ve found a partnership in Made Up Stories in particular that is just so fulfilling and so joyous that I’d like to continue it.”

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“I still hear, almost on a daily basis, people talking about Offspring or contacting me about it or making a comment or posting something,” Keddie says of the much-adored series. “I like to say it’s the gift that keeps on giving.” (Credit: Binge)

With her professional and personal life in good stead, it’s no wonder that Keddie possesses a quiet confidence as she creeps ever closer to a milestone birthday next year – despite being in an industry that has always favoured youth. “I heard it, as a young woman, over and over and over: ‘Quick! You’ve got to get moving now! This is the window! Your twenties is it!’ But the notion of that seemed silly to me, I suppose,” she explains.  

As for turning 50, Keddie admits that she “genuinely feels fine” about it. “I don’t know if I will the week before I do turn 50, but at the moment I feel fine about it,” she insists. “I’m busy and I’m happy and I don’t have time to really think about it.” 

Stream Strife now on BINGE with a 7-day free trialSubscribe here.

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