Looking at Miranda now, it is hard to see the difference between the fresh-faced 26-year-old who passed for playing a high schooler in 2000. The actress has barely aged a day.
Maybe the secret to her youthful looks is all thanks to her half-Italian genes, but Miranda has a simple explanation for where she found her fountain of youth.
“I exercise a lot and I eat really good food and drink a lot of wine,” she says. “I try to have a good time and find a lot of balance. And when that fails, it all comes down to yoga. It leaves me feeling physically and mentally like I can take on anything.”
While Miranda has worked steadily since Alibrandi, she does admit roles weren’t always easy to find. “I had 12 months where I didn’t do any acting at all,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I look back and can say I have been successful and done some amazing things, but there was a lot of sitting around the house staring at the phone, too.”
The time was put to good use, with Miranda focusing on raising her family. The actress tied the knot with musician Luke Hanigan in 2001 and the pair share daughter Lily, 13, and son James, 9.
In 2019, she won over a new generation of fans and $500,000 in prize money by dipping her toe into reality TV on Survivor.
“I am obsessed with reality TV and Survivor was something I had been watching for 20 years,” she explains to WHO. “So it was a strange thing for me to throw away the idea of being an actor and head into that as a superfan who thought they’d cracked the formula to win.”
Since then, Miranda hasn’t been afraid to show more of the “real Pia” by taking on Dancing and also belting out tunes as The Thong on The Masked Singer in 2022.
“Survivor opened doors for me because it showed that I was willing to take some risks,” she says. “That’s what happens as you get older, it becomes easier to try new things and see how they go. I don’t feel like I have to be so serious all the time anymore.”
Acting – dramatic and comedic – remains her first love though. Miranda shines in the new Ten mini-series Heat. Alongside co-stars Darren McMullen and Jane Allsop, Miranda plays struggling mum, Sarah Cameron, who heads off on an annual summer holiday with her family and another couple in the Victorian Highlands. As the two groups become trapped in the path of an oncoming bushfire, shocking secrets emerge.
“I hadn’t done drama in a really long time and I was just so excited to play the role of a woman in her late forties who is still searching for happiness and going through lots of deep and emotional stuff,” Miranda reveals. “You don’t get that many amazing roles at my age, so I was really grateful for it.”
In the show, the bushfires act as a type of metaphor for the families, as their lives are also going up in flames. But Miranda is mindful that the audiences watching include people whose real lives have been devastated by catastrophic bushfires that have ripped through the country, particularly during the horror 2019-2020 season. In many cases, communities are still trying to recover.
“It’s something that a lot of us experience, especially that summer, because I was in a fire situation that really terrible summer too,” she says. “But I think it is good to open up and talk about these things and share these experiences and I hope that the people watching think they’ve been dealt with sensitively.”
Despite the seriousness on set, Miranda said the cast and crew had a ball. “Maybe because it was so emotional and taxing when the cameras were rolling, when they weren’t we would all relax and have a good laugh,” she says.
The intense role took Miranda away from her husband and children for a few months for filming. So after a busy year, she is looking forward to taking a bit of a break to focus on family. “Right now, I’m being a mum and just enjoying doing a spring cleaning and dropping the kids off at their sports and activities,” she says. “My husband has some time off too, so I really love just spending quality time together and hanging out.”