Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Rachel Carpani

Rachael's star on the rise at Drovers Run

When Rachael Carpani won her dream role on McLeod’s Daughters, she was convinced she would soon be sacked.

“If you told me four and a half years ago that I would still be here, I would have laughed,” she admits.

“I was literally waiting to get fired for the first six weeks of working on McLeod’s Daughters. I only deferred from university for half a semester.”

Carpani, 25, had auditioned for another role on the hit Channel Nine family drama series before she was selected to play Jodi.

“I originally auditioned for Becky—who was the town bad girl—but the producers thought I looked too sweet,” she recalls.

With the series star Bridie Carter due to film her last scenes on McLeod’s Daughters in September (although she will be on-screen until early next year), Carpani is fast emerging as the popular show’s other big star.

“The only thing I’ve noticed is longer hours,” she jokes about her rising status. “It’s great to get good storylines, but the hours are definitely a lot longer.”

After Carter leaves the show that made her famous, Carpani’s character will take on an even more pivotal role, with a budding romance with Rob Shelton (new cast member Jonny Pasvolsky) and a revelation later this month that will rock Drover’s Run.

And with McLeod’s Daughters now airing in prime time on US cable network WEN [sic], it could even prove to be a Hollywood launching pad for the talented young actress.

Carpani was studying journalism at Sydney’ Macquarie University, and acting in her spare time, when she won the life-changing role of ditzy Jodi Fountain four years ago.

“I was just starting my third year when I was asked to audition,” she says.

Carpani, who grew up riding motorbikes in Sydney’s north-west, had only done a few bit parts, including a guest role on All Saints, when she moved to Adelaide for McLeod’s Daughters in 2001.

“It sounds really cliched but it really did happen by accident’” she says.

“I did a drama class three days a week after school because my mum wanted me to get involved with a few extracurricular activities.

“I rally only ever did dance and ballet and refused to go anywhere near sport because I’m really not sporty at all.

“She was at her wits’ end and enrolled me in a drama class—I think to just stop me annoying her in the afternoon—and I just loved it”

An agent spotted her at one of her classes and if it wasn’t for her parents stepping in, Carpani may have ended up as another blonde in Summer Bay.

She turned down the chance to audition for Home and Away when she was just 14 in order to concentrate on her schooling.

“I started going for auditions but my parents were very insistent on me concentrating on school. They wouldn’t let me go for any full-time roles,” she says.

“They never really gave me a choice, which I’m grateful for now, but at the time I really didn’t think it was fair.”

When she was at school, Carpani never imagined a career in acting was possible—she couldn’t believe someone would pay her to do something she loved so much.

“I was just waiting until I turned 14 and nine months—to get a job at McDonalds,” she laughs.

McLeod’s Daughters, which co-stars Simmone Jade MacKinnon, Aaron Jeffery, Brett Tucker and Michala Banas, is filmed entirely on location on a farm outside Adelaide, South Australia.

Although the romantic story of an all-woman sheep station in rural Australia has won fans around the world, Carpani admits readily she and her co-stars are not exactly expert farmhands.

“We know how to do quite a lot of things but we would be absolutely lost without the horse wranglers—the real farmers—who teach us how to do everything, or at least make it look like we know how to do everything,” she says.

“I can ride a horse. I don’t think I can fix a tractor but I can drive one. I can dive a manual car now. I could ride motorbikes before I came here but I couldn’t drive a manual car.”

She won’t be rushing to shear a sheep.

“We know how to do it but it is one of the hardest things I have ever learnt how to do on this show.”

McLeod’s Daughters, Wednesday, 7.30pm, Nine

By Phillip Koch
TV Week
August 2005 (?)