How do I begin to describe my love for Kylie Minogue? She was my firstever celebrity obsession – and the first concert I ever went to. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Charlene [her character in Neighbours]. My bedroom walls were covered in Kylie posters. I knew – and still know – the hospital she was born in, and the names of her parents and brother. I wrote her letters every week and would check the letterbox after school every day for a response. A couple of years ago, I posted a #flashbackfriday on my Instagram of me standing in front of my Kylie shrine – and she responded. I was so excited, but I didn’t want to be an annoying fan and message her back. If I ever met her, I would die. She is an inspiration to all Australians. Kylie’s a strong, beautiful and talented woman. Every time I hear “Spinning Around”, I just want to dance – and rock a pair of gold hotpants.
Ada’s icons (clockwise from left): Kylie Minogue, her mum Jenny and best friend Simone.
My mum Jenny was always the head of our household. She worked seven days a week but took me and my brother everywhere. I grew up in a delicatessen, counting back change to customers before I went to school. I get my work ethic from my mum. She’s taught me resilience, strength and how to stick up for myself. As a Greek migrant, she’s had to be a tough woman. My mum didn’t want me to get into acting. She wanted me to go to university and be a lawyer. Her opinion changed when I started working on Heartbreak High and she saw me earning money in a stable job [laughs]. After more than 25 years in the industry, my mum’s proudest moment was when I won Dancing with the Stars [in 2005]. She literally jumped over the barricade from the audience and grabbed the microphone from [host] Daryl Somers on live TV to tell all of Australia how proud she was of me – and to thank the Greek community for voting for me. I would totally do the same thing to my son Johnas now.
I met Simone when I was 21 on the set of a show called Breakers. She was a tall blonde with beautiful skin – and a really good actress as well. I was quite intimidated by her at first. It wasn’t until after the show got axed that we got really close and I realised she was the sweetest girl in the world. We went on a road trip from Sydney to Melbourne and back and talked the entire way – for a whole week! We haven’t stopped talking since then. She lives in New York and works in IT now, so we FaceTime. If I ever have a problem, Simone is the person I go to for advice. She’s been there for me for every break-up and hard time I’ve had in the past 20 years. When I lost my child [a stillborn son in 2014], Simone left work and flew to Hawaii to meet me. Simone is my soul; she’s the light of my life and she’s just a good person.
Ada stars on Home and Away weeknights on Channel 7.
This article originally appeared in marie claire's May 2020 issue.