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Home and Away icon Stephanie Panozzo almost wasn’t cast after health scare

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Renowned actress Stephanie Panozzo nearly lost out on her big acting break during her audition because of a serious health problem.

When Panozzo, 32, was cast as Eden Fowler on the show, which airs on Channel 5 in the UK, it was her big break into the business. She was compelled to move to Sydney’s sandy beaches from her home city of Melbourne in southern Australia to get the job.

But shortly after submitting her application and scheduling an interview, Stephanie received a devastating blow that all but eliminated her from consideration. Although Australia was still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, her first scenes were taped months before she formally joined the soap opera on July 4, 2022.

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, Panozzo revealed that after testing positive for the virus, she nearly lost the part. Even worse, she learned of it the day before her scheduled flight to the Australian capital for her interview.

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She reflected on how she found out she was sick and said, “A few days earlier, I was beginning to feel a little bit of a niggle in my throat. The day before the audition, I took a test, and my results were positive for Covid.”

Stephanie disclosed that she was compelled to conduct her callback interview via Zoom, rather than taking the originally scheduled flight to Sydney. She acknowledged that she did not anticipate she would get hired, even as she struggled with the virus’s symptoms during the interview.

Fortunately for her, she clicked with the band members she would be performing with right away, and they got along like a house on fire. She was therefore taken aback to learn that she had really won the part when she received the call back.

“I was trying to heal from Covid and basically feeling sorry for myself because I thought I didn’t get it,” she said. “And when I received the call, I was ecstatic and startled.

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“I just kind of lost it while I was talking to my representatives on the phone. We simply started dancing when my sister came over, I believe. It was a wonderful moment.”

It happens as a horrific drugs plot aired in the UK next week, Eden’s band Lyrik is scheduled to be jailed. Theo Poulos, played by Matt Evans, continues to slide down the drug rabbit hole with bad influence Valerie Beaumont in dramatic sequences that will air over the next few days.

When Theo informs Valerie that Justin is aware of their practices and that he wants her to move out, it has an impact on Leah Patterson and Justin Morgan’s wedding. Valerie puts the pills in the band’s guitar cases, which has devastating results, but she does it to save the pills and to keep Theo in her life.

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