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Kiwi Soap star Claire Chitham comes clean about her car history, acting career, book on ‘Good Living’ and her new MG Motors NZ Ambassadorship.

What got you into acting?

According to my  mother, I’ve been acting since I came out of the womb. Apparently I was performing at the age of 5 in school in a raincoat and galoshes, doing some ‘Singing in the Rain’ and at the age of 8 I landed lead in the my acting class’s end of year production of Pinocchio – I cut my hair and played the little boy that could.

Claire Chitham MG Motors NZ

First break?

I was 12 years old and it was the NZ adventures of Black Beauty. It was such a huge thing for me. Being woken up at 5am and taken to Bethells Beach, being plied with as much Milo as I wanted (now it’s free coffee).  

Claire says that after Black Beauty she did a few TV commercials and was ‘Robert D Frog’ in a video for schools teaching children not to waste water.

Big break

I was halfway through my 5th form at school when Shortland street called. The role of Waverly was meant to only be 5 weeks long, but they just liked her and kept finding things for her to do – I ended up being there for about 8 years in total.

Claire then went on to do another Kiwi hit ‘Outrageous Fortune’ and ended with her being hit by a bus and she next appeared in Aussie Soap sensation Neighbours.

Her latest acting role ‘a Kiwi version of Midsummer night’s dream’ in the Sydney Opera house, however, Covid has currently put that project on hold. 

TV, Film and Stage, which is your favourite?

I started on stage and absolutely adore film and TV, but there is something about the art of acting on stage that I find the best.

Claire Chitham MG Motors NZ

What about your car history?

I basically learnt to drive in my dad’s V8 Holden Calais, driving 45 minutes from home to the Shortland Street set every day. I then got a Mazda Familia 323 Sedan, and I drove that like there was still a V8 in it. I love driving and I love driving fast.

My favourite car (aside from the MG) was a Mitsubishi Pajero, 2-door, short wheelbase soft top. It was like an Army green Jeep. I just loved being up high, it had 18-inch radials and they were the only things that I had to change. I owned it for 11 years. 

Why be the Ambassador of MG Motors NZ?

Last year I wrote a book about health and wellbeing and MG were looking for people that imbued their ethos of celebrating life in general, being grateful for things and not taking things for granted. So when they came to ma and started talking about that philosophy I was really interested and intrigued.

I like the fact that they’re a new company in their current iteration and I have a soft spot for the legacy of MG and their racing cars. I should have a classic racing green MG in my (fictitious) celebrity garage. 

Current ride?

I have an MG ZST Essence. It has a D-Shape racing steering wheel, racing red MG embossed seats, round air vents, full length sunroof, and the ZST is a turbo.

I love the design, the big grille on the front, and the way it drives. It’s compact and light for a small SUV. I really like the display screen and 360-degree camera. And there’s a lot of room in the cabin and the boot.

With the suspension and seats, it’s really comfortable and I like the driving experience, I feel like I’m in charge of the car. I’ll never be excited about self-driving cars. 

Your book?

I have a passion for all things health and wellbeing. I became a Pilates teacher around 15 years ago and have studied many different modalities and that led me to co-write a book called ‘Good For You’ about how we can all live happier and healthier lives. That wellness isn’t about perfection and things that are unattainable but actually within our reach if you know what you’re looking for.

(Much like the MGs.)

Claire Chitham MG Motors NZ

When not driving MG’s, Claire is working on the other side of the camera, writing screenplays and learning how to Direct. So, keep an eye out for her behind the wheel of an MG, behind the computer, behind the camera or behind keeping you healthy and happy.

Thanks Claire.

Picture and video credit – Tez Mercer Photography

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