H20 Star Phoebe Tonkin Talks TV For Big Kids

Finding wholesome, quality television that your big kids will enjoy can be a tricky business. That’s why we’re excited to hear that all three seasons of the hit Teen Nick series H20: Just Add Water were released on DVD this week. The show—which originally aired in Australia several years ago but has now gained a worldwide audience—focuses on three teenage girls who find their lives changed forever when they become mermaids with magical powers. The best part? H20 is often commended for its strong female characters and positive messages for kids.

I recently spoke with Phoebe Tonkin, one of the stars of the show (she plays Cleo, in the center of the photo). Here’s what she had to say about her work and what it’s like to be a role model for girls:

H20 was your first television job. What was that like?

It was incredibly exciting. I hadn’t ever acted professionally before, and it was a big change from drama class at high school. But I was lucky that Cariba [Heine, on the right], Claire [Holt, left] and I were all in the same boat, so we all learned over the course of the series together.

The show is praised for its positive messages for girls. Was that important to you?

Of course. Throughout the show, the main priority for these girls was their loyalty to each other. The message that stayed consistent during H20 was that friendship is very important, despite the magical elements. That was the biggest underlying theme.

What message would you like young girls to take away from the show?

That leaning on your friends, especially as you are growing up and going through changes, will make everything a lot easier, and a lot more fun!

You finished the show quite a few years ago now, but it’s coming out now on DVD in the US, and it’s been gaining a following here over the last few years. Is that strange for you?

It is! Its so flattering when I hear a young girl with an American accent come up to me on the street and express how much she loves H20. It was always a big goal for us when we were filming to get it into the US, so it’s really amazing that it has been so well received here.

Is there anything else you think parents or kids should know about H20?

The three characters that we play are very real, and even though they are put in the extreme situation of becoming magical mermaids, their issues are very real: boys, school and growing up. And there is always a valuable lesson to be learned at the end of each episode.

Image and video courtesy of Flatiron Films

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