Sunday, September 14, 2014

Alicia Banit

Today I'm going to learn about Alicia Banit. She was one of the stars of Dance Academy. And recently, I saw her as a guest star on Rush.  On that, she played one of two teens tricked into joining up with people smugglers. The girls think they're going to get modeling work in America. They're wrong.

On Dance Academy, Banit played Kat. Kat's the best friend of Tara, and pretty much friend to everyone else. She's the troublemaker with the heart of gold. Trouble more to her teachers than fellow students.

I was thinking of this episode in the first season. I remember Kat saying something beautiful—some tear-jerker thing. They were at some kind of camp. I want to see what it is. I'm going to try to find it on Hulu.

I found it. She's talking to Tara, because they've had a big fight. Then they're making up. Kat says, And it kind of just feels like you put everything ahead of me—ballet and guys. Which is cool because you don't need me. But the thing is...I need you.

It actually looks really blah and insignificant when I write it out. But in the show it was really lovely, and Banit did good with the crying bits.

I thought it was very brave, though. It's hard to admit that we need someone, especially when we feel they don't need us. I think, a lot of times, people try to play-hard-to-get, not just in romantic relationships, but friendships as well.

Although now I'm thinking Kat's lines wouldn't always be heartwarming. It works with Tara, because Tara loves her back. It's just Tara is a bit self-centered at times, and neglectful. She doesn't mean to be ,though, and Kat's little speech is a good wake-up call for her.

But the speech might be a bit awful in situations where there is true rejection. What if you really don't like someone and they say all that stuff about needing you? It would be awkward.

Once I was with people and we were going to be separated from them soon. I loved them more than they loved me. And like Kat, I opened up my soul to them. Well, all I said was something like I'm going to really miss you guys.  And maybe I was a little teary-eyed when I said it.

What did my friend say back to me? It was something like. Dina, do me a favor. Please don't get depressed.

Yeah. That made me feel real good. Hello? Couldn't you have gone with a simple, I'll miss you too.

And maybe she did say that....along with the stupid depression thing.  At the time I was embarrassed for myself. But later I was more embarrassed for her, because it just sounded so...arrogant.

Now I shall shut up and start my learning.

First I'll look at Alicia Banit's bio page on IMDb. There's not much here—just that she was born on September 5, 1990. And she's 5 feet five inches (1.65 meters).

So, what's on her filmography? I'm going to explore that a bit—talk about what I see as highlights.

It looks like Banit started her acting career when she was very young. Her first screen thing was in 1995. She would have been about five years-old. This was in the Rebecca Gibney show Halifax f.p. Banit played the child version of Gibney's character in one of the episodes.

In 1998, Banit played the child version of Miranda Otto's character in a movie called Dead Letter Office.

Here's the trailer. I think Banit is there, but it all goes by so fast. There are young ballerinas, though, so it fits with her future on Dance Academy.

There's a big long break in Banit's career. It's like she had some minor acting jobs as a child, quit (or couldn't find any work), and then came back to it during her teen years.

In 2007, she appeared in seven episodes of Summer Heights High. YouTube has some of her scenes from the show.  Here's one. Banit doesn't have many lines in the scene.

2008 was the year that Banit appeared on the episode of Rush.  She would have been about eighteen by then.

I wonder what Banit was doing from the ages of 9-16.  Anything acting and dance related? Maybe ballet? Theater? Or she could have taken a long break.

Well, actually...it would be ages 9-15. I made another one of my typical IMDb mistakes. Banit returned to the screen in 2006, not 2007. In 2006, she appeared on Neighbours in an episode called "The Russian Always Clings Twice". I don't think Neighbours usually had names for their episodes. Maybe there was something special about this one?

On the episode, Banit played Madison Sullivan.

The Perfect Blend site says Madison Sullivan was a snob. She was impressed with Zeke's football skills and asked him out on a date.

Two years later, Banit returned to Neighbours, and played Sharni Hillman in there episodes.  The Perfect Blend says she was a football skank...or a football groupie. Football impresses her. That's kind of similar to Madison Sullivan.

And her storyline involved Zeke again. Why not just bring her back as Madison Sullivan?

I wonder if any regular viewers recognized Banit? Maybe not, because Madison Sullivan had only one episode. You'd probably have to have a good memory to connect the two.

Before her second appearance on Neighbours, Banit appeared, as Amber, in the first episode of a family show called As the Ball Rings.  Then Banit (as Amber) appeared again in the first episode of the second season. That's interesting.

I just consulted Lord Wiki. He's telling me a lot of things. First of all, it was a five minute show. So I guess it was a filler thing. Second, there's also a US version and a UK version. The original show was Italian, and it ran from 2005-2009.  I think all versions were part of The Disney Channel.

Lord Wiki only talks about the Italian, American, and British versions of As the Bell Rings.  He doesn't mention the Australia one. I'm wondering if there were other versions besides the four. Maybe a Swedish one?

In 2009, Banit was in the first season of Tangle.  She appeared in six episodes as Leah. I can't find much about Leah.

2010 is when Banit started working on Dance Academy. She did that until 2013. And that's the last thing on her filmography. What will happen next in her career?

Does Lord Wiki have anything to say about Banit?

Not really. Well, he says stuff, but it's pretty much the same thing that IMDb said in their filmography.

I'm going to see if there are any interviews with Banit.

I found an Alice Banit site. I think it might be a fan site.  It has a lot of photos. Anyone wanting to see many photos of Banit would probably enjoy the site. Although you could probably also see a lot of photos via Google Images.

This dance website has a joint interview with Banit and her co-star Tom Green.

Banit says the thing she enjoys most about being on Dance Academy was the dancing and acting. She loves both those things, so it's a dream job for her. WAS a dream job. I have so much trouble figuring out whether I should talk about shows in past or present tense.

I mean when she was doing the interview, it was her dream job. But now it's all in the past.

Banit is asked if she's similar to her character. She says, I absolutely relate to my character. Personality wise Kat and I are very similar with us both being the life of the party and quite quirky, but Kat deals with some family situations that aren’t ideal for her and I’ve always had a very close and loving family around me. Kat is more of a rebel than I am so it’s fun to be able to bring that side of me out through Kat.

With this answer and her other answers, in this interview, she seems very political. Maybe plastic. It doesn't seem like a real person. Everything's just so...positive. I'm not sure if it's her or the style of the interview.

It's not like it's a Barbara Walter's interview. She's not being asked to bare her soul.  I'm probably expecting too much.

In the interview, Banit says she's been dancing since the age of four. So she started earlier than Xenia Goodwin.

Banit did her dance training at T-Jam Dance School. Their website doesn't say where they're located, and I can't find them on Google Maps. They're somewhere in Australia.

When Banit was twelve, she got a scholarship for the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.  It's a school for dancers, musicians, and visual artists. It's interesting that they don't include acting.

Banit says her favorite type of dance is hip-hop and tap.

She asked about her acting career, and she doesn't mention Halifax f.p. Maybe IMDb made a mistake? Or Banit didn't like that role? She names Dead Letter Office as her first project.  After that she appeared in skits on Rove and In Melbourne Tonight. Then she took a break from acting and concentrated on dancing for awhile.

Banit is asked what she'd want to be doing if she wasn't on Dance Academy. She says she'd want to still be acting and dancing, and imagines she'd be in America trying to get work here. I wonder why she wasn't on Camp like so many of her Dance Academy co-stars.

Banit is asked to give advice to dancing star hopefuls. She says, the advice I always give is to never give up. The performing industry is tough and cut throat and there are a lot of rejections. You have to not take that rejection to heart and concentrate on your goal. Do as many classes, auditions and performances as you possibly can to get your confidence up and always believe in yourself.

That advice is what people typically give, and it's good advice. The only thing I would change is I'd say it's okay to give up if you're no longer interested. Or you find a new dream. Like Abigail on Dance Academy. I think in the end she gave up her dream of ballet, and picked up another dream. Now I've forgotten what it was. Did she go into musicals? Or maybe she did stick with ballet.

Anyway...I think it's okay to give up if we no longer feel the passion, or something's not bringing us joy. But I definitely agree that we should NEVER let rejection be a reason for giving up.

There's no one in the world who can give you absolute confirmation of whether you're good or not.

Here's an ABC video interview with Banit.

It's pretty much just one of those things where a cast member gives you hints of what's going to happen in the upcoming season. I used to watch those for The Walking Dead, and it was so frustrating. People talk and talk, but they really don't tell you anything.

Now they're taking fan questions. This might be fun.

The first question is whether any of the actors like the character in their show. I was reading about Lisa Chapelle the other day, and the reasons behind her leaving McLeod's Daughters. And it seems she didn't like her character. Or she said she was too different from her. But in a way, that doesn't make sense. Aren't a lot of actors different from their characters? As Carlton Cuse says to Freddie Highmore in this hilarious video,  Well, you play Norman Bates. Let's hope you're not Norman Bates.  So my guess is Chapelle actually didn't like Clair McLeod.  Not that she would think Clair McLeod is a bad person, but she might have found it difficult to relate to her. Or maybe Claire just wasn't her type of person.

Back to Banit's answer. She says they all like their characters. She says she loves Kat. I love Kat too. I pretty much love all the characters on Dance Academy.

I thought there were going to be many questions. But there was only one.

I'm very excited. I loved Xenia Goodwin's video about her home. Banit has one too!

At the time of the video, Banit was living in a Sydney apartment.

She sleeps with teddy bears. I won't laugh at her. I'm almost 42, and I still have stuffed animals on my bed. Maybe I'll outgrow it when I'm 80.

Banit says she usually lives in Melbourne. So this apartment is a temporary thing.

She says she's not a great cook. I'm not sure if that's true, or if she's being modest.

She says she likes living alone because she can be on her own schedule. She's free. But she misses her friends and family.

Banit puts post-it notes around her house to remind herself of things. That's a good idea. Maybe I should do that. Although I think my forgetting comes into play more often with names, especially celebrity names. I'm okay at remembering the people who are actually in my life. But famous people and characters? My mind goes blank. There's probably no point in writing their names all over my house with post-it notes. I can usually just consult IMDb.

Oh! And I forget book plots. I was thinking I should write summaries on post-it notes and stick it on the book. But what's the difference between that and looking at the summary on the back of the book?  Plus, I get most books from the libraries these days.

Now Banit is showing us her gym and giving details about her exercise routine. She uses the treadmill almost everyday. I hate treadmills. I'll use one if desperate, but mostly I find them torturous.

She goes on a machine that shakes you. It reminds me of the exercise thing on The Carrousel of Progress.

Banit shows off her view, which is the Opera House and the bridge. But when she shows it, she's not by a window. She's outside on the ground. When people say "view" don't they usually mean the scene they see when they look out from their window?

Maybe her window is very dirty, so they're showing the view in a creative way.

She has an obsession with shopping for shoes and jewelry. I like knowing little trivial things like that.

She likes jeans and converse shoes.  And Kat does too. But Banit feels she's more fashionable than Kat.

Banit doesn't like wearing skirts. She's like the opposite of me. I like wearing skirts, but I don't like wearing jeans. I did wear jeans yesterday. I walked to the library in them. The thing with me and jeans is I'm fine standing and walking in them, but I hate sitting in them. I feel so confined—in my waist, obviously; but also my knees. It's like they won't bend easily.

Now we're going to see Banit's favorite Sydney beach.

It's Balmoral Beach.  Where is that again?

Google Maps shows it as being up north. It's a five minute drive from Taronga Zoo. And it's a fourteen minute drive from Kirribili, Banit's neighborhood. I wonder if there's a ferry that can take her there. I think there IS a Balmoral ferry.

Well, the Neutral Bay Ferry stops at Kirribili, but I'm not sure if any of the other stops are near Balmoral Beach.

I don't think so.

Here's Alicia Banit's Twitter.  There's some fun stuff here.

Now I know that Banit likes sushi.

A few days ago, she went to a 1st birthday party.

On September 11, she seemed worried about getting sick. I wonder if she did or not.

Her favorite flower smell is jasmine.

She's in Melbourne. I figured she'd go back there since Dance Academy is over. I wonder if she misses Sydney at all.

She's very conversational on Twitter.  I like when people are conversational on Social Media. Plus, she talks to both fans and fellow celebrity-people.

Now I'm going to look at Banit's Instagram.  The most recent picture is of two girls. Maybe one is Banit.  It has either a drunk vibe, or a lesbian vibe. Or maybe both.

She has a funny quote in one of her posts. I'm not sure if she made it up, or got it elsewhere. It says, my favourite thing is when people post oatmeal and they're like "I'm keeping it simple today" and it's like vanilla bean matcha thai toffee coffee oats with cocoa nibs, caramelized star fruit, and bewitched pecan butter with barbecued bananas captured in the trees of Narnia.

I think that's hilarious and adorable. If Banit did write it, maybe she should add writing to her hobbies and talents.

For Father's Day, Banit has a picture of her dad. And I love the message she posted. Happy Father's Day to my papa bear and all the wonderful dads out there. I am so lucky to call my dad mine. So much love and light to those who have angels watching over them today and to the strong women who are being a mother and a father.

I often think of those things on Father's Day and Mother's Day. For some people, it's a really sad and difficult reminder. If you've lost someone, I imagine every holiday is hard. But Mother's Day and Father's Day really drives it home. And it's not just death that makes it hard for some people. As Banit says, there are single parents having to do it alone. And also what about people who are/were abused by the parent they're supposed to celebrate?

Her September 1 post is a poster about winning free plane tickets to the US. I get the sense that she's interested in coming here.

Five months ago, she had a post that sounds a bit like something from The Secret.—the whole power of attraction thing.  The title is "It's All In Your Mind". I don't feel like typing it all out. If you're interested, click on the link.

I will type out this other quote. Again, I don't know if it's from Banit, or something she found. By the way, she didn't write the Power of Attraction thing.  She posted it as being said by anonymous.  With this following quote and the oatmeal one, she doesn't have an author written down. So maybe she is the one making them up.  Anyway, this one says, if someone says you put too much Nutella on your bread, stop talking to them. You don't need that negativity in your life.

Amen to that!

Unless you're diabetic. Then maybe someone should say something.

I just Googled the Nutella Quote, and I'm seeing it elsewhere.  So Banit probably isn't the inventor of that quote.

Here's a picture of Banit interacting with tigers. In the caption, she is very adamant that she's against animal cruelty, and she believes these tigers are treated well.

I'm very glad she's aware of the issue, and she probably is right about the tigers being treated okay. But you do have to be very careful. For your own safety yes. But also for the well-being of the tiger. Recently, I saw some horrible story about tigers being drugged and mistreated in other ways in order for them to be docile enough for cuddles from tourists.

Here's a 2010 Time magazine editorial about a woman who visited Thailand's Tiger Temple and now has moral regrets over it.  Banit mentioned being in Thailand for her tiger experience. I wonder if it was the same place.

I'm not a big fan of any situation where an animal is forced to be cuddled, touched, or photographed with tourists. I've done it, though. I've held a snake that might not have wanted to be held by me.  My parents paid a ton of money so the whole family could be in a tank with a dolphin. Whether or not, an experience involves animal cruelty, it just feels false to me. It's like prostitution. You're paying an animal( well, it's owner's, really) to be your friend for a few minutes.

I like free and natural encounters. I had one yesterday. On the way to the library, I found a beetle on it's back. I went to flip it over, and it grabbed on to my finger. Tightly! And it wouldn't let go. I tried prying it off, and it seemed a bit stalkerish. I wasn't ready for our friendship to so quickly reach that level of intensity. Also, I wondered whether I'd be kicked out of the library for bringing an insect inside. Fortunately, it all had a happy ending. I sat down in the garden outside the library, put my finger and the beetle next to a leave. He immediately left me for the bush.

I think it would be wonderful to meet a tiger in the wild. You think he's going to eat you. But he's a nice tiger. He gives you rides on his back while you eat slices of exotic fruit.

But to be of one of many tourists who paid for the tiger's attention? He might not be treated well. And that's horrible. If the tiger is treated well, that's good. But your relationship...it doesn't really exist. Better to find love with more attainable friend.  Like a beetle or the neighborhood cat.

Speaking of tigers not eating you.... That fits well with this post from Banit. It's a picture of a lion and it says, If you expect the world to be fair with you, you're fooling yourself. That's like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn't eat him.

I like that. I've heard people say things about the world being good to you if you're good to it (or other people). I don't believe that. I think I've put out much more niceness towards others than what's come back to me. On the other hand, I've done much more complaining about the world than the world has complained about me. So I'd say we're about even. I mean I'm nice to people, but then I bitch a lot about them not being so nice back to me.  But maybe while they're not as nice to me, they don't go around bitching about me.   (probably cause they're not thinking of me)

I could probably enjoy spending many hours looking at Alicia Banit's Instagram account. But I need to get ready for dinner.  We're eating at the Food Truck place tonight. We haven't been there in quite awhile.