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EXCLUSIVE: Claudia Karvan opens up about mastitis, the “unhinging” experience of growing up in the spotlight and her new series Bump

''I wasn’t as optimistic.''

By Helen Vnuk
Claudia Karvan was keen to know what her teenage daughter Audrey would think of her new series, Bump.
Claudia, who is co-creator as well as star of the show, says she drew "a hundred per cent" from her own experiences as a parent.
"My daughter [Audrey, who's 20 this year] loves the show," Claudia, 48, tells TV WEEK.
"She said, 'I'm so proud of you, Mum.' I said, 'Did you recognise anything in there that you said?' and she said, 'Yeah, a few things, but I wasn't sure if I'd just thought them or said them out loud!'"
Claudia co-created and stars in Bump. (Stan)
In Bump, Claudia plays Angie, the mother of high-achieving schoolgirl Oly, who gives birth without even realising she was pregnant. In one episode, Oly goes through the horrific pain of mastitis, something else that Claudia took from real life.
"I had mastitis when Audrey was six months and I was shooting Secret Life Of Us," she remembers.
"You've suddenly got a temperature of 40 and your bones are aching and your boob is just like a big blind pimple. You don't forget mastitis."
With so much truthfulness in Bump, it's no wonder the series has become Stan's biggest-ever premiere.
Claudia says the show's young stars – including Nathalie Morris, who plays Oly, and Carlos Sanson Jr, who plays the baby's father Santi – are "coping very well" with the attention.
Fans loved Claudia in Secret Life Of Us. (Supplied)
Claudia, just 14 when she starred opposite Judy Davis in 1987 drama film High Tide, says she was a lot more "cynical and judgemental" at their age.
"I found the whole publicity experience sort of unhinging," she says. "I wasn't as optimistic and I wasn't as good at it as they are, for sure."
Since filming on season one wrapped, Claudia has continued to see a lot of Nathalie and Carlos.
"I'm a bit in love with those two," she admits. "The whole cast bonded, but a lot of people had to head home to Brisbane and Melbourne. Luckily for me, Carlos and Nat live in Sydney, so we go bushwalking and to life-drawing classes and whatever's going on."
How cute are these co-stars? (Instagram)
In addition to plotting the storylines for Bump's second season, Claudia has plenty to keep her busy. She's working on a documentary for the ABC about Australian novels, and, following on from Dancing With The Stars last year, more reality TV is a possibility.
In the past, she's been tempted by shows with a "social justice focus or ancestral focus", but the timing hasn't been quite right.
"But I'm pretty open-minded," she adds.
Then there's the upcoming Netflix reboot of Heartbreak High.
Back when Claudia was 19, she starred in The Heartbreak Kid, the feature film that inspired the TV series, so she's taking an interest in the reboot. "I'd be upset if I don't get a cameo in that one!" she says with a laugh.
Claudia starred in film The Heartbreak Kid and would love to appear in the Heartbreak High reboot. (Supplied)
Claudia, who as well as daughter Audrey has a 14-year-old son, Albee, and 30-year-old stepdaughter, Holiday, says she's "fine" with playing a grandmother in Bump.
Age isn't an issue for her, and never has been.
"I'm 48 – I embrace my age," she says, adding that she thinks it's important to let girls, in particular, know that life "just gets better".
"When I was in my twenties, I sort of downloaded this belief that 'Oh, this is my peak, I'm peaking now.' It's like, 'Well, you're not!'
"I feel life just gets richer."
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