The process of getting hair and make-up done, something Lisa McCune knows well, can be long and involved. Even so, at an exclusive photo shoot for TV WEEK in Melbourne, the four-time Gold Logie winner turns the routine into an interactive beauty lesson, grilling the stylists about products and techniques.
"I get all my education on skincare when I'm at shoots," Lisa, 47, confesses with a laugh.
The actress, who rose to fame 24 years ago as beloved constable Maggie Doyle in Blue Heelers, has, in fact, considered her career to be a continuing education in all things domestic and professional.
As Lisa tells TV WEEK on the eve of the premiere of her new show, Network Ten's How To Stay Married: "I think the hardest steps for me to take have also been the best steps I've taken."
That would include a year-long, self-imposed break from acting to focus on her home life. Lisa was keen to spend her days baking, gardening and enjoying time with daughter Remy, 13, and sons Archer, 17, and Oliver, 14, her children with ex-husband Tim Disney.
"I was doing things that I felt were a good fit for me at the time," she says.
But when the acting bug bit once more, Lisa was eager to get back in front of the camera for How To Stay Married. The eight-part comedy is based on characters she and funnyman Peter Helliar (The Project) originated in the 2013 ABC series It's A Date.
Now, lovebirds Greg (Peter) and Em Butler (Lisa) have been married for 14 years and are working hard to keep the romance alive while raising two girls and changing breadwinner roles.
"Emily is one of the closest characters to me that I've ever played, because I'm a mum-of-three, and it's about life and marriage and all the things I've been living for the last 18 years since I had my first baby," Lisa says.
"So it's family, and she's brave, and she wants to go back to work because she feels she's becoming a bit invisible just being a mum. She's looking for her place again, but she and Greg really love each other. There are lovely glimpses of moments of real love between these two – and it's not even daggy! It's just sweet."
For Peter, the series was a chance not only to reunite with Lisa, but to see her develop as a comedic presence.
"She's very modest, Lisa," Peter, 43, tells TV WEEK.
"I had a hard time keeping a straight face on the set a lot of the time! She made every scene funnier, and she was really keen to stretch herself."
Almost proving his point, Lisa jokes that being back on set is like a holiday for her.
"I'm good at being institutionalised," she says with a laugh. "It really suits my personality. I enjoy it because I go to work and get looked after, rather than having to be at home and looking after the kids.
"You go to work and you're fed, and someone helps you cross the road, and they tell you what to do. It's all good!"
For more from our interview with Lisa McCune, pick up this week's issue of TV WEEK. On sale now!
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