by Dov Kornits

Tasneem Roc has graced our screens on a regular basis since the late ‘90s. “I started working in Aussie TV a year out of high school, I was 19, that was on Heartbreak High, which was my very first job,” she tells us from her Sydney home.

Coming full circle in a tangential way, we are speaking with Roc today because of her supporting role in multigenerational romcom Mother of the Bride, which recently hit #1 on Netflix; also the home of the Heartbreak High reboot.

This isn’t Roc’s first Netflix production, either, having played a supporting part in the Northern Rivers shot Melissa McCarthy vehicle God’s Favourite Idiot. “The director for that was Michael McDonald,” Roc tells us about her Mother of the Bride co-star.

The pair reunited on the Thailand set of the charming film starring Miranda Cosgrove, Brooke Shields and Benjamin Bratt.

“A couple of years ago I went over to the States,” Roc says. “So now I’ve got a US manager and agent, and this came through the US agent. It was a self-tape, then a Zoom callback, and luckily it was a good response.”

In Mother of the Bride, Roc plays Camala, an international brand manager for a chain of resorts. “She’s apparently flown in from London, especially for this. She’s very A type, very controlling. Her values are all about luxury and fashion.”

With Cosgrove’s character an influencer, Camala’s job is to plan her wedding. “When I got married, I was like the worst bride ever,” laughs Roc. “I was like, ‘oh yeah, it’ll be fine’. And my sister-in-law, who has organised weddings, she’s like, ‘Tas, you are being far too laissez-faire about this! You have to do the seating chart, you have to do this, you have to do that…’”

Apart from the bride, Brooke Shields’ mother of the title is someone else that Roc’s Camala has to negotiate. “My parents tried to have input in my wedding…” remember Roc. “That is the whole point of the movie, they want what’s best ultimately for their child. And it sometimes can be demonstrated in different ways and at a certain time you need to let go and let the child be. The child is no longer a child, the child is an adult. But my parents were pretty chilled out about my wedding. There was a moment where they were like, ‘these people need to be invited’. And my husband and I were really adamant of having a small laidback wedding. They were cool though.”

And how was it to work with screen legends Brooke Shields and Benjamin Bratt? “They were all really, really lovely, natural entertainers. She’s very vibrant and warm and always telling stories and telling jokes, and very welcoming. Benjamin was actually the first of the cast that I met, and it was really nice, like, ‘oh, come drive to set with me’. We had this time and he was telling me about his family … I would say from my observation, and I don’t know if this is just naturally in their personalities or if it’s a result of them having been in the industry for so long, I think that they both have a strength to them. They’re very warm, but they seem to understand themselves very well, and they obviously understand the industry very well.”

So, what’s next? “For the last three years, I’ve actually been balancing acting and auditioning with doing human rights advocacy. My dad is from Myanmar, and I’ve been working with the Myanmar Campaign Network. I will continue to do what I’m doing now, which is auditioning by self tape, because stuff is coming in from the US and around the world, and they’re quite happy for me to be here and tape from here. A lot of actors all around the world do the same thing. And it works apparently… I find acting really fun. It’s really challenging, obviously, but I feel like over time I’ve improved as an actor, which is always nice, but it’s always really challenging and opportunities are always coming up, even as I’m getting older.”

Mother of the Bride is streaming now.