Sally Martin was acting from an early age. In fact, it was from the second she was born.
“The doctor told my husband she was a boy,” Sally’s mum Anne recalls. “I don’t know why, but for a brief moment, Cee thought we had a son!
But I got this lovely little daughter instead and she was perfect.”
It’s become a long-standing joke in the Martin household that “every family should have a Sally”, but the Shorty star is quick to say her caring and attentive nature comes directly from her “mumma”.
“She’s supermum,” Sally says. “Mum’s actually my moral compass when I’m making any decision. I find myself unconsciously considering what my mum would do.”
With the same smile, laugh and warm personalities, Sally and Anne are almost carbon copies of each other and have a very close mother-daughter relationship.
“It sounds a bit gushy, but she’s such an amazing person,” says Anne. “Sally is the youngest out of three girls and she grew up after her sister Bridget, who is autistic. There were moments there when that was blimmin’ hard. Just before I had Sally, I was wondering how I was going to cope with another baby, but she was easy.”
“I was a goody-good,” Sally adds. “My greatest fear was disappointing Mum and Dad.”
Although she never did – Anne can only remember one time in Sally’s 27 years when her father had to have a stern word with her – the actress is
relieved she made her parents proud.
“Who else would you want to impress?” she says. “I’m so happy mum and me have such a good relationship. We’re even better friends as we’ve got older.”
With Sally living in Auckland and Anne in Wellington, there isn’t a lot of time for the two to catch up, but Anne’s new iPhone is helping bridge the gap.
“It look a long time to coax her into getting one, but now she loves it,” Sally says with a laugh.
You can always rely on your mum to be your biggest fan. Genetically biased, they can’t help thinking you’re gorgeous no matter what. But Go Girls star George Mason’s mum Nicola tells it like it is.
“He was an ugly baby,” she laughs. “The first thing I thought when I saw him was ‘Thank God he’s a boy.’ It wasn’t until he was one that I started thinking, ‘No, he’ll be a good-looking boy one day!”
“Thanks mum,” George grimaces. From his early days pretending to be Bob the Builder, to his impromptu performances of the Molenberg song
in the bread aisle of the supermarket at the age of five, George was always destined to be an actor, according to his grandmother Jennifer O’Connor.
“He used to walk around telling people that he was going to be a ‘famous actor’,” she remembers. “As he got older, he dropped the famous part, but that was always the dream from when he was two.”
“The only other thing he wanted to be was a wine maker,” adds Nicola. “It was all shades of Sam Neill, really.”
Growing up in Invercargill with two elder sisters, George (22) credits his mum and gran for his humble, down-to-earth personality, and says without them he never would have succeeded at acting.
“It sounds cheesy, but I am what they made me. Mum fully supported me when I told her I wanted to be an actor – she was the one booking the last-minute $600 flights to Auckland for an audition. And Gran’s an artist, so I suppose I get a lot of that creative side from her.”
And, of course, Nicola and Jennifer couldn’t be more proud of their boy.
“He’s very respectful of everyone else,” says Nicola. “He’s got a unique sort of ruggedness that’s common in the general population, but not so much in actors.”
“I think I’ve had a good grounding,” George says. “That really helps me living in Auckland. I’m learning you’ve got to stay grounded – that’s how I was raised.”
Photos: Jae Frew • Stylist: Jules Armishaw • Hair & Make-up: Jules Armishaw and Victoria Hurley