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Home and Away Dana Matheson star opens up on secret health woes away from soap

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Home and Away actress Ally Harris has been cast as Summer Bay nurse Dana, joining the Australian soap alongside her on-screen sister, Harper, who is played by Jessica Redmayne

Ally Harris, a recent addition to Home and Away, has disclosed that she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Unaware of her affliction until she reached adulthood, Ally, 26, who lives in Summer Bay alongside her on-screen sister Harper and nurse Dana Matheson, is one of the two new residents. Actress Ally signed a three-year contract to star in the popular Australian soap opera after having previously starred in Harrow and The Claremont Murders.

She has now talked about how, fortunately, her illness hasn’t stopped her from achieving her goals. She didn’t know what career route she wanted to follow until she was in high school. Channel 5 personality Ally revealed she felt unworthy in several situations as a child, despite not knowing she had ADHD.

“I felt a lot of pressure and kept thinking to myself, ‘Why can’t you follow through?’” the woman stated. Why are you unable to complete tasks? I’ve got a better handle on it now, and I’ve developed an obsession with finishing a tonne of tasks. It could be too much.

“I wasn’t one of those kids who wanted to be an actress. To her mother’s dismay, she said, “But when I was younger, I used to play with my cutlery at the table; I had a whole series of stories for them.”

Ally didn’t realise she “truly enjoyed” acting until she was in her late teens, but the more she performed on the school stage, the more certain she felt that she could “pull it off”. She said to Stuff, “I really just put myself into things once I realised what I loved and was good at. As I was about to graduate from high school, I knew acting was what I wanted to do. I was 16 or 17 years old at the time.”

Around this time, according to Ally, she immersed herself into acting studies and began working with Miranda Harcourt, an acting coach from New Zealand, who assisted her in landing her previous roles. After having that experience, Jessica Redmayne, a previous 800 Words actress, was cast as Dana’s older sibling, Harper, in the start of 2023.

After being cast, Ally said, “I never really thought I would be on the show, but sometimes you would think, ‘Oh, that looks fun,’” when audition tapes were sent. Since I was being flown to Sydney for the callbacks, I have to admit that I didn’t start to question if I would be on the show until today.”

Ally, who moved across the nation away from her home, family, and boyfriend, is thankful for Jessica’s support. Ally is from Perth, which is about 2,400 miles distant from Sydney.

Ally said it’s been “really, really helpful” to have somebody like that with her, having been raised with three sisters. She went on to describe the soap as “one big family”, which has enabled her to settle in her new surroundings well despite her condition.

Ally’s character made a dramatic entrance to the show, finding herself wrongly charged with stealing drugs from the hsopital she works at, forcing her and Harper to go on the run. Arriving in Summer Bay, the couple are supported by Harper’s old friend, Constable Cash Newman.

It later becomes apparent that Dana has been framed by her boyfriend and a bent cop, who try to adduct and murder after discovering she’s hiding at Irene’s house.

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