From as young as she can remember, Allie Athanasio has been dedicated to entertaining her family and friends, dancing and singing to make people happy.
She turns 24 next month and her life is already packed with achievements. Her personal highlight of 2017 was featuring in the summer campaign for fashion icon Peter Alexander’s sleepwear range.
But wait, there’s more … Allie has also renovated a house she bought with her mother, Janene, juggled two jobs, and has been writing a television series. She is currently on a world tour, visiting potential agents in the USA, UK and Europe.
A Model life
In Australia, Allie is signed with Bella Management as what is termed a “curve model”. The blonde, blue-eyed size 14 is 165cm tall and 70kg which most of us would could consider more “reality” than what the fashion industry used to call “plus size”.
In 2017 her modelling year concluded with a major campaign for Peter Alexander.
“It was such fun to do,” she said. “I really wanted this campaign. I have worn Peter Alexander (sleepwear) for as long as I can remember and the family tradition has been for us all to wear Peter Alexander for Easter breakfast.”
Allie was one of three models chosen for the Peter Alexander campaign.
“It was the first Peter Alexander campaign entirely dedicated to their plus size range,” she told Sydney Hills & Hawkesbury Living. “It was an important campaign for the Australian (fashion) industry. It was a really big step forward.”
She said when the three models were invited to see the finished posters and catalogues at the launch it was a special moment. “We felt really empowered when we saw everything they shot.”
Modelling, Allie says, is something she “fell into”, and while she hopes it continues she also has dreams of being a comedic actor and starring in the TV show she is currently writing.
“For a long time, I wanted to be a leading lady on Broadway in New York, then I started studying in musical theatre and decided that
I didn’t want to be in musical theatre but I loved acting.”
It was while training in acting that she found modelling. “It was something I had never considered before, “she said. “The opportunity just fell into my lap and I took it. I love it and I really love that it coincides with my great passion for the arts.”
Her goal is to be able to do both modelling and acting side by side just as one of her role models, Kate Upton (Tower Heist and The Other Woman) has achieved.
“She (Kate Upton) started as a swimwear and lingerie model and did really well. She fell into drama and now does quite a lot of films including the area I want to be in, romantic comedy, (Rom-Coms) and light-hearted films which I would love to do.”
Allie’s early years
Allie was born in Adelaide but her family moved to Sydney when she was five months old.
“I grew up in the Hills, Cherrybrook mostly, and have always lived in the Hills. It’s a really lovely place to grow up.”
Home is with her mum Janene and 20-year-old brother Josh in Kellyville, in a house they have built.
Allie was about two years old when she started dancing and singing on the table. By the time she started primary school at Tara Anglican School, gymnastics was her big love. She trained at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra and started winning competitions. The floor was her best skill, followed by the bar and vault, and lastly beam.
“I started in gymnastics when I was about four (years old) and it became very, very serious for me. The floor, my best exercise, led me into dancing,” she said.
Her allround ability saw her win six State Championships and three national titles in three years. Allie then decided to step out of competing for two years before making a break.
“One day I just woke up and decided I didn’t want to be a gymnast anymore,” she said.
That was in Year 5. She tried a few other interests until a friend invited her to a jazz dance class at the In The Spotlight dance school. She caught the dance bug and after three years at In The Spotlight at Kellyville she joined the Australian College of Entertainment at Castle Hill.
“From then I decided to get into hard core ballet and I was doing three or four classes a night, four nights a week,” she said.
Even though she was doing at least 30 hours of lessons a week she decided to change her dream. “I wanted to be a ballet dancer but I realised I wasn’t the right shape to be a ballet dancer.”
**Playing for laughs
Allie was 15 when she attended William Clarke College at Kellyville and met drama teachers John and Lisa Montgomery, who helped reframe her future and gave her the confidence to act.
“The drama faculty had a big influence on me. If I hadn’t had that support at school I wouldn’t have pursued it.”
As a Year 9 newbie she tried out for the school production of Wind in the Willows, never thinking she would get a part, let alone the lead part of Toad of Toad Hall.
“Toad is probably the most eccentric character I have ever had the pleasure of playing. I was at a new school, I was with unfamiliar people and I was not as confident as I usually was. I had to play this really obnoxious character and Toad brought me into a different level of confidence and I became very comfortable with people, very quickly. The year we graduated we did Fiddler on the Roof,” said Allie.
Allie played Yente the matchmaker and loved the comedy of it all.
“Comedy is a harder game than other film genres. It is hard to make people laugh,” she said. “A sad film will make people cry but it takes something really genuine to make people laugh. So, I think comedy is a real uphill battle but that’s what I like about it — it’s a challenge.”
Her favourite RomCom is The Holiday. “I would have loved Kate Winslett’s part in that,” she said.
She has been writing a television series, a comedy of course, set in London which she is visiting for the first time on her world tour. And she is writing the lead role for herself as she fits the bill. “It’s about a struggling actor,” she laughed.
A Hills lifestyle
Allie loves living in the Hills.
“It’s a really tight-knit community. There are a lot of events — fairs, and Christmas carols we have attended over the years — that really resonate as home. School was a big thing for me, and I loved my school, William Clarke College.
“So many of us still live here. We are seven years out of school and it’s still nice to see everyone around.”
Her favourite places to hang out are the new Holey Moley at Castle Towers, Local Trade at Kellyville Plaza, The Wren at Round Corner and, not surprisingly, Wolfe and Co at Dural and Event Cinemas Castle Hill.
Knocking down walls
Before she left for the USA in February she and her mother finished renovating the house they bought in Kings Langley.
“I have a lot of interest in real estate and doing up the interiors is a creative outlet,” said Allie.
The experience has now sparked another dream which uses her creative skills.
“Mum and I are a combination of brains and brawn. We would love to do The Block. We would love to be the first mother/daughter team on the show,” she said.
Allie Athanasio — a name to remember.
**ALLIE'S FUTURE PLANS
1 Feature in The Block with her mum (“it would be such a special experience”)
2 Move to the United States with an agency
3 Feature in an international advertising campaign
4 Travel more (“I did Everest base camp and it taught me heaps about myself”)
5 Finish at least one season of her script.