Peel actress Lisa Taylor Casserly shares a lot of traits with the character Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.
They both have long, blonde tresses, a penchant for pink and both have been underestimated by people who have passed judgement based on their looks.
On September 29, Lisa will take the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre stage to perform as Elle Woods in Stray Cats Theatre Company's production of Legally Blonde the Musical, a role she said had paved the way for many women to find their confidence.
"I think Elle Woods is a wonderful example of someone who is viewed in a certain way and has lots of limitations placed on her as a result of how people look at her, and she's able to break through those barriers," Lisa said.
Lisa said many times throughout her life she had experienced people judging or not believing in her abilities based on perceptions, and that in those moments she had to "dig deep".
"I've just had to think - you know what? No-one is going to rescue me, I have to do this myself and find that inner strength. Elle Woods does that throughout the show."
Lisa is no stranger to strong and iconic female characters, having played Glinda in Wicked in 2016 and Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical in 2018.
This particular character, however, feels more personal to Lisa - more poignant.
Legally Blonde the Musical is based on the popular 2001 film, and follows Elle Woods' journey to Harvard Law School.
Initially enrolling to follow her ex-boyfriend Warner Huntington III, Elle struggles to fit in amongst the "serious" law school students, who chastise her bubbly personality and all-pink wardrobe.
Eventually, Elle discovers a passion for the law, and learns to embrace her individuality and chase her dreams.
Lisa is a mum to two young girls, and said Elle was a wonderful role model for them to look up to.
"I think it has been beautiful for my older daughter to be able to come to rehearsals and experience Elle in a tangible way," she said.
"She has gained confidence simply seeing her mum and the character of Elle coming through this journey and feeling strong standing on her own."
After a few years of having a break from theatre, Lisa said returning was like "coming home", with a support network helping her balance life and performance.
If you want to be a fluffy, pink, bright and bubbly character - that's your personality, it doesn't mean you are not smart and serious.
"The crew has been really accommodating and understanding of the fact I have two young children.
"My husband has been an amazing support looking after our girls so I can go to the show."
Working with a cast of both familiar and new faces, Lisa said she was enjoying exploring stage chemistry and presence with her fellow performers who made up a stellar cast.
She said the song she most enjoyed performing was So Much Better, which takes place in the scene where Elle realises she has been selected for a prestigious internship.
"It's a turning point in terms of Elle's character. She suddenly realises she actually is here at Harvard Law School for all the right reasons.
"She doesn't need Warner anymore, she's there for herself."
Lisa said she hoped audiences would leave the show feeling "inspired to be able to achieve anything they put their mind to".
"I think sometimes it's easy to say 'you can do anything you dream of', but the second part of that should be 'if you work hard'," she said.
"Bringing it back to my daughter, I always say to her - don't give up, keep trying, if you fail try again. I hope that's what people take away from Legally Blonde."
As for what she herself has taken away from the rehearsal experience - she said it was the importance of knowing people can be multifaceted.
"If you want to be a fluffy, pink, bright and bubbly character - that's your personality, it doesn't mean you are not smart and serious. You can be multilayered as a person.
"You should go and be who you want to be and express yourself in any way that makes you happy."
Legally Blonde the Musical will perform at MANPAC from September 29 to October 2, tickets can be purchased via the MANPAC website.
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