By Angie Hilton
Sarah Grace has been doing Geelong proud for years. You probably know her best of all as Bridget from Winners and Losers or as a regular voice on BayFM.
But Sarah’s star seems to be shining brighter than ever right now.
She has just rebranded and relaunched her acting school under the name of Grace Acting Studios. She recently won the Geelong Business Excellence Awards title for best customer service (no mean feat with a clientele of 425 students per week). She is madly in love with partner Adamo Di Biase. And best of all, we get to break the news that they’re having a baby!
What strikes me most about Sarah, the more I get to know her, is that there is so much more to her than meets the eye.
If you were to typecast her, with the face of a doll, she would be the sweet, innocent girl next door – but her real life character is far from it. Sarah is a savvy businesswoman, intelligent, knows her mind and quietly goes about blazing a trail.
Sarah, what is going on? You seem to be on fire right now!
34 has been an amazing year for me. Maybe it’s my lucky number. I don’t know really, I feel more empowered than ever before. Like I’m becoming more comfortable in my own skin. It’s nice!
First things first … how amazing that you are having a baby and it just happens to be with one of my best buddies Adamo Di Biase. What was your initial reaction when you found out you were pregnant?
Well, we were on holiday in Byron Bay and, as you do when you’re away, we had been indulging in a lot of soft cheese, cured meats, oysters, champagne, basically all of the pregnancy no-nos. So my initial reaction went something along the lines of ‘Ahhh! I’ve poisoned our baby!’ Adamo was so level headed and assured crazy me that that was definitely not the case. Once I calmed down I was absolutely thrilled. It is the best news ever!
Tell me about the love of your life? I certainly know how special he is, but tell everyone out there.
I just love being around him. He has such a fantastic outlook on life. He’s got the biggest heart. He’s fun, intelligent, creative but there’s something really grounded about him that I love too. I think ultimately, you know you are with the right person when you feel like you are able to be the best version of yourself when you’re with them and that’s how I feel with Adamo.
How do you imagine yourself and Adamo as parents?
I think we’ll make a good team. He’s good at early mornings – I am not. He cooks really well, I’m the cleaner. I think we both have really similar ideas of what’s important to us when raising kids; we share similar values. There is a lot of singing and dancing that goes on in our house so hopefully our little one is into that … otherwise we might be embarrassing parents! Ha!
What did your parents teach you that you’d love to pass on?
Oh wow. So many things. I think if I can be half as good at parenting as they are I will be doing well. I loved the sense of routine we had as little kids. Every night we would always have dinner, a bath, play a game, read a story and go to bed. It sounds so simple but there is such a sense of love and safety in that and I have so many fond memories of that time. They taught me that I could achieve anything I set my mind too. I definitely want our little one to feel that. They taught me boundaries. I remember as a teenager wanting to go to a party and mum not letting me go. I was so furious and quite horrible to her. Looking back I think there is no way I would let my year nine daughter go to that party. I have a lot of respect for mum for sticking to her guns with things like that. I think that’s good parenting.
How important is family to you?
It is so important. It always has been, but I think it really hit home when my Hoppy (my mum’s father) passed away a couple of years ago. Hoppy had three daughters and 10 grandchildren and we are all very close. He passed away very suddenly and on the day he died within an hour we were all up at Nanna’s house, together. The cousins now call ourselves ‘Hops Army’. We are all so different, but we would all do anything for each other and I know that I am so incredibly blessed to have that in my life. This amazing bond that we share all began with my Nanna and Hoppy. I’m so grateful to them and want my children and grandchildren to experience that same sense of unconditional love and belonging that I have with my family.
You recently won the Geelong Business Excellence Awards title of best customer service. What do you think it was that made you stand out above the rest?
To win the customer service award was so incredibly exciting for the studio. This year, as a team, the staff have been really honing in on how we can deliver the most exceptional student/parent experience possible at the studio. From the moment they first contact us, to their first class, right through to when they have been coming to us for years and are keen to take the leap into the film and TV industry. It has been the focus of our training sessions. There has been a lot of brainstorming and creating going on around this, and it’s something that we are really passionate and excited about. So to win this award, I guess, was a nice affirmation that our hard work is paying off and that the judges were able to see our commitment to that.
Last night we were so grateful to accept the Geelong Business Excellence Awards Customer Service Award for 2018. We…
Now, you’ve had a lot of experience with children of all ages through your acting school – does that prepare you or frighten you a little?
Ha! I don’t know if anything really prepares you does it? But it definitely doesn’t frighten me. Every student that we teach is so unique and brilliant in their own way, so I guess it makes me even more excited to meet our little guy or girl and see what special spark they bring to the world! I must say, I am definitely in awe of our parents at the studio and all of the running around they do with kids activities and just general family stuff. They are incredible. But I’m hoping you develop those super human parent powers over time … right?
I know it can’t have been easy to make the transition from Mooregrace Acting Studio that you had with ex-husband Paul Moore. How did you get through such a hard time and what motivated you to continue with the business?
Looking back, it was definitely a tricky time. But when life throws you a curve ball I think it always makes you stronger and there is often a silver lining. Over that time I got more into yoga and meditation and I journaled a lot too. It gave me the opportunity to reconnect with myself and what I really want to stand for. I think the silver lining for me too was that I ended up falling in love with the business all over again, probably more so than I had before. When you are faced with the possibly of losing something it makes you realise what it means to you. For me, this period gave me real clarity that this is exactly where I am supposed to be and this is the work that I am supposed to be doing. You just feel it. My passion for the studio ultimately gave me a sense of purpose and joy that got me through those tough days.
What about your own acting career? Does that take a backseat for a while?
I love acting, I always have and always will, so I have this sense of calm about it at the moment. It is always a part of my life and I know I feel more myself when I am doing it. But the capacity in which I do it doesn’t really matter. I still get that same sense of fulfilment, whether it’s in a class I’m taking, a play I’m working on with friends or on national television. It doesn’t really matter to me. I feel like I’m in a different season at the moment, but I intend to keep acting until I’m grey and old so I have no doubt there will be more wonderful roles out there for me to play in the future.
Any dream roles you’d love to play one day?
Oh yeah, for sure! I love the idea of playing an actual person. I have always wanted to tell the story of a strong, empowered Australian woman. There are so many untold stories in this country that I think should be celebrated and brought to light. Being part of that excites me. I’m not sure who that woman is yet, but that’s a dream of mine. I’d also like to do a period piece or perhaps play someone royal. I think that would be so much fun.