60.8k 8.8k 5.9k
Kestie always loved drama and the Arts, but never believed she could pursue acting as a career. Aspiring to be an Astronaut from a young age, in high school she discovered her lack of mathematical ability and dislike of small confined spaces might set her back.
She naturally gravitated towards more artistic subjects and at 15, during a weekend acting workshop, was hand-picked by a local talent scout to join their agency where she immediately began working as a professional actress.
She began working in guest roles for Neighbours, Crash Zone and The Saddle Club and was the face of several major advertising campaigns. Her big break was the role of Margaret in Dirty Deeds which saw her work with Toni Collette, Sam Neil and John Goodman. She received her first nomination for this role from The Critics Circle.
Kestie has since appeared in Australian television series: Underbelly, Offspring, Stingers and The Secret Life of Us – and played a lead role throughout Showtime’s three seasons of Satisfaction, for which she was nominated for Best Actress at The Monte Carlo Television awards.
Kestie has starred in eight Australian feature films including Strange Bedfellows with Michael Caton and Paul Hogan; Thunderstruck with Sam Worthington; and The Wedding Party with Isabelle Lucas. She was awarded Best Actress at The Melbourne Underground Film Festival for her role in Birthday, which was also selected to show at Cannes International Film Festival. In 2005 she was nominated for an AFI award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Wolf Creek.
Kestie joins Home and Away as Maggie Astoni, a teacher (and soon to be principal) of Summer Bay High School. She and her on-screen husband Ben Astoni (ROHAN NICHOLS) are happily married with two teenage daughters with two teenage daughters, Ziggy (SOPHIE DILLMAN) and Coco (ANNA COCQUEREL). Kestie originally auditioned for a different role, only to be called back three weeks later to audition for the role of Maggie.
“Maggie is like a lot of working mothers out there. She’s juggling family and work life with little time for herself. She’s not perfect, but she’s doing the best she can 100% of the time. She’s lucky in that her marriage is strong, and she has unwavering support in her husband Ben. They were childhood sweethearts and they’ve managed to keep the spark in their relationship alive. I love having the chance to play a strong working mother who is fierce in her love for her children and husband. It’s a great place to be.”
Kestie’s favourite part about acting is having a license to become somebody else. “When I began acting I never really understood what it meant, I thought it was about pretending. Over the years I’ve discovered it’s actually about truth, about bringing as much of my truth as I can to a role, so I can do the stories and characters justice”.
As the pattern seems to go, Kestie is always looking to give up acting before she lands a major role. “Whenever I get to a point of saying, ‘hey, maybe I should give acting up and try something else’, a big role comes along. The universe always tells me to keep going. I’m not even sure what I’d do, acting is all I’ve ever really known”. She recently made the move from Melbourne to Sydney and is loving the sea-change. Outside of acting, the 38-year-old loves to write songs on her guitar, paint and write comedy despite being terrible at all three, she admits.