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IN AT THE DEEP END; Elize just wanted extra cash for college but ended up wearing a skimpy bikini as part of a teen love triangle on Hollyoaks.

HOLLYOAKS newcomer Elize du Toit makes a big impact in her TV debut and plays her first soap scenes in a skimpy bikini.

Modest Elize, who was plucked from 4000 hopefuls at an Edinburgh open audition, confessed to being petrified at baring virtually all to millions of TV viewers.

But she's convinced she made the right decision about peeling off for the cameras.

Elize's character, Izzy, finds herself in a love triangle in her first episode after falling for hunky lifeguard Adam, who saves her from drowning after some college hi-jinks get out of hand in a swimming pool.

But there's trouble in store as jealous love rival Geri stakes her claim for her new boyfriend's affections.

Elize, 20, gave up her history degree at Edinburgh University to make a stab at fame. She said: "I was so nervous about filming my first scenes because I have never done anything like this before.

"When I read the part, I could hardly believe my eyes. The first costume I had to wear was a bikini.

"I was so stressed out about it. I had to decide whether to do it or not. But it was quite an easy decision, really. Hollyoaks has given me a great opportunity."

In Elize's debut episode, she is among a group who hold a swimming pool party to celebrate freshers' week at college.

Her character is spotted by hunks Luke and Adam Morgan, played by Gary Lucy and David Brown, who both take a shine to her.

The party becomes more raucous when a prankster adds washing up liquid to the pool, which gets in Izzy's eye and puts her in danger.

Elize explained: "I end up being rescued by Adam and we both fall for each other. He gives me the kiss of life and saves me, so there is an obvious bond. It was some way to enter the plot and I'm thrilled to be part of the team."

Despite the scantily-clad initial scenes, Elize is adamant she would not follow other cast members who caused a sensation by posing for raunchy nude shots for a trendy magazine.

Stunning Davinia Murphy, who made her name in the soap, and other favourites such as Natalie Casey and Danielle Brent, have posed for risque photoshoots in lads' mag FHM.

But Elize said: "It was stressful enough to do the bikini scenes, so I don't think I would ever pose nude. I'm protected by my contract in any case, as it forbids certain parts of our bodies being shown.

"I don't know where I would draw the line. I would have to think about that if offers come in."

Elize, who shares a house with three of the other girls in the soap, has been enjoying socialising in Liverpool. But she hasn't been tempted to start any off-screen romances.

She insists she's only got eyes for boyfriend Alex, who is to study drama in London and shares her ambitions.

She said: "I'm very happy with Alex, so there's no danger of me straying, no matter what temptation comes my way. We are very close and, although I don't get to see him during the week, we get together at weekends."

At first, Elize was overwhelmed at the soap's hectic filming schedule.

She said: "I was surprised at how hard we had to work, but I soon got used to it. Everyone is working under the same conditions, so we all get along very well."

Despite being a newcomer, Elize was made to feel more than welcome by her co-stars. She said: "We are all in the same boat. We work in Liverpool, but most of us live elsewhere. We get along well during the week, then head off home for the weekends."

Elize only came to Britain five years ago, when her parents emigrated to Hampshire from Pretoria in South Africa. She quickly adapted and was accepted to study at Edinburgh University.

She said: "I loved Edinburgh and it was a real dilemma deciding to give up the degree to be an actor. I haven't decided what to do yet. I'm still young, so I may very well go back to complete my degree next year. I'll wait and see.

"It all came as such as a shock, as I didn't expect to be chosen for a part."

Elize started acting in school plays when she was a child. Then, when she arrived in Edinburgh, she joined the university's Bedlam Theatre Company.

She had never been to an audition before the Hollyoaks try-out and only decided to go along when a friend coaxed her. Amazingly, she confessed that she had never even watched the show before landing the part as Izzy.

Elize said: "I just took one stage of the auditions at a time and tried not to think about the fact that thousands of people were going for the part.

"In the end, there was a final audition with around 20 others and I was really lucky to be chosen." Cautious Elize has obviously managed to keep her feet on the ground, despite her flying start in Hollyoaks.

She laughs when the prospect of appearing in movies is mentioned.

She said: "I should be so lucky. I'll just see how things go and I hope I can make a success with Izzy."

Elize had expected to take a bar job in Edinburgh to pay her way through the summer break. She never thought for a minute that, instead, she would be looking forward to her glamorous television debut.

She said: "I didn't think I'd get the part at all. Because I was at university, I was not at all sure even if I wanted it. I was just doing the auditions for experience.

"Now that I'm in the show, I'm so glad that I went along.

"I can only hope that this is the start of big things for me."

Elize will first be seen on September 21.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Mcgivern, Mark
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 8, 2000
Words:992
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