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Australian actress Sunny Koll talks shooting commercials and discovering her dream

When Sunny Koll was just thirteen years old, she stepped into the spotlight. She knew she had an extraordinary voice, and being a singer seemed like the logical career path for her. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, she spent the younger part of her life focusing on her singing career. It wasn’t until she was a bit older when she realized that there may be another path for her, and that is when she looked into acting. It seems extraordinary now, that the world was almost deprived of her acting talents, but now she has an esteemed acting career, and millions have seen her face on their television screens.

With a versatile resume spanning from the comedic series Flat Whites, the crime show Traffik, and the dramatic film Zach’s Story, Koll really can do it all. Koll’s reputation as one of Australia’s best recent actress is well earned, and her work on many popular commercials shows the world in just a few moments on screen what she is capable of.

“I love working with a great team on these shoots. Especially the directors. You can really luck out and work with some incredible people on commercials,” said Koll.

One of Koll’s favorite commercials to shoot was for APIA Insurance. The commercial showed a family gathering, focusing on the intimate relationships within the family unit. Koll played the sister, whose brother is distracted by his phone and not getting involved. She annoyingly entices him back to the party. The television commercial had national airplay on all major television networks across Australia and online promotion.

“APIA was a favorite. It was one of those shoots, where I got to meet a lot of new people who became friends. It was just a lovely day and when we wrapped everyone was saying, wow, that was one of the best shoots I’ve ever done. I also got to work with director Christopher Tovo, who is a master behind the camera, once I found out he was directing, everything else was the cherry on top,” said Koll.

While working on a commercial for Saltrum Wines, Koll had the opportunity to work with another director she admired, Richard Lowenstien, a renowned Australian director for not only cult movies but a lot of INXS videos. This commercial featured a series of vignettes, establishing that a bottle of Saltrum Wine is welcome everywhere. As the lead, Koll opens a present and discovers she received a bottle of Sultrum Wine. This television commercial had national airplay on all major television networks across Australia. One of the stills from Koll’s vignette went on to be used at Saltrum Wine’s Cellar Door and wine shops across Australia.

“This was an exciting shoot as I got to work with Richard. I was also pretty wrapped as one of my stills got used at wine shops across Australia and at Saltrum Wines’ Cellar Door, which was pretty funny as my oldest friend, who I’ve known since I was three, works there and she had to face a life size picture of me every day,” Koll joked.

Koll had a similar experience when working on a commercial for Coles Supermarkets, one of Australia’s major supermarket chains, which was expanding and repositioning their products. They needed a powerful commercial to share their new image, and wanted the best actors in it to sell this idea. Koll was ideal, as her character was promoting how good their cheese tastes by serving it to her family. This television commercial was staged like a musical, so Koll was able to draw on all of her creative skills, not just acting, but singing and dancing. Not many actors have such a skillset.

“I loved this campaign. It was based on a musical and was promoting cheese, so they had the liberty of being very cheesy,” Koll laughed. “Anyway, there was a lot of song and dance involved, which always keeps everyone on their toes.”

Koll’s musical abilities came in handy when working on a commercial for Crown Casino, when she played a jazz singer who performed at a large crowd, showing the entertainment that could be experienced at the casino. The Crown Casino television commercial had state wide airplay on all major television networks across Victoria, Australia.

“The Crown commercial was great as being a casino it was an extravaganza. We filmed at the Crown Casino, and for whatever reason, my dressing room happened to be next to a meeting room that was hosting a group of Japanese business men. I was dressed as a French cabaret singer, wearing fishnets and not much else. As I left my dressing room for set, I got caught up amongst the businessmen who were breaking for lunch. They found this all most entertaining,” Koll recalled.

Koll enjoys having a good time on whatever set she is on, and shooting commercials is no different. When shooting a commercial for Insuranceline, the story consisted of a series of vignettes in front of a Wall of Thoughts. This was a wall covered with sticky notes, each note stating one of the little things in life that we never have time to do. Different family combinations stood in front of the wall, saying what they’d do if they had a little extra time. This television commercial had national airplay on all major television networks across Australia and online promotion. Koll’s character and her character’s husband stood in front of the wall joking and talking about fixing the leaky tap, and she got to work with a familiar face.

“Insuranceline was a fun day of shooting, my onscreen husband was also my real life husband, which is always a nice way to spend a day at the office,” said Koll.

While shooting commercials, Koll always stays true to the story, knowing that although they are not long, they need to be impactful and sell what is being promoted. This understanding is what makes her so accomplished. While shooting a commercial for Slater and Gordon, she knew the importance of what was being discussed. The commercial follows a woman who, after her husband hears about asbestos problems on the news, explains how they can help his father who is sick from working with asbestos and that the best compensation lawyers are Slater and Gordon. Slater and Gordon is a multinational law firm headquartered in Australia, and is the largest consumer law firm in the world. This television commercial had national airplay on all major television networks across Australia. Koll played the wife and delivered the advertising campaign catch phrase at the end of the commercial, “You know who to call,” generating an iconic saying and revenue for the company.

“This was a big campaign and I was very excited to get this part. Asbestos poisoning was all over the Australian news at the time, so it was great to part of a campaign that was very current,” said Koll.

On every commercial she takes on, Koll impresses. Her dedication to each storyline is evident, and her professionalism is appreciated by all she works with. There is not a moment where she does not commit to her work, and even when she is having fun and enjoying what she is doing, Koll is extremely poised.

“I have been Sunny Koll’s agent since 2005. We have worked together on many projects over the past 12 years including, the Slater and Gordon television commercial, Insuranceline television commercial, Coles Supermarkets Television commercial and APIA Insurance television commercial. When she joined my agency, she’d also worked on a couple of other commercials for Saltrum Wines and Crown Casino. Sunny has the great skill of balancing natural ability, hard work and a sense of play. She’s dedicated and people love her. I know when I send her out for an audition or a job the feedback will always be incredibly positive. Sunny is naturally talented in many creative areas, but she doesn’t rest on that, she continues to challenge herself and grow as an actress, artist and woman,” said Karyn Angliss, the Managing Director of Associated Models and Talent Agency and the Director at Karyn Angliss Management.

There is no doubt why Koll is considered such a talented actress, and audiences can look forward to seeing her face on both the big and small screen for quite a long time.

Photo by Nathan Dalton

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