Neighbours have recruited another prominent media personality to join the soap as a cast member with the news that Maria Thattil will play Amira Devkar in 2024.
Thattil will be in a guest role on the iconic series and her character is the older, “sometimes bossy” sister of Haz Devkar, played by Shiv Palekar.
“I’m so excited to be heading to Ramsay Street to bring Amira to life, and best believe she’s coming in with a bang!” Thattil said in a statement.
“It’s a pretty surreal thing to get to play a queer woman of colour on one of the most iconic shows in Australia, as seeing that representation was unheard of when I was growing up. I couldn’t be prouder to join the Neighbours cast and I can’t wait to stir up a little fun.”
Neighbours teased that there will be some drama associated with Thattil’s role.
“We’re delighted to announce that Maria Thattil will be joining the cast next year in the guest role of Haz’s big sister! But just why she turns up suddenly at Harold’s is yet to be revealed,” the official Instagram account for Neighbours posted.
What has Maria Thattil been in before?
It’s certainly not Thattil’s first time in the spotlight. Her journey to stardom began when she won Miss Universe Australia in 2020, and went on to place in the top ten of the global competition.
In 2022, the 30-year-old competed on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here Australia and was eliminated second. While she was in the jungle she revealed that she was bisexual.
Since then, Thatiil has gone on to become an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community and won Marie Claire’s 2023 The Voice of Now Award. She was also a guest judge in an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under this year and has written a book called Unbounded.
Maria Thattil shared her excitement about the new gig on Instagram
After it was officially announced that Thattil was joining Neighbours next year, the media personality took to Instagram to share what she was looking forward to.
“I couldn’t be more proud to join the beautiful Neighbours cast at a time when the show is evolving to tell even more Australian stories,” she began.
“Imagining 10-year-old me turning on the telly to see herself is pretty surreal … even more so because I can’t remember ever seeing a gay female South Asian character on an Australian TV show. Can you? Grateful to @neighbours & @channel10au for the honour of being an authentic representation of what we’ve been missing. And to do it with a bang.”
Neighbours airs on Monday to Friday at 6:30 on 10Peach and 10Play.