After 18 years in the notoriously fickle television industry, Shelley Craft's star still seems to be on the rise — a fact that has her whole family thoroughly puzzled.
Her brother jokes about her success constantly, and ever her mother didn't see her daughter's TV career coming. Many years ago, when a psychic predicted that one of Sally's kids would become a household name, she assumed the mystic was talking about Shelley's ballet-dancing older sister.
Shelley herself is equally bemused by her enduring appeal.
"It's being confident with who you are, flaws and all," she tells the December issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.
"I find it very comfortable being me. I'm not the tallest, I'm not the prettiest, I'm not the smartest, but I'm happy with who I am … I'm just average. I'm as average as it gets."
Maybe, but no one lasts that long on TV if they haven't got the goods. Ever since Shelley's first appearance as an effervescent 18-year-old — wearing an ice-cream bucket on her head for a Saturday Disney piece on magpie-bombing season — her personality has been her stock in trade.
It's as simple, and as complex, as that. Viewers like her and, on TV, likability is king.
Shelley has won fans with her girl-next-door warmth and bubbly good humour, but motherhood, she says, has finally given her permission to grow up.
"Milla allowed me to take myself a little bit more seriously," says 36-year-old Shelley. "It's funny, I've probably had more success in my commercial career as a mum, and maybe that's what I am now. I'm not an actress and I'm not a journalist; I'm a mum."
Managing her career as well as two kids is exhausting and logistically tricky, but Shelley may well be working on a new addition to the family by next Christmas.
"Four's a pretty good number," she says, "so we'll see if we get that far."
Read more of this story in the December issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.