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They spark constant tension in the Sutherland household in Home and Away as twin sisters with different personalities. But away from the cameras, Christie Hayes and Kate Garven could not be closer.
The gorgeous young actors who have rapidly built a huge following around the nation, met when they auditioned for the top-rating drama. Christie was 13 at the time and won the role of the feisty Kirsty Sutherland - while Kate, who is eight months older landed the part of Kirsty's quieter more demure sister Jade.
The girls hit it off immediately. " That was in December 1999 ", Christie says. " We've known each other for a while now and we're the best of friends ". " We were thrown together as sisters and that obviously helps but we just became instant mates ", Kate adds.
" It's great having a best friend there who knows what you're going through ". Christie and Kate spend plenty of time together when they're not filming. They even enjoy double-dating with their respective boyfriends. " We all know each other so we go out in a group ", Kate reveals. There has been plenty of conflict between the Sutherland twins in Home and Away but those on-screen battles have never carried over into real life.
" In one scene, Kate had to push me on the ground and punch me ", Christie recalls. " She would never, ever hit me for real but it's cool once in a while to be able to yell at each other and pretend!" Christie spent a year living with Kate and her family while her own family relocated from the north-western NSW town of Mungindi to Sydney, where Home and Away is produced.
" That was so much fun ", Kate says. " It was like a constant slumber party! We never get sick of each other ". She and Christie share many interests. For starters, they're both self-confessed " shopaholics " who enjoy nothing more on their days off than hitting Sydney's trendy boutiques. " We're mad shoppers! " Kate says, giggling. Do the girls share the same taste in fashion?
" Kate is more courageous with her style than I am ", Christie admits. " I'm a jeans sort of girl but Kate has the chunky high heels and funky shirts happening. I can't pull it off like she can ". Whatever happens career-wise, they will always remain the best of friends. " Christie and I have this awesome connection ", Kate smiles. " She's like a real sister to me ". " Definitely ", Christei adds. " If acting ended tomorrow, we'd still be friends for the rest of our lives. I feel very blessed to have found Kate ".