Live Large


What was it like to be Blake Lively’s doppelgänger in horror-thriller The Shallows

To get the part in the $31 million film shot on the Gold Coast and Lord Howe Island, I had every body dimension measured to ensure I matched 178cm-tall Blake Lively. Blake, 28, plays a young surfer, Nancy, forced to battle a bloody huge shark that traps her on a rock off shore a secluded Mexican beach.

Aside from measurements, the casting involved an on screen test and studio video in which I demonstrated catching a wave, lying on the ground and jumping to my feet. This is much easier than catching a real one…

‘Requirements – Female lead double must be very competent swimmer/surfer, Approx 5’10” in height, slim/athletic build – most of the shoot the double will be required to wear a bikini’.

A fan of the actress, having grown up watching her most famous role as Serena Van Der Woodsen in Gossip Girl, I was thrilled at the opportunity to work alongside Blake and can confirm she is just as beautiful in real life.

Most mornings started at 4:30am in the hair and makeup chair at Village Road Shows, here much of the film was shot in a tank using blue screens. Surprisingly, I felt most comfortable is this tank, despite the huge crew, diver squad, lights, cameras and machinery.

(Image source: Gold Coast Bulletin) 

My transformation into Nancy begun with a spray tan and was complete with new hair… a-whole-lota-hair. An additional 978 individually glued, human hair extensions to be exact. The extra weight was totally worth it and as you can imagine, I was swishing it around like no ones business.

Below a cute morning message from the makeup department and reminder in lipstick to slip, slop, slap on set… one day I forgot and paid the price.

Below you can see the amazing work of the special effects, wardrobe and makeup teams on my body. Having seen the attention to detail behind every scene first hand, I’ve a new appreciation for films and consider myself a movie buff. I realise it takes more than a great storyline to capture the hearts of an audience. It takes passion, perseverance and problem solving to convey the message. Nothing ever goes completely to plan, but everyone gets in and does their part to make the magic.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the entire crew for taking such care of me, for the guidance, love, laughs, late night tan removal, clear eyes, amazing catering, cuddly robes and slippers. The Shallows showed me how much people connect when working toward a united goal for a long period.

I’ll hold the letter Blake wrote me on the last day especially close to my heart… I must say, it was very cool sharing secrets and a trailer with you – love you long time.

“Portia, your sweet smile, ice cream tips to learn to surf & wonderful attitude and spirit each day lifted mine & everyone elses. Thank you for that. You’re true sunshine sweet girl! Best wishes to you! Love Blake.”

Since The Shallows, I’ve worked on Daniel Radcliffe’s film Jungle, Paul Hogan’s television show Hoges on 7 mate and am actively looking for the next opportunity to live the dream once more. Stepping into the movie world is like stepping into another life. It is so surreal living in a place where your daily mission could be getting friendly with a feisty stand-in seagull or nailing a close-up while firing a flair gun. It was exhilarating and exhausting, I loved every minute.





You’re not going to believe it… Last week I flew for the first time, or fell, but it felt like flying! Imagine an eagle floating effortlessly in an updraft, defying gravity as he circles the earth… That was me! But without the wings, far less graceful and with a fully grown man strapped to my back. FINALLY, I can tick “Skydiving” off my bucket list.


It’s a strange feeling, freefalling with nothing but clouds between you and the earth. Without an escape button, safety blanket or anything to hold on to you feel pretty vulnerable. It was so surreal, watching people get sucked out of the (perfectly good) plane one by one. Finally it was my turn to shuffle toward the door and dive into life headfirst. I hoped for the best… AND The rest is history – you HAVE to try it for yourself!


Christmas came early for me this year and thanks to you can give your loved ones the same rush!.. Adrenalin gift vouchers are not only impossible to guess when wrapped, they are undoubtedly better than another pair of underwear or a bath bomb – sorry mum! Choose from V8 Racing, Jet boating, Sydney Bridge Climbing, Hot Air Ballooning, Abseiling, Scuba Diving and Skydiving… #LetsLiveLarge visit and #GiveAdrenalin!


Pictured: Portia Large & best friend Sjana Elise Earp post Sydney Skydive



The compelling urge of mankind to explore and discover has led him to go where no man has gone before. Whether it was the early pioneers exploring new territory, burning new trails, mapping new continents, surviving harsh wilderness or Kay Cottee circumnavigating the globe, it would seem mankind feels compelled against all odds to conquer new frontiers – on land, in the oceans and of course in what has been termed the final frontier – space. Few of us will explore outer space, but you can become a diver, feel weightless and explore over 70% of the planet underwater.


Last month, I completed my Open Water Dive course with Gold Coast Divers and now I’ve a skill which will allow me to dive world-wide.

How can join the diving community? 

Join the Lets Live Large #SCUBASQUAD! For 25% off, call my friends at Gold Coast Divers and use the promo code: “PORTIA”.


What does the course comprise of?

An SSI online course, classroom, pool and open water sessions.



Images by: Clevel Media

How many days is the course? 

3-4 days flexible on your availability. On your final day you’ll get to experience the incredible Cook Island marine life. This place has an abundance of turtles and vibrant fish.



The best part for me personally? 


I am still shocked at how comfortable and confident I was by course close! The most incredible part for me personally, was the speed at which I gained life skills…


The sea, once it casts its spell, it holds one in its net of wonder forever


I can’t recommend this course enough at Gold Coast Divers… what a team, what a time!!!