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The Star of Sons and Daughters Has Swapped Acting for a Fitness Venture

After six years as a strong character in a top TV soapie, it isn't easy for any actor to plunge straight into another role. Ian Rawlings, one of the original cast of Sons and Daughters, isn't waiting for acting work to come to him.

Now that the Seven Network show has finished production, genial Ian has taken a leaf out of his screen alter-ego's book and ventured into the health and beauty business. Last year, Wayne became a partner in a fitness club with Charlie (Sarah Kemp).

Ian's real-life business partner is his ex-model wife, Lee. Together they run Chatterley's, an elegant beauty salon in the Sydney suburb of Homebush. There they provide facials, manicures, pedicures, electrolysis treatments and therapeutic massage for men as well as women. Lee is a qualified beauty therapist and masseur. Ian is a masseur and chief guinea pig for testing products. Currently, he's sporting bald patches on his arms and legs thanks to Lee's quest for the perfect waxing hair removal treatment.

The beauty salon is just the first step towards the couple's ultimate ambition to own and run their own health farm. "We want to offer a complete package, from facials to a gym workout and dietary advice," Ian said.

Ian and Lee have done courses designed for fitness leaders with the Australian Council of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. "Once we take those exams, we'll be fully qualified to work in a gym - Lee to take weight training and me to take floor classes," said Ian.

The two have always been keen on keeping fit themselves.

"Three years ago, under Lee's good influence, I gave up smoking. I thought I knew best until I found I couldn't run much more than a kilometre without gasping for air. Now I can run 10km without much effort," Ian said.

Lee, once a partner in a gymnasium, said she first became involved in fitness after she married a professional footballer, who was always training. (Her first husband, international Rugby League star Gary Dowling, was killed in a car crash in March 1983, leaving her with a daughter, Lauren, now nine.)

Ian met Lee on the Gold Coast only a few months before they married in September 1984. Ian was opening a chicken shop and Lauren wanted a toy they were giving away as a gimmick and egged her mother into asking for Ian's autograph. For Ian, it was love at first sight and he asked Lee for a date. Lauren, who thought Ian was terrific, accepted on behalf of her mum.

Ian hasn't given up his acting career. "I hope people won't see me forever as Wayne," he said. "I think I have more in me than just that character."


By: Julie Kusko
Source: Woman's Day
Date: 3 August 1987


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