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CAREER

Gina Mendoz was born with, Australian artistic, family heritage. The daughter of an actor turned phtographer, Peter Mendoza, and the granddaughter of Doris Rosetta Elizabeth (Dot) Mendoza (1899-1986): composer, drama teacher, pianist, songwriter and theatre director.

Dot Mendoza coached actors in performance and voice production; among those she taught were June Salter, Gordon Chater, John Meillon and Jill Perryman. She played "Bridesmaid Madge" originally for Barry Humphries and in 1985 she was awarded the OAM.

Gina attended The Victorian College of Arts School of Dance, from 1975 to 1977, during which time, she was taken to see The Rocky Horror Show. Later in the 70's she found St Martin's Youth Arts Theatre, where she did the shows, Cain's Hand, Zig and Zag Follies, performed at the Adelaide Festival, and also The South Yarra Show, Quick-Eze Cafe. Other colleagues at St Martin's included Gina Riley, Kaarin Fairfax (daughter of the late George Fairfax) Jane Turner, Mark Trevorrow, Tessa Humphries (daughter of Barry Humphries) and Totti Goldsmith.

Under the name Dotty, after her grandmother, she teamed with Gina Riley and Kaarin Fairfax, to become the group called the Droolettes, a satirical harmony singing trio. The new Music Director at St Martin's, Geoffrey O'Connell, became their songwriter and pianist, group member and her partner. The first performance the Droolettes gave was at Marijuana House in Brunswick St.  Melbourne, just up the road from Comedy Cafe. This was a starting ground for many perfomers who make up the comedy performance industry today.

Gina appeared in many of Australia’s T.V. shows, “The Sullivans”, “Cop Shop”, "Skyways", "Kings",
“Special Squad” and “Neighbours”, and used her singing and dancing talents, in variety performances on the “Mike Walsh” and “Don Lane” shows. The television commercials Gina has appeared in are also numerous — Holden Astra, Rob’s Restaurant, GMH, among others.

1981 saw her auditioning for Perry Bedden, for the role of Columbia, in the Australian Revival. ". He threw me over his shoulder at one point to see how heavy I was. I sang a song that I'd done as my character, Debbie, in Quick-Eze Cafe, and wore the costume I'd made for that character. My top was made out of vinyl 45 records that Mark Trevorrow had given me. He had zillions of records and was doing a clean-out. I think it may have even been his suggestion to string them together."

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After the first Rocky run, she started doing theatre work with her sister Greta, and partner Geoffrey. Love on the Laminex, ran at the Comedy Cafe. Her other sister Jane joined Greta, Gina and Geoffrey and performed for a short time as the Melancholy Babies. Then Greta, Geoffrey and Gina formed the group called the Kabarettes, working together for a few years.

Having played the role of Columbia in the highly successful 1981-82 National Tour, she returned to the role in 1984 supporting both Reg Livermore, and Daniel Abineri, and again in 1988.

1984

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Gina owned and ran a ballet school and started a boy’s ballet program,while raising children, and went back to school to study exercise rehabilitation. "One of the boys I'd taught had a sister doing professional dance studies at the Australian Ballet School. She'd had a back injury, now recovered, but still felt pain. I worked with her on basic technique as a means of exercise rehabilitation which proved successful. After that I wanted to learn about the anatomy and physiology of exercise rehab."

Gina went to university in 2001, doing an undergraduate with Honours, becoming a university Lecturer in Clinical Exercise Studies. She's an accredited exercise physiologist and qualified Kinesiologist

Portrait

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1981

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autigraphs

Gina signs autographs 1988

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Photographs by Tony Pazuzu

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©2015 Mark Jabara Ellison Productions