Name: Leah de Niese

Occupation: Actor

Leah de Niese began acting at the age of seven and across the years has enjoyed a flourishing film and television career. Her film credits include Dee McLachlan’s award winning comedy, 10 Terrorists, the Geoff Bennett directed comedy, Hating Alison Ashley and indie thriller, Court of Lonely Royals. On television she is widely recognized for her role as Nicola Panas in Playmaker Media’s, House Husbands, the first season of which won the 2013 Logie Award for Most Popular Drama Series. Previous to this she appeared as Odile in the multi-award winning series, Offspring, as Celia in Puberty Blues and as free-spirited Abby in ABC2’s Twentysomething.

Other television credits include a regular role in the AFI Award winning children’s drama Short Cuts, as well as guest appearances in Noah and Saskia and iconic dramas Neighbours, Blue Heelers and Stingers.

5 Minutes with Leah de Niese.

Why is brain health important to you?

Brain health is important to me because I have watched my Nanny slowly graduate from Dementia to Alzheimer’s, which she has now suffered for many, many years. We were lucky at the onset as she enjoyed being ‘stuck in the past’ and wasn’t too bothered when we would repeatedly point out that she was no longer a young girl living in a paddock with her brother, dad and mum! However, other people aren’t so lucky and the gradual onset of Alzheimer’s can be really frightening for the patient and heartbreaking for those around them. 

What do you do for your brain health (i.e. regular exercise, eat healthily, do cross words)?
I am quite vigilant with exercise and I workout 6 days a week, running along the beach and doing bootcamp with friends. I am a very healthy eater, but I believe balance is important - I eat chocolate every single day… chocolate is essential for brain health right?! 
I am a student of Tai Chi and Qigong, I go to classes at Tai Chi Australia once a week and I practice every other day on the beach. 
I was lucky to have been brought up with music as my second language, learning the Cello from the age of three. I feel this developed in me a strong discipline for memorizing at a very young age and I understand this is great for brain health.  My Cello is a tad dusty these days and the brain, like a muscle, must be exercised often to stay in shape. Lucky for me as an actor I am constantly exercising my memory in the learning of lines! 

If you could change one thing to benefit your brain health what would it be (i.e. quit smoking, eat more fruit and vegetables, exercise more, learn new things)?
I would love to be multi-lingual… I learnt French and German in high school, but am not fluent. I have also completed Level one of Auslan, sign language. I hope to become fluent in at least one of these languages one day!



Call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 for questions, information, advice.


Your Brain Matters was supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Chronic Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Fund from July 2012 to June 2015.



Dementia Australia would like to acknowledge the Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians and carers of the country of Australia.