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Profile image for Sonia Gray

Sonia Gray

Presenter, Actor

Although she’d already done a few small acting roles, Sonia Gray was better known as a model when she jumped in the deep end at 21, playing Aleesha Cook on Shortland Street. The con-woman character targeted men on the street, gaining wealth and a job at the hospital. Gray has been most prominent on local TV screens as New Zealand’s second-longest serving Lotto presenter (she began in 2005). She was a co-host of roving reality show Ghosts and game show Wheel of Fortune. As well as helping Kiwis win big, Gray has acted in movie Love Birds and 2011 short film Blessed Are They.

When Aleesha was unleashing her worst on the show things got pretty crazy for me in the real world. If I ventured out in public I risked being shoved or spat on or sworn at ... perhaps the peak of humiliation came when a guy poured a pint of beer over my head from the upstairs bar at a pub. That was the spirit breaker. Sonia Gray on the ramifications of playing Shortland Street villain Aleesha Cook, The Spinoff, 18 January 2016