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Home and Away’s Sophie Dillman spills on the cost of working in TV: ‘Targeted and attacked’

EXCLUSIVE: Sophie Dillman reveals why being a working actor is a whole different ball game.

Sophie Dillman is Yahoo Lifestyle Australia’s new columnist. Sophie will be bringing insider insights into everything from her time on Home and Away to what it’s like being in the public eye and falling in love in the workplace.

Each job has its difficulties. My biggest fear when I was a bartender was that I would accidentally drop a jug of beer on the attractive young lawyers who came in for happy hour. When I taught rowing, I wanted every student to share my passion for the sport (while also attempting to keep them all). When I was a nurse, I had to take care of someone’s mother, husband, or child as if it were my own. But being a working actor is a very different game.

Don’t get me wrong, working on Home and Away has been the best experience of my life, and that job would not be possible without the millions of fans that care about the show, your character, and consequently, you. I believe that because of the devoted fan base for Home and Away in particular, there is a heightened interest in any actor who shows up on Summer Bay’s shores.

In the beginning of my career, I thought that working in television came with a price: a lack of privacy and constant public scrutiny. Speaking about other people going through these things and going through those things oneself, however, are very different.

My friends have been singled out and attacked by cowardly keyboard warriors who have lied about them, called them derogatory names, and threatened people in comments on my Instagram posts. I’ve had embarrassing stories written about me, especially regarding my appearance, which have caused me to sob uncontrollably in front of Woolworths in Westfield. I’ve had to answer some blatantly offensive questions from interviewers without sobbing or fleeing. In summary, it can be really challenging.

But my career in television has opened up a world of possibilities for me. It has allowed me the honor of getting to know some amazing people who have molded my career, offered me advice, and motivated me to achieve and be better. These amazing people have given me a sense of belonging and significance, which has improved my work as an artist and, hopefully, improved my overall character. The coolest people on the planet are creatives.

Additionally, it has allowed me to collaborate with organizations like Trevor Sandzy’s The Abilities Ball. Some of my favorite memories are the children and the happiness on their expressions as we dance and laugh together. Being an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia has not only helped me learn more about managing my condition, but it has also given me the opportunity to help hundreds of other women who are experiencing hardship. Beyond anything I could have imagined, working at the numerous hospital Telethons and getting to know some of the strongest families has inspired me.

I really believe it is my obligation to present a real human being, complete with authentic emotions, to everyone seeing me perform outside. I would hate to think that anyone who saw me in a social media post or in an interview felt they had to alter who they were or how they appeared. On the other hand, I am human and have MANY insecurities of my own. I frequently fall victim to the perfection displayed on social media and in my line of work. I wish there were more real-looking women in the media; I have hope that things are changing, but there is still a long way to go.

It has been somewhat upsetting to consider this phase of my professional life. Even if there are times I’d rather forget, all of these encounters have brought me to this place—sitting in a London café reflecting on the craziest and most wonderful years of my life. Hard? Heck yeah. Fair? No, never. Value it? Totally


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