Sophie Dillman is Yahoo Lifestyle Australia's columnist. Sophie brings 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.
Spending six years on the television has granted me many privileges. One of which was that I got to do a lot of interviews. I noticed there were common topics the public wanted to ask about, in fact there were certain questions I can almost guarantee I got every interview. One of the main ones was how did I work every day in a bikini?
The same as any other costume
This question has a lot of layers and my answer constantly changed throughout my time in the bay and is still changing today. Physically working in a bikini is simple. The costume was put in the wardrobe truck like any other and I would get changed after having my hair and makeup done. We would be escorted to the set and then I would perform the scene as it was written.
There could be occasional hiccups if there was big surf and a smaller bikini or a surfboard and big wind but for the most part, it was the same as wearing anything else.
'I hated wearing a bikini'
The emotional aspects of being in a bikini on primetime television is the tough bit. Firstly, I would like to point out that after talking to other cast members about their publicity experiences, I was one of the few that constantly got this question. This says to me that the public perception was that I shouldn’t feel good being in a bikini or I should not be in a bikini at all. None of the straight sized actors/actresses have their confidence questioned or value put up for debate. What does that say?
Shock horror, I hated wearing a bikini and it was the scariest thing about starting the job. I knew I wasn’t a size 8 and I knew that would be a topic of conversation for the public. My first day coming out of the surf there were fans, crew, paparazzi, fellow actors and soon thousands of people watching me waddle up Palm Beach trying to act cool, but I was dying inside.
Our beautiful head of makeup advised me to never look for pap photos or read the articles that came with them. Of course, I ignored that advice.I found those photos and cried for days.
Ziggy was the one wearing the clothes
I tried to focus on the character wearing the clothes rather than Sophie wearing the clothes. Ziggy was never self-conscious. She wore a bikini because it was practical to swim and surf in and she loved herself. Sophie tried to take inspiration from that, but it wasn’t easy. There were articles written about my boobs being too big, people constantly asked if I was pregnant, and I had trolls compare me to refrigerators. It was awful and endless. The effect that those comments and articles had on my self-esteem still affects me to this day.
Then I started thinking about 10-year-old Sophie, who grew up in the 90’s seeing the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera being considered ‘healthy’. If she could have watched someone that ate pizza and loved her body and surfed without being self-conscious, maybe she wouldn’t have grown up to feel this way about being in a bikini on television. So, on tough days I focused on little Soph and strutted up the beach for her.
I love that my body is strong, tough and healthy. I love that I can swim, run, dance, sing, act, play and laugh. I can do those things regardless of what I look like. However, I am not bulletproof and I work in an industry full of machine guns but guys come on, aren't we bored of talking about bodies yet? Can we focus on something more important? The world is burning, crazy people are running countries and women are having their rights stripped from them. There are more important questions to be answered.
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