HomeHome and AwayEXCLUSIVE: How Sophie Dillman's five years on Home and Away aided her...

EXCLUSIVE: How Sophie Dillman’s five years on Home and Away aided her development: ““It was a huge learning curve”

”I always try to put things into perspective – my mum taught me that.”

When we call, actress Sophie Dillman is in her car, on speaker phone, laughing as she tells TV WEEK where she is. “I’m just driving up to the beach now, and the weather isn’t ideal. But I guess we’re back on track!”
It’s midday on her first day back on the set of Home And Away. Sophie is familiar with the drive to Palm Beach in Sydney’s north, which is home to the fictional town of Summer Bay. Years of playing Ziggy Astoni on the long-running drama have provided Sophie with some routine and stability, which is a rare gift for actors.

However, the drive feels a little different in 2022. The world looks different, and Sophie, by her own admission, is different. The Queenslander, like many Australians, has felt the weight of the global pandemic, so much so that the vacation she took with her boyfriend and on-screen partner Patrick O’Connor “didn’t feel quite long enough.” But she is grateful for what she has.

As with her on-screen character Ziggy, Sophie has a beaming smile and empowering confidence.

“I’m very lucky – my cup is full,”

“So far, no one in my immediate family is sick [from COVID-19], and I am healthy. I hadn’t been home in a year, so seeing everyone was surreal. Being around my family reconnects me with my roots.”
While Sophie has strong ties to her home state, she is used to the fast-paced life in Sydney – “I find I get impatient in Brisbane now,” she jokes – and currently lives with Patrick, who plays Dean Thompson on the show. In addition, she is now in her fifth season of Home And Away.
Sophie, like her on-screen character Ziggy, has a bright smile and exudes confidence. It can be found in the most unexpected places: after a workout, while chatting with friends, or while sitting on the couch with Patrick “I love hearing Paddy’s enthusiasm for what we do and where we’re going,” she says.

Sophie and Patrick are pictured with their co-stars Georgie Parker and Emily Symons.

This, however, was not always the case. The actress has spent a long time figuring out who she wants to be, a challenge she faced on the shores of Summer Bay. The road she now takes was once a little rocky.
When asked if she’s changed since her debut in 2017, Sophie says, “Yes [I’ve changed], absolutely – hugely.” “When I got the job on H&A, I was probably 25 years old. I was very young and hadn’t gone through much personal development.” I’d been institutionalised my entire life: I went to school, got two university degrees, and worked as a nurse for a year when I moved to Sydney. I discovered what it meant to be independent “Then I ended up on Home And Away, where I was still learning about being an adult – with the added pressure of possibly being in the public eye and how people perceive you. It was an enormous learning curve.”

Sophie lives with her boyfriend Patrick, who plays Dean Thompson on the show. 

There was an overwhelming sense of joy in the air during her first season as mechanic Ziggy. Sophie, wide-eyed, was eager to prove herself in what she refers to as a “Am I dreaming?” scenario. Advice on how to handle media attention came thick and fast, and soon the walls began to close in.
“There were defining moments when I was unhappy or sad, or taken back and vulnerable… that all happened,” she recalls. “However, I had an incredible support system.” One of the first articles about me – I’m not sure if it was the story or the photos – made me very angry. One of my dear friends, Raechelle Banno [who played Olivia in H&A from 2015 to 2018],

gave me a present and wrote me a letter about the situation I chose to heed the advice of various people, and as a result, I’ve escaped relatively unscathed.”
Sophie, now five years older and wiser, is paying it forward.
“Every time a new person arrives on set, I try to tell them the same thing because it saved my life. I’ll be eternally grateful, “she claims
Sophie, who is an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia and is personally affected by the condition, is quickly becoming a role model for other women, whether in or out of the entertainment industry. She believes the benefit is complete.

“My mother [a nurse] is a role model for me. She excels at problem solving, assisting, and maintaining order. people remain calm, “she claims “In an emergency, she’s the first person I call. My girlfriends, on the other hand, are nurses, economists, lawyers, business owners, optometrists, and bank employees, to name a few. They are very inspiring to me.

Sophie, who’s an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia and is affected by the condition, is fast becoming a role model for other women

“There weren’t a lot of women supporting other women when I was growing up in the ’90s, and I wish I’d had that.” It’s inspiring to see women achieve great things. It’s worth it if I can help just one person.”
Sophie’s evolution continues, with a 2022 mantra to “be kind” to herself and others. It may never be finished, but that’s fine. Her goal isn’t to have everything, but rather to have enough to keep her feet on the ground.
“My mother taught me to always put things in perspective,” she says.
“Right now, there’s a lot of anxiety in the world, and the world is exhausted.” I’ve definitely matured as a person and a woman over the years. I’m at ease in my own skin and more certain of who I am, who I want to be, and who I want to be around. I’m going to take it one step at a time.”


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