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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Neighbours star Sharon Johal says racism is ‘a constant’ in her life

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Neighbours star Sharon Johal made her first appearance on screen as Deepika ‘Dipi’ Rebecchi in 2017.

In a column for The Sunday Telegraph’s Stellar magazine, the third generation Australian of Indian heritage revealed how racism has been ‘a constant’ in her life.

The 32-year-old recalled the difficulty in getting work before landing Neighbours, and said she’s ‘incessantly trolled on social media’ and at times, in public. 

Racism: Neighbours star Sharon Johal (pictured) revealed how racism has been 'a constant' in her life, in a column penned for The Sunday Telegraph's Stellar magazine this weekend

Racism: Neighbours star Sharon Johal (pictured) revealed how racism has been ‘a constant’ in her life, in a column penned for The Sunday Telegraph’s Stellar magazine this weekend

‘I’m incessantly trolled on social media and sometimes even in public, with people saying things like “go back to your country” and “you and your filthy children need to leave Ramsay Street”,’ Sharon penned. 

While she’s now a household name with her starring role on the popular Channel 10 soap, Sharon explained how her foray into acting wasn’t easy.

Sharon attended acting classes in secret while studying to become a lawyer, as her parents threatened to disown her should she embark on a career in acting.

Abuse: The third generation Australian of Indian heritage, 32, said she's 'incessantly trolled on social media and sometimes even in public, with people saying things like "go back to your country" and "you and your filthy children need to leave Ramsay Street"'

Abuse: The third generation Australian of Indian heritage, 32, said she’s ‘incessantly trolled on social media and sometimes even in public, with people saying things like “go back to your country” and “you and your filthy children need to leave Ramsay Street”‘ 

Struggling to find work for 10 years as an actress, Sharon recalled how agents told her they couldn’t represent her ‘as there was no work for people like me’.  

‘I was on the outer of the acting community – I didn’t have the contacts, I wasn’t privy to nepotism and I wasn’t invited into the inner circle. It was like I wasn’t supposed to be there,’ she wrote.

Ready to pack in the towel, Sharon was surprised and relieved when she got a call from Neighbours, and eventually cast in the role of Dipi.

'I was on the outer of the acting community': Struggling to find work for 10 years as an actress before landing a role on Neighbours, Sharon recalled how agents told her they couldn't represent her 'as there was no work for people like me'

‘I was on the outer of the acting community’: Struggling to find work for 10 years as an actress before landing a role on Neighbours, Sharon recalled how agents told her they couldn’t represent her ‘as there was no work for people like me’ 

Despite being pleased at how the soap is featuring a diverse cast, Sharon said we must continue in ensuring there’s greater representation on television and in media.  

‘I feel exhausted and have unwittingly become somewhat of a flag-bearer in championing these communities. Yet we must persevere.’ 

Despite having endured multiple challenges, Sharon shared an empowering message for her fans for SBS News back in 2018.

'We must persevere': Despite being pleased at how the soap is featuring a diverse cast, Sharon said we must continue in ensuring there's greater representation on television and in media. Pictured with co-star Don Hany

‘We must persevere’: Despite being pleased at how the soap is featuring a diverse cast, Sharon said we must continue in ensuring there’s greater representation on television and in media. Pictured with co-star Don Hany

‘I didn’t set out to be a role model but if I could say anything, it’s don’t be afraid to speak about what you want to achieve and what you do want to do,’ she said.  

‘Don’t listen to the naysayers, don’t listen to people who tell you it’s impossible.

‘I’m an everyday Australian and I struggled and went through ups and downs like everyone else. Be kind, keep trying, you will get there.’ 

Read more: Sharon's entire column for Stellar magazine is featured in this weekend's The Sunday Telegraph

Read more: Sharon’s entire column for Stellar magazine is featured in this weekend’s The Sunday Telegraph

This post was first published on DailyMail.

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