Neighbours star Sharon Johal is paving her own path on Aussie TV

How the actress is breaking the mould

By Maddison Hockey
Growing up in a small town in South Australia, Sharon Johal's dream of becoming an actor seemed way out of reach.
On top of that, at the time there were few people who looked like her on Aussie TV.
After initially pursuing a career in law, Sharon decided to follow her true passion.
The move paid off when Sharon, 31, landed the role of Dipi in Neighbours in 2017. She became the first actor of Indian origin to play a major role on mainstream Australian television.
Sharon Johal is breaking down barriers on Australian TV.
TV WEEK caught up with Sharon to find out what this big break meant to her.
Many girls and women see you as a role model…
There are so many young girls – not only Indian or ethnic – who are like, "You're such an inspiration." It's been really difficult to get my foot in the door of the industry.
What do you like most about your character, Dipi?
The thing I love about her is she's a great role model for women. She's unapologetic in the way she feels and what she believes in. Everything she does, she owns. The funny thing is my fiancé thinks Dipi is submissive compared to me because she puts up with her husband. He's like, "There's no way Sharon in real life would put up with a guy like this who doesn't pull his weight!"

You were a lawyer before you became an actress. That must have been quite a big change…
There's actually an element of theatre in law. In court, you're playing a role and trying to be taken seriously, particularly as a young, somewhat pretty, woman. So you have to put on this bravado. You have to overcompensate to be accepted and treated well.
Neighbours airs weeknights, 6.30pm, 10 Peach.

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