Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: The Block’s Sharon reveals how her “villain portrayal” has affected her mental health

''Any building site can be like a hair salon on a bad day, filled with gossip.''
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Sharon Johal has had enough. She’s had her fill of the online trolls, the anonymous threats and the whispers as she walks down the street.

While the former Neighbours actress knows what it’s like to be in the public eye, she never expected to become a maligned figure after appearing on The Block with her husband Ankur.

She says, after a gruelling three months, her portrayal as the series villain has come as “a shock”.

Sharon says she was shocked by her villain portrayal.

(Image: TV WEEK)

“I’ve played villains in my acting career and they’re always fun, but no, we don’t consider ourselves villains – and neither does anyone who knows us,” Sharon, 34, tells TV WEEK.

Unfortunately for Sharon, the complicated drama continues this week as the feud with her builders, Liam and Scotty, comes to a head when she accuses Scotty of making orders in their budget for his own personal use.

But that wasn’t the only problem. With no renovation experience, the couple made it clear they expected their building team to take leadership and support them.

“We didn’t feel supported when we put forward ideas and suggestions that could have taken our home to the next level, which was upsetting,” Sharon explains.

Sharon and Ankur said how they’ve been depicted has affected their mental health.

(Image: Nine)

“Any building site can be like a hair salon on a bad day, filled with gossip. We were really disappointed to hear they were talking on camera behind our backs without speaking to us directly about issues that were exaggerated for TV.”

Thankfully, foremen Keith and Dan are on house three’s side – even though Sharon and Ankur were caught gossiping about Keith, claiming he was helping them only when the cameras were rolling. After an apology, they quickly made up.

“It felt good having them back us up knowing that they had the experience and knowledge to see the situation for what it was,” she says.

Both Sharon and Ankur have been candid about how their time on the show, and how they’ve been depicted, has affected their mental health.

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“I consider myself a pretty strong person, but this show is a challenge of strength, both mental and physical,” Sharon says.

“We always wore a microphone, so even having a private conversation with your spouse can be replayed and used in a storyline.

“We were fatigued from non-stop work, sleep deprivation, no days off, not always eating well, freezing cold and sometimes having no access to hot showers – all the things that go into day-to-day self-care and well-being.”

Through it all, Sharon hopes that those watching The Block can see her and Ankur for who they really are: “everyday Australians”.

“We were fatigued from non-stop work, sleep deprivation, no days off.”

(Image: Nine)

“We’re genuine and authentic, and wear our hearts on our sleeves because we see no shame in being vulnerable or showing our emotions,” she shares. “We care and have passion.”

Despite the difficulties, the experience has had a silver lining.

“When we didn’t think our relationship could get stronger or deeper, the connection between us has multiplied 1000-fold,” Sharon says.

But is it enough to see the couple return to The Block?

“I’m probably still in the thick of it and trying to work it all out,” Sharon says. “Ask me again in a couple of months’ time!”

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