Big Brother

EXCLUSIVE: Actor Bernard Curry reveals the heartbreaking personal reason he's taking part in Big Brother VIP

''The more we get the conversation out there and break down those stigmas, the better our mission is becoming.''

By Laura Masia
He's one of Australia's most beloved and prolific actors. From Home and Away, Neighbours and Wentworth to even hosting Beauty and the Geek, Bernard Curry has done it all.
But despite his long-standing place in the industry, when the 47-year-old walked through the doors of the Big Brother VIP hotel, glancing around at the likes of Caitlyn Jenner and Omarosa, he felt out of sorts.
"When I first came in I thought 'do I fit in around here? Am I enough of a VIP, to be here?'" Bernard reveals to TV WEEK.
"I was questioning the validity of my own kind of celebrity status of whether I deserved to be there. But you know, I'm sure everybody was having the same sort of doubts."
Bernard is appearing on Big Brother VIP* to support mental health charity One in Five. (Image: TV WEEK)
Despite the insecurities creeping in, Bernard, who is a die-hard survivor fan was excited to immerse himself in the strategic gameplay Big Brother VIP had to offer.
But most importantly, he knew the power of bringing national awareness to his chosen charity, One in Five, which funds research into curing mental illness. And although all of the celebrities are playing for causes close to their hearts, for Bernard, it's heartbreakingly personal.
"The most important reason for me being in there was to play on behalf of my charity, One in Five, which I helped to start 20 years ago," he explains.
"When a very good friend of my family, the Wardlaw family, lost their son and their brother, Matt to suicide, they decided to start a charity in his honour so he's not gone in vain."
Ever since, Bernard and his brother, fellow actor and comedian Stephen Curry, have been passionate ambassadors. And this opportunity couldn't have come at a better time.
"We want to cure mental illness but at the moment I feel like it's going in the wrong direction, given that Australia is still dealing with this incredible taxing situation with COVID," he says sadly.
Bernard has been a passionate ambassador for the charity since his family friends took their lives. (Image: Seven)
"The more we get the conversation out there and break down those stigmas, the better our mission is becoming."
Chatting to Bernard over the phone, it's only natural that Wentworth comes up in conversation, especially with the upcoming series finale. For the performer, who played crooked officer Jake Stewart, it was a bittersweet end.
"You know, there are definitely more stories to tell but I don't think you could go out on much more of a high than that final season," he says.
"Jake has been my favourite character to play in my entire career so I'll have gratitude for that experience with me forever."
Before Bernard took on the role, he was living in LA with his wife Sonya, and his two boys Fox, 11, and Banjo, nine. After five years of the constant grind of La-La Land, he was ready to move back home to Melbourne.
"It was an incredibly transformative time for me professional and personally living in LA, it was really brutal. It was really hard but at the same time I had a great measure of success," he reflects.
"We miss it, and we often talk about going back. We've just bought a house in Melbourne now so that's where we'll live for the next little while - but it's always job dependant when you're an actor."
While the constant fight for the next gig might not be for everyone, Bernard still thanks his lucky stars for his career every single day.
"I can confidently say that whenever I wake up in the morning, even if it's at 5am, I love it. I wake up excited to go to work every single day," he says, his grin radiating through the phone.
Bernard and his wife Sonya share two boys Fox, 11, and Banjo, nine. (Image: Instagram)
"I feel very lucky to be able to sustain myself and my family in this industry that I love. I think I've diversified my talents in a way that I'm able to do that.
"Sometimes if I'm not acting I'll still do voiceovers or still play music. It's just what I love to do."
And as a father, he hopes it's an example his boys take to heart.
"You always need to work hard, you need to be passionate about it and put everything into it. But when you're doing your job, it should feel easy. It should feel like the most natural thing in the world."

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