Love Island

Why Aussie star Sophie Monk isn’t your typical atomic blonde

'You don't know me.'

By Lucy Croke
Blonde bombshell, actress and Love Island Australia host Sophie Monk is used to people assuming she's a "party girl", yet she's a long way from the stereotype.
"I didn't really drink until I was in my thirties," Sophie, 43, tells TV WEEK. "I was a bit of a nerd and a workaholic. Because of my job, I never went out. I get to dress up and socialise all the time for work, so when I have downtime, I want to hang out with my husband and family."
"I get to dress up and socialise all the time for work..." (Image: Supplied)
In that downtime, Sophie, who rose to fame as a member of pop group Bardot in 2000, likes to sit down with a glass of wine and watch crime documentaries or a favourite reality show. One of those is Married At First Sight (MAFS), with Sophie saying if anyone denies loving it, "they're lying".
This season, Love Island Australia has its very own MAFS crossover, with Kirra Schofield, the sister of season 10's Bronte Schofield, one of the singles entering the villa.
"Kirra was so ballsy defending her sister [to Harrison Boon on season 10 of MAFS]," Sophie says. "She called out everything the audience was thinking. I thought, 'What an awesome chick.' I was stoked to have her on our season."
As a supporter of the show, Sophie hasn't ruled out one day being the fourth expert on the MAFS couch.
Sophie filmed Love Island Australia in Mallorca Spain. (Image: Supplied)
"I'd love that," Sophie says with a laugh. "But it could be very divisive – my husband [Joshua Gross] and I argue when we watch it, especially if he takes the wrong person's side."
Sophie and Josh met on a plane in 2018 and have been together since. Josh wasn't a fan of reality shows prior to knowing Sophie, but now "is addicted" and gets heavily invested in the participants each season.
"Like losers, we stay back and watch the monitors after I finish work [on the set of Love Island]," Sophie says. "You know it's a good show if you want to stay around after work just to see what's happening."
The couple don't like to spend too much time apart, so Josh joins Sophie on her trips to Mallorca in Spain, where the show is filmed.
"We got to holiday for only four days after filming wrapped, but if you work in a beautiful place, it changes everything," Sophie enthuses. "I have the best job in the world."
The couple are trying for a child, but have been struggling with their IVF journey and decided to "take a break".
"We had some good news, and then some bad news," Sophie explains. "We decided to take a minute and focus on work. Whatever is meant to be will be, and I've come to realise that in life you just need to go with the flow."
Sophie's aim after Bardot was to become an actress, but she found herself typecast as the busty blonde. She admits she was partly to blame.
"I used to show up to auditions with my hair and make-up completely done," she recalls. "You aren't supposed to do that – you're meant to wear a white T-shirt and jeans and dress down."
Now that Sophie has accepted that "funny, light-hearted roles" suit her, and has leaned into it, we can look forward to seeing her in an action comedy in 2024 – Zombie Plane.
Sophie on Andy Lee's comedy panel show. (Image: Supplied)
"It was the first script I couldn't put down," Sophie explains. "It's a silly, fun movie with Vanilla Ice and Chuck Norris. I'm very excited."
Sophie is used to hanging out with Hollywood names, having lived in Los Angeles for 10 years, where she had roles in films such as 2006 comedy drama Click, starring Adam Sandler, and starred in the film clip for Blink-182's 2004 song "Always", in which she famously kissed the US punk band's drummer, Travis Barker.
"Everyone knows everyone in the industry," she says. "We have quite a small industry in Australia, but when I lived in LA, it was just as small."
Sophie has played no small part in the fun that unfolds on homegrown comedy panel show The Hundred With Andy Lee. She says she relishes her growing friendship with the funnyman and host.
"He's a really nice person," she says. "I've got the best deal that I can come to work and have a good time."

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