WHO: Jasmine has a difficult storyline coming up, what was that like for you to play and prepare for?
Sam: It’s been quite an emotional journey with Jas. There are so many different layers to her story, but it’s been really interesting for me to delve into her grief and her mental health journey.
I just felt really fortunate the writers and producers gave me the opportunity to tell such a beautiful story and an important story about grief and the different ways it shows up in people.
Everyone is completely different in how they handle grief and in a weird way, it was really fun to explore that, and the mental health side of things too.
Did you draw on personal experiences with grief to play this storyline?
Absolutely. I completely had to dig into my own personal grief that I’ve experienced. My stepdad raised me from when I was a teeny tiny girl and he died suddenly eight years ago and it was something that shook our whole family. It was completely unexpected, and he was the rock in my life and he is the reason why I am who I am.
Losing a parent so suddenly was extremely difficult for me so I definitely drew on that experience. With the big scenes, like when Robbo died and his funeral that I had to do, before I did those scenes I actually said a little prayer to my stepdad the night before, I would pray to him and ask him to help me with these scenes and help me tell the story truthfully.
I certainly felt like he was there, to be honest. He was there helping me be able to perform and do those scenes. So it’s been an emotional ride for me as a human and also as my character. I certainly experienced my own stuff that I’ve totally brought to the role.
You’ve also been very open about your own mental health journey, did you draw on that also when portraying Jasmine's grief?
Yes, my own mental health deteriorated quite a lot after my stepdad died, so I feel like it’s amazing how similar Jas’s storyline was to my own experience. I mean, obviously I didn’t go around stealing babies like Jas did, but I certainly experienced a toll on my own mental health when I lost my stepdad.
I definitely wanted to be honest about that in the storyline because it’s real life, and it’s human and we’re portraying human experiences on the show. So, yes, it’s been a ride for me on the show lately for sure.
How important do you think it is to open up when you’re struggling, especially around grief?
I think it’s the most important thing anyone could ever do for themselves, open up and speak openly about how you’re feeling and seek professional help.
Jassy goes to see a psychologist and I really loved that they showed those scenes because I think it’s so important for people to reach out during those times.
You can feel so alone in grief and it’s lonely and scary but the greatest thing you can do for yourself is open up, reach out and be open about what you’re going through.
How do you juggle the long days, whether you’re on set or on location in Palm Beach?
I have this thing where I always wake up an hour before I need to leave home. So even if I need to leave home at 5am I’ll be up at 4am, just so I can have a coffee, hang out with my dogs, run them around the block. I try and start my day by waking up properly before I have to leave because if I leave and I’m rushed and in a panic I’m going to spend my whole day in a panic.
When I find gaps in my day I’ll go for a walk or go to the gym but every day is different for me. It’s always busy and chaotic but I love it. My schedule changes by the minute. My friends are used to me, being all over the place. They’re amazing and so kind – they understand that my timing is all over the place sometimes in the space of half an hour.
What’s your downtime been like recently now that we’re not all out socialising as much?
I’m a bit of an introvert, so I’ve been really enjoying having to spend more time at home. I’ve been hanging out with my dogs, I’ve been reading a lot and I haven’t been watching much.
I’ve been doing a lot of housework. I got really excited when I bought a new vacuum! I don’t even know who I am any more. I’m vacuuming the ceiling like a lunatic! Then I bought a steam mop! I’m obsessed with appliances right now.
Do your dogs look at you like ‘what’s going on?’
They do a bit! Rocky and Greg are my Maltese Shih Tzus. We go for a walk and they get stopped all the time, they’re so cute. They’re like little teddies on that walk!