Home and Away: Emily Symons, Olivia Deeble and Will McDonald share a big secret

The Summer Bay favourites tell all to New Idea
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Home and Away’s Emily Symons (Marilyn), Olivia Deeble (Raffy) and Will McDonald (Jett) have great onscreen rapport – and with Mother’s Day around the corner, we find out more. 


As the sometimes ditzy but always well-meaning Marilyn, Emily Symons appears as sunny as her character’s famously vibrant wardrobe.

With her alter ego now dishing out love and advice to Raffy and adopted son Jett, the star is in her element. And when the director calls ‘cut’ at the end of the filming day, Emily can’t wait to get home to her gorgeous real-life son, 3-year-old Henry.

Emily, what does Mother’s Day mean to you?

It means a lot, because I became a mother later in life and I’m extremely grateful to have had this opportunity and to have my beautiful little boy. I never thought I’d be able to celebrate Mother’s Day. He is the joy of my life.

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day with Henry?

We don’t really have a tradition as yet because he’s still so little, but we will probably do something really ‘cool’, as Henry likes to call it. For him, it might be going to the ice-cream shop or to the zoo – just a Mum-and-Henry day.

Your character Marilyn is such a devoted mum.

She really is, and I so enjoy that aspect of the character. She’s loving and she’s kind. It’s such a great vehicle for her to nurture these kids and look after them, as she has so much love to give. A lot of the kids are quite broken and have had a difficult past when they’ve come to her, so they need that extra love and attention.

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Do you feel quite maternal to Olivia and Will in real life?

I do – I feel incredibly protective of them.

Who was your on-set mentor when you first began on Home and Away almost 30 years ago?

Judy Nunn [who played Ailsa] was always a great role model and mentor for me. Before Home and Away, when I worked on [the series] Richmond Hill at 17 and 18, Paula Duncan was a wonderful mentor and incredibly kind and nurturing to me. I do remember what it was like when I first started out – it was a very overwhelming, daunting prospect to be working full-time in professional television. I hope that I can now give the young actors on the show some support and good advice to move forward, and make their day a little bit easier.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give Olivia and Will?

Just to stay their wonderful, funny and free-spirited selves.

Olivia and Will, what do you love most about working with Emily?

Olivia: Emily’s just a wonderful mentor to me. She’s always been really helpful and if I’ve ever had any problems I’ve always been able to talk to her. She’s also got such an incredible work ethic – and that’s really taught me professionalism. She’s been such a big influence in my life.

Will: Emily and I have worked together for so long. We have a wonderful rapport and respect for one another, and that makes it easier to do storylines that are more emotionally taxing.

The first time Jett met Marilyn, he was still living on the streets and mugged Marilyn! Since then, we have shared so many laughs and had so many special moments working together.

HOME AND AWAY airs Mon. to Thu., 7pm.


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