TV

Home And Away’s Olivia Deeble: My biggest challenge

The Summer Bay favourite opens up.

With more than 176,000 followers on social media, it’s clear 16-year-old Olivia Deeble – who plays Raffy Morrison on Home and Away – is one of our most popular stars.

Indeed, Olivia’s legion of fans were quick to shower the actress with messages of love when she recently revealed in a harrowing post on Instagram about an accident where she “hit my head”.

Shortly afterwards, the high-schooler updated her fans that she was “totally recovered now”, saying she “loved being back at work in the Bay”.

In a surreal twist of fate, however, Olivia’s real-life drama came as her Summer Bay character suffered a knock to the head in a freak tunnel collapse.

And this week in the hit series, Raffy receives a life-changing diagnosis – she has epilepsy.

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For Olivia, the emotionally charged storyline is undoubtedly one of the most important she has tackled and she felt great responsibility to do it justice.

“I was really grateful when the producers said they were giving me this storyline,” reflects Olivia. “I then knuckled down and did a lot of research. I wanted to do it as well as I possibly could. I knew people who have epilepsy would be out there watching.”

As Olivia says, the diagnosis naturally turns Raffy’s world upside down. “It is very scary for her,” she says.

“She wasn’t born with epilepsy. It is due to an injury, so it’s completely life altering for her. She begins to feel that she is totally alone and that no-one in the Bay gets what she’s going through.

“With a lot of the grief and sadness she is experiencing, I think she just needs to sit on it for a little bit in order to start to overcome it, whereas everyone else is trying to put a lid on it.

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Olivia suffered a concussion earlier this year
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Olivia’s character Raffy on Home and Away was diagnosed with epilepsy

“Everyone is trying to walk on eggshells around her, whereas Raffy just wants to go back to how things used to be – but that’s never going to happen.”

Having joined the show aged just 13, Olivia hails from a prominent acting family – her grandfather is The Sullivans star Reg Gorman, while her mother Kate Gorman and grandmother Judith Roberts both appeared in shows such as Neighbours and Blue Heelers.

Moving to Sydney from her hometown of Melbourne after landing the part of Raffy, Olivia has wasted no time forging her own path in the industry.

“I’m so grateful to be able to be on the show and we have such a brilliant family here,” she says.

“Everyone has each other’s back, which is lovely. There’s no competition. We’re all just here for what we’re here for.

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“Emily [Symons, who plays Raffy’s foster mum Marilyn] is like my second mum, for sure. Shane [Withington, who plays John Palmer] is so lovely, too, and they all guide me. I’m so lucky to have them.”

Meanwhile, Olivia reveals we will see a very different side to Raffy in the coming months, as the teen struggles to come to terms with her condition.

“She spirals a lot,” she says.

“I’ve always found her to be very strong, independent and hard-working and now everything changes.”

For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now! 

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