You may spot them happily engrossed in conversation at a cafe, or simply out and about together. But there’s no need to do a double-take.
For while Sophie Dillman and Emily Eskell’s alter-egos Ziggy and Simone are unspoken enemies, with Simone launching into a full-blown affair with Ziggy’s husband Brody (Jackson Heywood), nothing could be further from the truth for their gorgeous portrayers.
From the moment NIDA performing arts graduate Emily first stepped on set last year, she found a kindred spirit in regular cast member Sophie.
As Emily says: “Sophie’s become a very good friend of mine – she’s such a great girl and we see each other a lot.”
“It almost felt like we knew each other straight away,” says Sophie. “Emily’s just the coolest chick. She’s so down-to-earth, intelligent and real – just a beautiful creative human who’s very kind and loves a laugh.”
Little wonder that the actresses have at times struggled to keep a straight face when the cameras roll, with Ziggy making it abundantly clear to Simone that she doesn’t trust her around her husband.
“That passive aggression that women can do to each other is so hilarious when it’s not being done to you as a real person,” says Emily.
“Sophie is so good at it and it’s hard not to take it personally, because you know she loves you in real life – but she’s such a good actor.” Reflects Sophie: “Emily has said a couple of times that I’m quite intimidating to act across in these scenes, and I’m like, ‘I don’t really understand that.’ But then I watch the tape back and can see that I look like the green monster of jealously! And Emily plays the most perfect opposite to Ziggy, which make it so interesting and the dynamic so great.”
Certainly, too, both Sophie and Emily have had their share of reactions from fans engrossed in the intense storyline.
“I’ve had a few people on Instagram saying: ‘Watch out – your husband’s cheating on you!’” says Sophie with a laugh. “I’ve even had people in the elevator at work say: ‘Oh, that Brody! How dare he!’”
“I’ve also had a few messages from people believing it’s real,” adds Emily. “But most people have been so incredibly lovely. I went to a charity event not long ago and a lot of the fans were saying: ‘We really like you in real life!’ Others were saying that, while they’re upset with Brody’s actions, they do see Brody and Simone as a better match than Brody and Ziggy.”
As Emily also reflects of the storyline: “It’s a very real situation, unfortunately. And I think it becomes clearer and clearer to Brody that he and Simone have far more in common and heaps more chemistry than he has with Ziggy. It’s very well written – the dialogue and the way that Ziggy and Brody came together is very natural, and so it hasn’t been a hard situation to play realistically.
“For me, Simone’s intentions have to be that she never wanted to hurt anyone, but that this connection with Brody was so unfathomable that she had to do something about it. Otherwise she would have lived her whole life wondering, ‘What if?’”
In real life, Emily recently tied the knot in an intimate NSW Southern Highlands ceremony with her soulmate, Joel Lumsden. And naturally, Sophie was on hand to celebrate.
“I definitely wanted her there,” says Emily. “I had such a strict guest list, but I couldn’t not have had her at my wedding.”
“It was really special to be there,” says Sophie. “Em wore the most incredible dress with the most incredible thigh-high velvet boots and danced the night away with all of her loved ones.”
And both Sophie and Emily are sure of this: no matter where life may take them, they’ll always have time for each other.
“I just love her,” says Emily, “and I’m very, very grateful for the friendship we have.”
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