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Roots with South Asian Today: Finding escape in acting & duty in speaking up

Season 02, Ep 02: In conversation with actor Sharon Johal

The second guest for Roots is Sharon Johal.


Sharon is an actor, writer, presenter, and one of Australia's most well-known South Asian creatives.

But apart from acting, it is speaking up where I connect with Sharon the most.

Earlier this year, Sharon released a public statement about facing racism on the set of Neighbours, easily one of Australia's biggest and longest-running tv shows. 

Before her, two Indigenous actors, Shareena Clanton and Meyne Wyatt from Wongatha, Yamatji and Noongar and Gitja country, had come out with similar experiences. 

It's not surprising that people were dragged for talking about race, which is often the case in white-dominated Australia; topics including racism are not taken seriously and are often dismissed or painted as a cry for attention.

It isn't easy to speak up but Sharon believes she must, and even if it is difficult sometimes, she doesn't want to choose to stay silent. And she is aware that not everybody is going to like her. As she says "no one likes a strong woman".

But how did she get here?

What is it like to be an outspoken brown woman and a public figure in Australia, to grow up in rural areas to a Sikh-Punjabi family and to go against all odds to pursue acting?

Sharon has hands-down the most unique stories to tell. For half the recording my mouth was just wide open.


Tune in!

About the author

Dilpreet is the founder of South Asian Today. More about her can be found here.




Roots with South Asian Today: Media diversity in Australia is long overdue

Season 02, Ep 04: In conversation with Mariam Veiszadeh, new CEO of Media Diversity Australia