Aussie actress and social media sensation Sarah Ellen gets real about Neighbours and that YouTube video...
If you're reading this and you don't know who Sarah Ellen is, jump on YouTube and google her name. Spend 35 seconds watching the clip of Sarah showing off her impressive eyebrow dancing moves and you'll quickly discover how a viral media star is born. Fast forward a few high school years, a few hundred thousand Instagram followers and the now 18 year old is starring on Neighbours as the wayward daughter of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan (aka Scott and Charlene) and spending her free time working on her website, Perks of Her.
A natural performer, Sarah wasted no time getting into character as the quintessential Dolce & Gabbana girl - flower crown and jewels included - for our special shoot. Clad in a series of exuberant and romantic outfits to celebrate the launch of Dolce & Gabbana's new über-feminine rose perfume, Rosa Excelsa (which was sprayed liberally during shoot day), Sarah Ellen took time out to chat with us about fame, learning lines why she's a bit of an Italian girl at heart...
You shot to fame on YouTube as a teen for your eyebrow dance clip, which led to nearly one million Instagram followers and now a gig on Neighbours. This is almost the opposite of what would normally happen - are you surprised at your trajectory?
I've always wanted to work in the entertainment industry, and I've been lucky to grow up in a time where social media has allowed you to create your own opportunities and find your own audience, without waiting around to be given a platform. I've used social media as a way to express myself, share what I'm doing and connect with people who are interested in the same things as me - but I was definitely surprised by how many people have wanted to chat with me and follow my journey! And now I find it really cool that I can share my acting ventures with my online followers. I'm so grateful that I can share my journey with so many amazing supporters - it feels so surreal!
Congrats on your Neighbours role! Have you always wanted to act?
Always! I've been playing characters and creating videos since I was kid, and more recently I've been creating short films for my YouTube channel, so it is exciting to make the move into TV - I feel extremely lucky that my first TV role is on such an iconic Australian show.
Are there any actresses or people you admire?
I think Jessica Lange has really mastered the art of playing different characters. I'm also a big fan of Phoebe Tonkin at the moment.
What has been the most surprising part about joining Neighbours?
Probably the long hours! It was definitely a shock to the system for me in my first week of 6am starts and 7pm wrap times... I'm now five weeks into filming and only just starting to get used to it.
How do you cope with the long days and learning lines? Do you have much spare time?
In between scenes I try to sneak in power naps wherever I can! Learning lines gets easier, you kind of get the hang of it after a while but it definitely takes time and patience. I'm still trying to master the art of balancing my spare time with work. There's not a lot of spare time at the moment but I'm grateful for all the work opportunities coming my way.
You must attend a few red carpet events now. What's your beauty philosophy? Do you stick to one look or do you experiment?
With my job I'm lucky enough to be able to experiment with many looks. I love how beauty products allow you to transform your look and mood, and create different characters. When it comes to my everyday routine, though, I try to keep it really simple and natural. I find that I break out the most when I'm not taking care of myself by not eating healthy or not doing enough exercise. So I guess my beauty philosophy is to listen to your body and its needs, and make sure that taking care of yourself is a priority.
What did you love about the looks in the shoot?
The Dolce & Gabbana pieces we used in the shoot were divine! I loved the shape and cut of the dresses, in particular. They made me feel elegant and very womanly.
The shoot was a celebration of Italian style. Is there anything specific you love about Italian culture?
Italian food is my favourite food in the world. Margherita pizza and spaghetti bolognaise - mmm.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
In terms of acting, Neighbours is definitely the focus. That said, I still have a lot of exciting projects going on for Perks of Her, so it's a bit of a juggling act! I'm about to have two weeks off filming Neighbours to head to LA for some Perks of Her projects, then I will come straight back to cover Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia for MTV.