Fans of Home & Away bemoaned the departure of Sarah Roberts’ character, Willow Harris when she officially left Summer Bay in April 2021.
It was a bittersweet move for Sarah, but it gave her the chance to refocus her goals.
“I’ve really started to focus on myself, my family, and my health a lot more,” the actress tells New Idea.
“When you work on such a fast-paced show like Home & Away for such a long period of time, you can start to become complacent when it comes to your own health and looking after yourself properly.”
Sarah notes that she has been taking “microsteps” in her health journey, as her late brother Karl instructed her to do, throughout her newfound emphasis on self-care.
“He would never fail to get up in the morning, rain, hail or shine and just put on his shoes and get to the gym (usually waking me up at 6am and dragging me along with him!) …this was the first microstep, once you’ve done that, the rest just seems to fall into place.”
Karl, who sadly passed away in 2019 after a fight with brain cancer, had a close relationship with Sarah, 37.
The actress calls her late brother her “guardian angel,” telling New Idea that the moment he walked her down the aisle for her wedding to James Stewart will be a memory she would treasure for the rest of her life.
“I’m so grateful we got to share that moment together before he passed,” she says. “I often think about how lucky I was to have a brother as amazing as Karl; he taught me so much and now, even though I would do anything to still have him here with me in person, I feel like I have a guardian angel who is always watching over me and guiding me through life.”
“I’ll never forget walking down ‘the aisle’ arm in arm with him; it was almost as if the man who had helped shaped me into the woman I had become was walking me towards my future and now when I look back, I get an assured feeling that everything is going to be okay, no matter what, because he led me here.”
Sarah felt like COVID was “a drop in the ocean” in comparison to the anguish she felt after losing Karl. As many people struggled with the mental tolls that came with the epidemic, Sarah felt like COVID was “a drop in the ocean.”
“My world had already been rocked and changed forever after losing Karl and it felt like nothing could rip my heart out the way losing my big brother had,” Sarah says.
“Grief is so fickle and takes you by surprise, I think the whole world is grieving for a world we once knew. We have to be kind to each other and to ourselves, everything is changing and I think we’re all coming to terms with a new way of living.
“The beauty I believe, when we’re ready, can be found in recognizing the way we all put ourselves back together differently than we were before.”
Sarah, who considers mental health to be a top concern, reveals how she’s been taking care of her “headspace” by eating healthier, doing things she enjoys, and sleeping more.
The singer, who admits she is a “anxious person” who has now been getting more sleep and recognizing the impact on both her physical and mental wellbeing, has a glow about her now that she has more time to prioritize herself.
“I’ve had so many of my friends tell me that my skin looks great since finishing on Home & Away and the only thing I can put it down to is the Healthy Care Collagen Sleep tablets I’ve been taking and the sleep I’ve been getting. Huzzah!”
Sarah has prioritized her family in addition to her health. Scout, the daughter of her husband James and his ex-partner Jessica Marais, is nine years old and she is her stepmother.
Gushing over Scout, Sarah deems her “a beautiful lady inside and out”.
“She loves art, she’s dramatic (just like her dad!) and she also has the biggest heart for such a little human,” the DJ says.
“I may be biased but I think Scout can grow up to be whatever she sets her mind to…
I simply hope that maturation does not come too soon!”
Is a comeback to Home & Away on the cards for Sarah? According to New Idea, the actress says it’s not out of the question.
“I absolutely loved my time in Summer Bay and would definitely make a return cameo if the timing was right,” she says.
“I miss putting her boots and leathers on and walking about the bay like a badass! Willow started out as such a firecracker of a character!” I also miss the cast and crew, who became like family to me (literally!). I’m so delighted we’ve all tried to keep in touch.”
Willow, on the other hand, is only one of Sarah’s many hats. When she’s not performing, the 37-year-old is a DJ who performs in the VAMP combo with her best friend Kate Lister. And, according to Sarah, she plans to return to the studio shortly.
“I’d love to record more music, get back into singing and do more gigs as VAMP with Kate. It’s been hard with COVID because we’ve both been in different cities and dance floors have been limited but it’s so nice when you get to share and make memories with your best friend doing things that you love that make you happy.”
Sarah is featured in the upcoming comedy film Wog Boys Forever, created by Nick Giannopoulos, in addition to her musical abilities.
After the somber plot lines in Summer Bay, the actress thinks that working on a comedy was a great change of pace.
“To be working on a comedy felt like a breath of fresh air after all the intense drama I had to play out on Home & Away for the four years I was on the show. To be able to laugh every day at work was such a blessing.
“(Wog Boys Forever) will be out in cinemas in the second half of this year sometime and I think for audiences, it will be a great relief from all the challenges of the last few years. It’s a feel-good film, it’s a comedy, and I think when it’s released it’s going to be exactly what people have been waiting for.”
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