EXCLUSIVE: Olivia Deeble Explains The Importance Of Highlighting “Women’s Power” In The Media

Plus she lends her advice for aspiring young actors.
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Having navigated being a young woman in the media for 19 years now, actress Olivia Deeble tells Girlfriend that being under a microscope hasn’t always been easy, particularly when it comes to the gendered experiences she has so often faced.

WATCH: Olivia Deeble’s Last Day on Home and Away

“I grew up on television and on people’s TVs since a very young age and I think having a shift from being a girl to a woman was really hard because I was under the microscope a little bit. So I was quite harshly judged for what I did and I think it took me a while to figure out the kind of woman I wanted to be because everyone had an opinion on it,” Olivia tells Girlfriend.

“I’d cut my hair and people would write an article about how much they hated it, or they’d comment on my weight, you know, I’d be judged for hitting puberty and being confident in my body because some people aren’t comfortable with a woman regaining her power and being comfortable in who she is.”

Despite all of this, the 19-year-old tells Girlfriend she is one of the lucky ones.

“I was quite harshly judged for what I did and I think it took me a while to figure out the kind of woman I wanted to be,” Olivia tells Girlfriend. (Credit: Instagram)

“I’m pretty lucky, I’ve never had like trolls or people being super awful. It’s just when I was young being paparazzied without my knowledge or people having opinions on my weight or what I should do to myself and that’s really hard as a young woman because I’m trying to figure out myself and who I want to be.”

Olivia goes on to explain that opinions come with being a public figure and learning to navigate them is part of the job.

“Once you’re a public figure and you’re in the public eye you need to know that people are allowed to have an opinion on you but it’s up to you whether you let that opinion affect you or not or how much you take their opinion into your stride.”

In the age of social media, people’s opinions have never been more vocalised. This is something that the young performer is definitely cognisant of when choosing which projects to partake in.

Olivia used to star alongside James Stewart on Home & Away. (Credit: Channel Seven)

“You have to think about the kind of messages that you’re sending out into the world and what you believe and stand for, especially because everything’s so documented and quite harshly judged now, you need to really be aware of what you’re going to be putting your name attached to and, more importantly, what you’re supporting and your beliefs are.”

When it comes to the decision process, Olivia tells us that even if she is not 100% sure of a script, most of the time she will audition anyway. But if she gets further along in the casting process, that’s when the 19-year-old more closely considers what she would be attaching her name to.

“If it goes into deciding and then it kind of moves forward, I think: ‘Is this a story I want to be telling? Is this a piece of art that I want to be putting out into the world and telling a story that’s important to me and will be important to other people who look up to me and resonate with me?’.”

Olivia starred in Disney+’s Secret Society of Second-Born Royals alongside Peyton Elizabeth Lee. (Credit: Instagram)

Considering women have been historically represented as one dimensional, Olivia is adamant on portraying female characters with depth.

“For me, a lot of the time because I’m a young woman, I want to tell stories about powerful young women and what sometimes happens and there needs to be an arc with it as well. There can’t just be ‘little dumb girl’, she’s just pretty and that’s just it.

“I really need there to be an underlying message and story because people have layers and are very interesting and if we don’t highlight, especially women’s, power and the ability to be very complex and deep then I don’t think we’re doing it justice and it’s not something that I want to be attached to.”

Olivia first hit our screens on Little Lunch as Tamara Noodle, then Home & Away as Raffy Morrison, before heading over to Disney+ to play Princess Roxana in the Secret Society of Second-Born Royals. The actor explains that the latter job was her first time working overseas and it was “such a culture shock”.

“I was 16, but that kind of changed me into being a young woman because I was working overseas and having a different experience.”

WATCH: Olivia Deeble in Disney+ movie Secret Society of Second Born Royals

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As for Olivia’s latest project, the star has teamed up with Magda Szubanski, Eric Bana and Gary Sweet for Audible’s new murder-mystery podcast, The Orchard, where she plays the part of Thalia. Being dyslexic, Olivia tells Girlfriend she was a “big audio kid”. Though, COVID made this particular audio experience a little different.

“Because we were in a recording space and we were recording during COVID, we all kind of had to be on separate ends of the room. So when we were performing – you had to perform to the front, you couldn’t kind of look and turn to each other and be really close up. It was almost like a theatre play.

“It made it more dramatic as well, but I’m an actor who loves feeding off other performers and I love to build a real connection then within the scene so that you are looking at each other. So I think that was just a little bit of a challenge for me but, you know, I still found it incredibly enjoyable.”

Olivia also shares her own advice for any young aspiring actors out there, telling Girlfriend that it should be a career pursued out of love for the craft more so than anything else.

“You should do it if you really, really love it because it is really difficult but it is also so massively rewarding. And you shouldn’t define yourself by how big of a performance it is or how much money you make from it, you should do your character justice no matter the job. You should do it because you love it and because it is so fulfilling and beautiful and you shouldn’t do it for any other reason.”

The Orchard is part of Audible’s new Plus Catalogue; a selection of thousands of listen-all-you-want titles now included in membership, at no additional cost.

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