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 begun focusing a lot more on myself, my family, and my health,” the actress tells New Idea.
“When you work on a fast-paced programme like Home & Away for a long time, it’s easy to become complacent when it comes to your own health and taking adequate care of yourself.”
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 get up every morning, rain, sleet, or shine, and just put on his shoes and go to the gym (typically waking me up at 6 a.m. and pulling me there with him!) …this was the first microstep; after that, everything else seemed 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.
She says, “I’m so thankful we got to enjoy that moment together before he departed.” “I often reflect on how fortunate I was to have a brother like Karl; he taught me so much, and today, even though I wish he were still here with me in person, I feel like I have a guardian angel who is always watching over me and helping 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 shape me into the woman I’d become was now walking me towards my future, and now that I look back, I get the confident feeling that everything will be fine, 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.”
“After losing Karl, my life had already been rocked and changed forever, and it felt like nothing could rend my heart out like losing my big brother,” Sarah explains.
“Grief is such a fickle emotion that it catches you off guard; I believe the entire world is mourning for a world we once knew.” Everything is changing, and I believe we’re all coming to terms with a new way of life. We must be kind to each other and to ourselves.
“When we’re ready, I feel the beauty is in realising how 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 recognising the impact on both her physical and mental wellbeing, has a glow about her now that she has more time to prioritise herself.
“Since finishing Home & Away, so many of my friends have told me that my skin looks wonderful, and the only thing I can attribute it to is the Healthy Care Collagen Sleep tablets I’ve been taking and the sleep I’ve been getting.” Huzzah!”
Sarah has prioritised 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.
Sarah adores Scout, calling her “a gorgeous lady inside and out.”
“She enjoys art, is dramatic (exactly like her father! ), and has a huge heart for such a small person,” adds her father “According to the DJ.
“I may be biassed, but I believe Scout has the potential to become anything 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 had a fantastic time at Summer Bay and would definitely return if the opportunity arose,” 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 like to make more music, resume singing, and perform more VAMP shows with Kate.” It’s been difficult with COVID because we’ve both been in separate locations with limited dance floors, but it’s so good to share and make memories with your closest buddy doing things 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 sombre plot lines in Summer Bay, the actress thinks that working on a comedy was a great change of pace.
“Working on a comedy seemed like a breath of fresh air after the serious drama I had to play out on Home & Away for four years.” It was such a gift to be able to laugh at work every day.
“(Wog Boys Forever) will be released in theatres somewhere in the second part of this year, and I believe it will be a welcome break for people after the struggles of the last few years.” It’s a feel-good film, a comedy, and I believe it’ll be exactly what people have been waiting for when it’s out.”