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am Frost could give a master­class in re­silience. She won the heart of The Bach­e­lor in front of a na­tional tele­vi­sion au­di­ence in 2014, only to be dumped for the sec­ond run­ner-up the next day. She found love again as Aus­tralia’s first Bach­e­lorette, but that didn’t last ei­ther. Then she be­gan a new ca­reer as a ra­dio pre­sen­ter, yet that ended when she found out – from a gos­sip col­umn, of all places – that her show had been axed.

Each of those things hurt. Nev­er­the­less, Frost per­sisted. When she took a role on Home And Away a year ago in yet an­other ca­reer re­boot, eyes rolled. Sea­soned en­ter­tain­ment re­porter Peter Ford’s were among them. “I guess I’m from a gen­er­a­tion where you got a job like that by go­ing to act­ing school,” he tells Stel­lar.

But Frost has si­lenced her crit­ics the old–fash­ioned way by let­ting her work speak for it­self. She has taken act­ing classes and de­voured the wis­dom of the show’s vet­er­ans, and now has a Lo­gie nom­i­na­tion and the ad­mi­ra­tion of the Home And Away cast to show for it. “She’s re­ally ap­plied her­self,” Ford ob­serves. “In a very short space of time, due to hard work and dili­gence, she’s proven her­self to be a very good young TV ac­tress.”

Frost will not al­low her­self the in­dul­gence of feel­ing vin­di­cated – she has learnt enough over the past few years to know that’s court­ing trou­ble. “It loops around and around,” she says. “That’s what I’ve learnt; even though it’s so amaz­ing and so kind that peo­ple are say­ing all of these lovely things, you have to take it as it comes or else when the crit­i­cism comes back around, you will re­ally feel it. I just stay in my safe bub­ble with my friends and fam­ily.”

IT IS THE mid­dle of win­ter and Sam Frost is danc­ing on the beach in a pair of hot­pants and top. Wind bel­lows and ev­ery­one else is pulling their coats around them, but she is en­joy­ing her­self. “That was fun,” she says. Re­silient, even in the rain.

The 29-year-old has ev­ery rea­son to feel high on life. Fi­nally, things are work­ing out. She’s in a se­ri­ous re­la­tion­ship with her boyfriend of more than a year, Dave Bash­ford, whom she met off-cam­era. With her sis­ter, she has pack­aged all the lessons from that tough time in her life into a new men­tal-health ini­tia­tive for young girls and women called Be­lieve. And the thrill of her nom­i­na­tion for the Gra­ham Kennedy Award for Most Pop­u­lar New Tal­ent at last month’s Lo­gies still lingers.

“It was just an ab­so­lute hon­our to be nom­i­nated,” she says. “I have put so much work into my job, so it was nice to get a nod from the peo­ple out there who are ob­vi­ously en­joy­ing what I’m do­ing.”

Four years ago, it was a dif­fer­ent story. She was in­tro­duced to Aus­tralia as a con­tes­tant vy­ing for the heart of Blake Gar­vey on Net­work Ten’s The Bach­e­lor Aus­tralia. She “won”, and her prize was a na­tion­ally tele­vised mar­riage pro­posal and a $58,000 ring. But the day af­ter the fi­nale aired, she was dumped. Gar­vey, who is now work­ing as a real es­tate agent in Perth, had changed his mind and wanted to be with sec­ond run­ner-up Louise Pil­lidge in­stead.

The scan­dal gripped Aus­tralia. Fans ini­tially ral­lied to Frost’s de­fence, but the com­ments soon turned nasty af­ter it was per­ceived she was milk­ing the pub­lic­ity. Frost ad­mits she was naïve in the eye of that first me­dia storm. “Some­times I look back and think ‘Oh good­ness, why did I say that?’ and ‘Why did I share things?’ I never liked to say no to things.”

Her sil­ver lin­ing was a fol­low-on TV gig. In 2015, she be­came Aus­tralia’s first Bach­e­lorette. Au­di­ences loved her frank and feisty man­ner, and it seemed any lin­ger­ing feel­ings for Gar­vey were quashed by the hand­some Sasha Miel­czarek, Frost’s cho­sen suitor. But by De­cem­ber 2016 the pair had bro­ken up, cit­ing busy lives and dis­tance. Once again the neg­a­tive com­ments came thick and fast. Her weight loss was a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus. “What hap­pened to the healthy, happy, glow­ing Sam?” asked one fan. “Gaunt” and “un­recog­nis­able” – the de­trac­tors kept on com­ing.

The Bach­e­lor/the Bach­e­lorette fran­chise con­tin­ues, but Frost doesn’t watch. “I am not dis­re­spect­ing [the series], but the best way to de­scribe it is like watch­ing a magic show and you know how to do all the tricks,” Frost tells Stel­lar. “I cringe think­ing about it. The lit­tle tricks they do… you’re so obliv­i­ous to see­ing them when you’re watch­ing. I think, ‘Those poor girls.’”

Af­ter the break-up, there were more blows. In 2017, Frost’s ra­dio show with co-host Rove Mc­manus on the Hit Net­work was can­celled, abruptly, while her next foray into re­al­ity TV, on Seven Net­work’s Hell’s Kitchen Aus­tralia, was a flop. The pub­lic scru­tiny wors­ened: her weight, her ca­reer, her dress sense and her new boyfriend were all picked upon and apart by

rost grew up in “the sticks” in Vic­to­ria with two older broth­ers, her sis­ter, and two younger broth­ers. It was a mad­house, the ac­tor ad­mits. “We were all shar­ing rooms. I was quite naughty and a bit cheeky. I al­ways tagged along with my big broth­ers. I thought they were the coolest peo­ple on the planet. I was prob­a­bly re­ally an­noy­ing in hind­sight.”

Her fam­ily sup­ports her move into act­ing – they kept send­ing her screen­shots of their votes when the Lo­gies vot­ing poll opened. Had she won the statue, they would have been the first peo­ple she thanked. “It wouldn’t mat­ter what job I have or how many times I fail at some­thing or if the worst thing were to hap­pen in my life – I know I’ve al­ways got my fam­ily and their sup­port,” she says.

This close­ness is one rea­son she will not be ven­tur­ing off to Hol­ly­wood like many Aus­tralian ac­tors be­fore her. And there’s that pesky ac­cent, too. “I can’t do an Amer­i­can ac­cent,” Frost says with a laugh. “I’ll stay on Home And Away for as long as they will have me, and that’s the truth.”

The deep fond­ness with which Frost speaks of Home And Away is telling of just how much she’s em­bed­ded her­self into this new-found fam­ily. As the show’s self-con­fessed “num­ber one fan”, she didn’t hes­i­tate to ac­cept the role. “They were like ‘Have a think about it’ and I go, ‘ The an­swer is yes!’” Frost re­calls. “I’m a lit­tle nerd be­cause I re­mem­ber all the sto­ry­lines. I’ll say ‘Re­mem­ber the time…’ and some­times the ac­tors who are ac­tu­ally in it don’t re­mem­ber it at all.” She grins. “I re­ally love the show.”

The feel­ing is mu­tual. Pro­ducer Lucy Ad­dario knew as soon as Frost au­di­tioned that the role of Jas­mine was hers. “We were so im­pressed by her nat­u­ral in­stincts, and it was no sur­prise that she brought buck­ets of warmth and that emo­tional hon­esty we all love her for,” Ad­dario says. “There is not a day that Sam has taken this job for granted. She al­ways comes to set pre­pared, with her in­fec­tious sense of hu­mour and a de­sire to give 100 per cent to ev­ery scene. Her brav­ery and com­mit­ment to the role is ad­mirable.”

Cast­mate Ada Ni­code­mou has taken Frost un­der her wing. “Sam is al­ways keen to learn and take ad­vice. She is so hard­work­ing and de­ter­mined,” the series vet­eran ob­serves.

Ford be­lieves the tal­ent that made Frost so pop­u­lar with re­al­ity tele­vi­sion pro­duc­ers, a nat­u­ral affin­ity with the cam­era, is the same one that al­lowed her to jump into act­ing. “For a lot of TV ac­tors, that’s half the bat­tle, to be not in­tim­i­dated by that cam­era,” he says. “She’s gone up in my es­ti­ma­tion enor­mously. I won’t lie to you, I don’t think ra­dio was re­ally her call­ing. I think she did an OK job in a very dif­fi­cult gig. I’m pleased she got this act­ing gig out of left field – and even more pleased that she has ap­plied her­self to a point where she’s now fully de­serv­ing to be there, and I sus­pect will be there for a long time.”

Af­ter all the dark­ness Frost has en­dured, she takes com­fort in know­ing there is light on the other side. “I’ve got the best job in the world. And I’m work­ing on Be­lieve, which is re­ally ful­fill­ing.” She smiles gen­tly. “I am so happy.”

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