Dumpster diving Christian
Socialite Christian Wilkins burrowed into the dumpster in search of his dinner. Scrounging through the jumble of squashed, outof-date food, the 22-year-old’s nights of quaffing champagne with his famous father, Today show entertainment guru Richard Wilkins, felt desperately far away.
Alone, with no money, he did not even have a mobile phone to call one of his many celebrity friends, such as the Today Show host Karl Stefanovic, a man he refers to fondly as “Uncle Karlos”.
“You want the fresh stuff,” says Wilkins of his newly acquired skill of dumpster diving. “Things that have expired recently, stuff that’s in plastic or (fruit and vegetables) that only have superficial bruising. I was even eating carrots that hadn’t been washed.”
Wilkins spent 10 days sleeping rough as part of new SBS documentary Filthy Rich And Famous, which shows privileged Australians swapping their lives of luxury for homelessness — a challenge which affects more than 100,000 Australians.
Instead of strutting the catwalk and dancing on couches at Bondi’s Icebergs — as he was seen doing recently with his new best friend Jasmine Yarbrough, Stefanovic’s recently acquired girlfriend — Wilkins became one of Australia’s homeless.
Stripped of his ID, money and the mobile phone he uses to update his 6500 followers with selfies of himself hanging with Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift and Delta Goodrem, Wilkins slept on Melbourne’s streets and in a squat.
On day one, the aspiring actor made a teary SOS call from a payphone to his mother and Dickie’s former wife, Michelle Burke.
“I broke down to her and she picked me up and made me realise I’d been there for one day and I needed to turn to my mum. She reminded me there were people out who didn’t have family and how much harder that would be because there’s literally no one they can turn to.”
Wilkins was joined on the experiment by similarly privileged Australians: selfmade millionaire Tim Guest, Kayla Fenech, daughter of boxing champion Jeff, rags-to-riches beauty entrepreneur Jellaine Dee and third-generation pub baron Stu Laundy.
Each faced their own struggles during the experience, but for Wilkins the most difficult challenge was loneliness.
“The isolation of the people who experience homelessness every day is overwhelming,” he says.
“It made me acknowledge how lucky I am,” he says. “Not just to have gone to a good school and to have a job but to actually have a family and friends who support me. My parents and siblings, they just let me be who I am. They love when I go out and wear sparkly pants.
“It’s insane how some of us just seem to be lucky, we’re just born into certain families, it’s just pure luck really,” he tells Insider.
Wilkins reveals that although supportive of his participation, his father was desperately worried how his son would fare.
“My dad was especially nervous. He was down in Melbourne one day and he was contemplating walking around the streets trying to find me,” says Wilkins, who lives with his father in Cremorne.
So what was the material item he missed most during his time sleeping rough?
“Chapstick,” he says without hesitation. “I understand that’s the most basic thing, and people live out there, but those 10 days I need some ChapStick.”
FILTHY RICH AND HOMELESS, SBS, JUNE 27, 28 AND 29, FROM 8.30PM
Christian Wilkins lived rough on the streets for 10 days.