You Ask…sharon Johal (Dipi)
Neighbours’ Dipi Rebecchi ...faces your questions!
“Dipi hates Clancy – but do you love dogs in real life?”
Dipi loves to gossip about the lives of her Ramsay Street neighbours – but how will 32-year-old Sharon cope with our readers’ probing questions about her own life?
“Is it true you originally auditioned to play Mishti, not Dipi?”
Yes, that’s right. Dipi is much older than I am in real life! I went for the role of Mishti to begin with, but when I got to the audition they decided to change Mishti’s age and make her younger. But they still really liked me, so they tried to make Dipi work for me by ageing me up a bit and changing my hair – I had to cut it all off, which was a sad moment for me! But I was just grateful to be a part of the Sharma-rebecchi family.
“What’s it like playing the mum of teenagers?”
It’s so weird, because in real life I don’t think it could physically even be possible for me to be their mum! I don’t have any children of my own, so I’ve had to work really hard on that relationship with the kids. At the start it was quite difficult to make it believable, because in real life we’re more like sisters. We hang out outside of work and I’m the joker of the family as well, so they don’t really see me as a mum figure!
“Dipi has mentioned that she has a son. Do you reckon that we will we ever get to meet him?”
It’s funny because initially Yashvi was meant to be a boy. We were meant to have a boy and a girl when we came into the show, but they couldn’t find the right boy for the role which is why it was changed to a girl at the last minute. But all we know about Dipi’s son is that he’s called Jay and he’s at boarding school. I’m sure we will meet him – Dipi is such a protective mum, so I don’t understand why her son would be away from her!
“Do you share Dipi’s love of musicals? If so, which one is your favourite?”
I definitely do. I can’t sing very well, although I enjoy it very much – everybody on set will attest to that because I’m singing all the time, and they all tell me how terrible I am! But I can dance. We’re filming some Christmas episodes at
the moment where Dipi does a bit of a Broadway performance, so that’s really exciting. My favourite musical is Chicago because I just love its strong female characters.
“Dipi doesn’t care much for Clancy, but do you love dogs in real life?”
“What’s it like playing the mum of teenagers?”
I am obsessed with dogs! I’m that person who’ll run up to dogs in the street and have chats with them. I live in an apartment where I can’t have pets, so I volunteer to walk an elderly lady’s dog who lives nearby.
“Dipi likes to gossip with Sheila, but who are you most likely to gossip with in real life?”
If it’s about work stuff, probably Scarlett [Vas, aka Mishti] – we’re the closest, so I would have a bit of a whinge to her. Otherwise it’s my fiancé who gets the brunt of most of it! I don’t really gossip, though, I just vent and then move on. I think that’s what Dipi is like, too – she gossips to try to solve a situation, rather than just having a bitch.
“What’s the best thing about being a part of the Rebecchis?”
They’re so much fun and so lively – it’s hilarious! This is a bit of a spoiler, but we’re working with Angie Rebecchi at the moment, and she’s such a fabulous character. And Lesley Baker, who plays her, is like that in real life too! It’s a nice dynamic, and some really lovely stuff is going to happen with the Rebecchi family towards the end of the year.
“Is it true that you were in a reality TV show in Australia?”
Yeah, it is true. It was a show called Bollywood Star. It was more like a documentary – they went around Australia and auditioned thousands of people, and then in the end the top four got to audition for a world-renowned Bollywood director. I made it all the way to the end, and travelled to India, so I got a bit of an insight into what Bollywood would be like to work in. There were times where we stayed the night in the slums in India, to see how people lived there. I cried a lot on that show, but it was one of the best experiences of my life.
“Can you tell us a secret about your screen hubby Nick [Coghlan, who plays Shane]?”
I love him to bits, but he is very introverted! He has a dark sense of humour, so he likes death jokes and things like that. We probably annoy the hell out of him because we chat a lot, and he doesn’t really like to chat. If I had my time again, and it wasn’t going to be acting, I’d probably want to be a vet. I got into dentistry for a while, but then I couldn’t think of anything worse than looking into someone’s mouth for the rest of my life, so I got into law instead! If I wasn’t in Neighbours, I’d probably still be working as a lawyer, auditioning and trying to get a full-time role.
“I saw a picture on your Instagram of you with Neighbours legend Ian Smith [Harold Bishop]. Where did you meet him?”
It was at the opening night of something I’d gone to with a bunch of friends, and we had a chat with him. I’d just got the role on Neighbours, but it was all still hush-hush so I couldn’t tell him. I told him I’d auditioned for the role, though, and that I could be taking over his café, and he was really lovely. It would be great if Harold came back to Ramsay Street, but I’m not giving up my café for him!
“Which Neighbours character’s wardrobe would you like to steal?”
That’s a good question, because Dipi doesn’t dress anything like I do. She sometimes comes off as being a bit frumpy. But if I was going to dress like anyone, it would probably be Elly as I really like her style. I love her tight pencil skirts, nice tops and her jackets. Elly has really great fashion sense.
“What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t in Neighbours?” …asks reader Rose Wilkins from Chester
One Ell’ of a dress sense: Sharon likes Ms Conway’s style
The dog days aren’t over: Unlike Dipi, Sharon is a big fan of pooches
Rant and rave: The star leans on her fiancé when she needs to vent
Teen mum: Sharon feels more like a sister to her screen kids
As the actress said to the Bishop: Ian and Sharon ran into each other at a show