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Neighbours star Eve Morey suggested eating disorder stories (SPOILERS)

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Article 1:

Neighbours bosses agreed to tackle the issue of eating disorders after cast member Eve Morey suggested the idea, it has been revealed.

Ramsay Street newcomer Imogen Willis (Ariel Kaplan) is shown to be struggling with bulimia in a new storyline which has already begun on screen in Australia.

Further down the line, Morey's character Sonya Rebecchi will also notice a guest teenager's unhealthy obsession with exercise and dieting.

Morey encouraged the Neighbours team to shed light on the topic of eating disorders based on her own struggle with body image.

She commented: "I have yet to meet a woman that hasn't at some point in her life experienced an unhealthy attitude towards her body and this truly alarms me.

"I've had my share of body image related issues, and as a teenager it was difficult for me to find someone in the media that looked like me, and I'm still shocked by the amount of positive validation I received for my 'shrinkage' since it took not really eating to get there."

Morey recently spoke at a gathering of high school students about her experiences, and is hoping to encourage young people to consider why they value certain body images.

She added: "If the answer lies in health and wellbeing, that's wonderful but if the answer lies in a sense of validation or self-worth, they need to find an acceptance in themselves that lies beyond the physical."

After taking on board Morey's suggestions, Neighbours chiefs consulted with The Butterfly Foundation, which offers support to Australians experiencing eating disorders.

Executive producer Richard Jasek said: "Neighbours has tackled this topic in different forms over its many years on air, however it's unfortunately an issue that is still extremely prevalent and needs to be continually addressed. I commend Eve for pushing forward with the idea and also sharing her experience."


Article 2:

Neighbours star Eve Morey is having another big year of storylines on the soap, but she is also making an impact behind the scenes after encouraging producers to tackle the issue of eating disorders.

As we reported earlier this week, show chiefs have been busy working on two storylines which explore the topic after the actress made the suggestion on set.

Digital Spy recently caught up with Eve to hear how the idea came about and what's coming up for her character Sonya Rebecchi.

What inspired you to make this suggestion to the Neighbours producers?
"I'd been observing a lot of things in the media, particularly representations of women. I also watched an amazing American documentary called Misrepresentation, which looked at how women tend to be quite disempowered by how sexualised and objectified they are in the media. We're an equal society at the end of the day, but the media doesn't necessarily support that.

"From my own experience of being a woman in the media and observing friends and colleagues, I really thought that this was an important issue, especially as so many of our audience are teenagers. I felt that it'd be an interesting topic to explore and when I suggested it, the script department agreed and went with it.

"I also told the Neighbours production team about The Butterfly Foundation, an Australian organisation which raises awareness of body image issues. The writers worked with them to make sure the storyline was as realistic as possible and included all of the relevant points."

Is it unusual for a cast member to suggest a storyline, or does it happen more often than we think?
"The writing team are pretty open to ideas. They're aware that we know our characters really well, and if we're really passionate about something, they're more than happy to cover it on screen if it works within the framework of the show. It's not something we do every five minutes, but there are discussions between us and the writers about our characters and where they're going.

"With this storyline I wasn't aware that my character would be involved in it, but they decided to have me playing a role in the story on screen too."

What can you tell us about the storyline?
"Well, when I first spoke to the writers, they were already starting a storyline with the character of Imogen, which sees her struggling with an eating disorder. That story involves the idea of control, as she uses her eating as a means of control when she has so much stress going on with her family. "But there's actually a second story which comes months later, and this is the one that I'm more involved in. You'll see that Callum's friend Josie [played by Madison Daniel] has a big crush on him, and she comes into the show as quite a confident character.

"However, when Josie finds out that Callum actually has a crush on Imogen, she decides that she should change herself by emulating what's been going on with Imogen. She starts to change the way she looks, she starts dieting and she does strenuous exercise. Sonya observes this and tries to intervene.

"People may be surprised that we're doing two eating disorder storylines in quick succession, but I think they've both been handled really well and they both explore completely different aspects of quite a complex issue. It also shows a perpetual cycle which is quite realistic, as Josie is influenced by Imogen's behaviour."

Read the full article here. (Source)

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