Lilly Van Der Meer on Bullying

Lilly Van Der Meer discusses her characters struggle with online bullying

What’s happening with Xanthe at the moment? Why is she getting bullied?It’s all online trolls and we see that Xanthe starts trolling herself, which comes from the idea that if you can’t beat them join them. When someone calls her stupid or dumb she starts to believe it and the only way to fix that is to become the most beautiful person that she can and she thinks plastic surgery is the only way to do that.

You are at school, have you seen this yourself? Or even been affected by it?I’ve never been online bullied, but I’ve been schoolyard bullied so it’s a little bit different.  They were very confronting scenes; I did a lot of research. I wanted to see the perspective of people who don’t have self worth and see what it was like for kids in that situation and how they feel and how they look at themselves in the mirror and what makes them do the things that they do.

What advice would you give to teens who are in a similar situation to Xanthe?Just talk to someone, talk to a family member or a friend. An anonymous call like Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) - someone to help you through it, because so many people have been through the same situation or similar.

Ben and Xanthe

What’s in store for Ben and Xanthe? Are they going to get together?Ben & Xanthe have a connection that is forming. She is completely infatuated with Ben. She was very forward, but it sort of backfired a little bit as Ben is not really that interested. But they are getting closer and hopefully they will get together.

Your Dad is back, how is that changing the dynamic at home with Sheila? Who is the good cop/bad cop?I think Dad comes into the picture trying to catch up on all the things he’s missed - trying to be the good parent that he never really was. I think Sheila gets a little bit confronted by that because it has been just the two of them for a while. Dad is easier going at the start and then he tries a different approach. That’s all I’m going to say.