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Interview: Why Emily left Home; She found fame as bimbo Marilyn in the top Aussie soap, but now Emily Symons is a new face in Emmerdale.

Byline: Rebecca Fletcher

Emily Symons was the one who ran away from Home, although in Marilyn's famously tight dresses and dangerously high stilettoes that was no easy feat.

Now settled in Britain and an upcoming star in Emmerdale, she was delighted to be reunited with her pals from Summer Bay on their flying visit to London. Emily makes a brief return as the blonde bimbo in some special episodes of the hit soap, to be shown next year. Fans last saw Marilyn telling her husband Donald, who was almost twice her age, that their marriage was over after the tragic death of their son. Her reappearance promises to be just as dramatic.

"When I left Home And Away two years ago I asked for Marilyn to be killed off. Now I'm glad they didn't," says Emily, 31. "Marilyn and Donald's baby had died and she just went AWOL. I thought it'd be nice to put an end to the story. And it meant I got to see my old friends again, which was great."

In a stylish black Joseph dress and Gucci sunglasses, Emily couldn't be more different from her Summer Bay alter ego whom she played, on and off, for eight years. In conversation she is open and warm, although she won't go into detail about her split with Southampton FC's Matt Le Tissier last August.

"Now I'm single there's no other rubbish - no jealousy, no fighting, no compromises," says Emily, who settled in England in 1999 to be with Matt. "I was doing Live Talk during the break-up and in the depths of depression. A friend gave me a good talking to. I was sobbing into my drink and she said, `One day you'll wake up and it won't hurt any more, and you'll realise it was to teach you a lesson. It'll bring you maturity'. And she was right. You have to go through the bad to appreciate the good. I'm not the sort of person to look back and wish I'd done things differently. My view is that it didn't work, so move on.

"Being single was a shock at first. I've never been on my own before. But I've learnt to enjoy just being by myself and doing things I love, such as reading books and cooking. It's taught me to get out more. I've proved a lot to myself and to others who thought I wouldn't cope."

Emily, who had given up work for a year, also decided to get her career back on track.

"I needed the money," she says frankly. "And I missed being surrounded by creative people. But there was that slow process of building myself up again. I couldn't even get an agent. They'd say, `Sorry, there aren't any roles for Australian actresses'. The fact that I'd done Home And Away was a hindrance rather than a help."

Luckily, Emmerdale's producers were looking for an Aussie to play the sassy new Woolpack barmaid, Louise Appleton. They were so keen to have Emily, they didn't even audition her. And she had no qualms about joining another soap.

"I'm not a work snob - I don't mind what I do," she shrugs. "I detest the arrogance in this industry that people working in soaps are a lower class of actors because they work incredibly hard. The Emmerdale cast went out of their way to make me feel welcome. And it's fun to play a vamp opposite Patrick Mower, because he plays up to it and draws the flirt out of me."

With a six-month contract in Emmerdale, Emily has decided to stay in London and commute up to Leeds for filming. She originally came to London in 1990 to do panto. It was then that she fell in love with drummer Nick Lipscombe, and she quit Home And Away for the first time in 1992 to marry him. Three years later they split up and she returned to the soap.

"The marriage broke up and I went back to Australia, disillusioned with everything," she says. "I was confused and disappointed with myself and with what had happened."

Now she has Home And Away again, albeit briefly, Emmerdale and a buzzing social life, there is no way that Emily is going to run home like the last time a relationship failed.

"When I split up with Matt and was very, `Poor me', my mum rang from Sydney and said, `Don't you dare come home!' It was good advice. I want to have a sense of achievement, not loss, from being here. I want to turn it into a positive experience. I'm on my big adventure."


FLIRTY: With Patrick Mower in Emmerdale
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2001
Previous Article:Away Day To London; To celebrate Home And Away's return to our TV screens, we took three of the soap's stars on a big city tour.
Next Article:Wine & beer; Tim Curran finds a fruity Spanish red and two contrasting chardonnays on offer.

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