Ellie Gonsalves is a model, actress and Wildlife Warriors ambassador who splits her time between Los Angeles and her home in Queensland. Boasting a social media following of five million people, the 28-year-old has used her profile to promote mental health issues. This followed the personal tragedy of her father taking his own life. Ellie wants to take this journey into the world of homelessness to try to understand how she and her millions of online followers can help make a difference.
Originally from Ireland, 22-year-old Ciaran Lyons is a rising stand-up comedy star and Australian media personality. Growing up in Western Australia, Ciaran enjoyed a sheltered and comfortable childhood. He had very little contact with homeless people, and when he did he admits the experience was negative and frightening.
But then a surprising conversation with a friend, who revealed they’d experienced homelessness as a teenager, opened his eyes. And Ciaran wants to know more. He’s heading out onto the streets to be immersed into an Australia he’s lived in for most of his life but never truly known.
As a three-year-old, Pauline Nguyen escaped Vietnam as a refugee with her family. And her upbringing in Australia was equally traumatic. Today, Pauline is an award-winning restauranteur, author and ‘Spiritual Entrepreneur’. As far as people experiencing homelessness, overcoming their trauma, Pauline’s not willing to judge. But she believes we are all capable of achieving anything with the right resources.
As an international speaker and facilitator, Pauline’s teaching workshops encourage her clients to unlock their ‘Next Level Greatness’. The mission: to alleviate human suffering and magnify human potential. Pauline admits to not knowing a lot about the issue of homelessness but is keen to learn more, and discover what some of the solutions might be.
Dr. Andrew Rochford
Emergency doctor and businessman, Dr. Andrew Rochford lives a comfortable life with his family on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. A varied career, that’s included time in the media spotlight, has seen the 39-year-old help treat those experiencing homelessness in some of Australia’s busiest emergency departments. As a doctor, Andrew has also faced the grim task of certifying the deaths of rough sleepers who lost their lives on the street.
Despite this firsthand experience, Andrew admits that he passes people living on Sydney’s streets every day and has no real understanding of what they’re going through or what they need. He’s desperate to find out what it’s really like to experience homelessness in Australia and how he can possibly help.
Having grown up in Mildura in country Victoria, Arron Wood is known for his award-winning environmental activism and education work with children. He is now in the spotlight as Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne. As part of the team assigned to deal with Melbourne’s rough sleeping crisis in 2017, Arron’s been forced to confront the homeless issue head on.
Having battled mental health issues in his past, Arron also knows how hard it can be to deal with the traumas that life throws your way. And crucially he hopes that by immersing himself in the world of homelessness, he will better understand the problems, the system and begin to find some answers to one of the nation’s most critical social issues.
Filthy Rich & Homeless premieres over three consecutive nights – June 9, 10 and 11 – on SBS at 8:30pm. The show will be available at SBS On Demand after broadcast, including in subtitled Simplified Chinese and Arabic.
Filthy Rich & Homeless is produced by Blackfella Films for SBS with the assistance of Screen NSW. It is based on a format created by Love Productions, broadcast by the BBC in the UK and distributed by BBC Worldwide.
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The series was produced and completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.