TV & Movies

Emmerdale's Fiona Wade opens up on 'difficult' anorexia storyline

Emmerdale star Fiona Wade has explained she got into the mindset of someone with anorexia.

The 40-year-old has been given a challenging storyline that has seen her character Priya Sharma relapse since falling pregnant.

And while she had heard of the eating disorder before taking on the arc, she didn’t fully understand what it meant.

When chatting on Loose Women, the actress opened up about illness, and how she tried to understand what was going on inside her character’s mind.

She said: ‘When I was told [about the story], I think in 2014, I didn’t know much about anorexia – but I had never heard of pregorexia.

‘I spoke to a leading consultant doctor in Leeds, I read books and followed girls on their blogs.’

The star explained: ‘I wanted to understand what was going on in their head.’

She went on to talk about how people need to realise that it is a mental illness, and how she has so much compassion for suffers.

Talking about her own eating habits, Fiona joked about being from the Philippines and how food has always been a large part of her life.

She told the panelists: ‘In my family food is very social, we eat all the time and were constantly cooking.

‘I saw my mum eat everything, I ate what they ate, so it was difficult for me in terms of getting my head into a different space.’

This isn’t the first time Emmerdale fans will have seen Priya suffer, as her condition has been ongoing in the storyline.

And it turns out a number of viewers have found comfort in the plot.

‘This hasn’t quite come on screen properly yet, but from when I did it a few years ago it was wonderful,’ Fiona gushed: ‘Girls wrote letter that said watching the show helped them eat again and feel better.’

Talking about how she works the condition into her acting, Fiona said: ‘Even when my character is doing other story lines, it’s in the back of my head and the writers’.

‘With any mental illness, you have to keep working on these things so it’s an ongoing process.’

If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, contact your GP to talk about your symptoms and to seek help.

You can also phone Beat’s helpline on 0808 805 0677 – it is open from 12pm-8pm during weekdays and 4pm-8pm on weekends.

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