Chatting to The Latch following her eviction from Big Brother Royalty Vs New Contenders, Smyth said that she’s still focussed on her podcast Too Much Tully, which she calls her “pride and joy”.
“That is my baby”, she said. “I absolutely love the podcast, it brings me so much joy, so much fulfilment.”
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As she prepares for a new chapter in her life, though, Smyth is turning her attention to a new focus.
“At the moment I’m working to create a support group for people who have someone in their life who is suffering from dementia, and that’s really important to me, too,” Smyth shared.
Smyth herself lost her mother to the disease in 2019, so it’s a cause close to her heart, and the idea to create a support network has been borne out of the many messages she receives from “young people who are going through it” themselves. Dementia is the leading cause of death for women in Australia, a statistic Smyth describes as “staggering”.
With a lack of awareness around the disease and the impact is has on Australians every day, Smyth said that compared to other diseases that have charities and entire days devoted to raising awareness for them, “there’s nothing really being done about dementia in Australia“. It’s something she wants to change.
“I just receive so many messages … and I respond to every single one, but I’m only one person, and I’m not a professional, you know?” Smyth explained, adding that she “can only offer advice” that is based on her own firsthand experience.
It was the desire to be able to “connect all these people” and enable them to support one another and not “feel so alone in their pain” that first spawned this idea, which is still in its early stages.
“If I [can] connect them all to each other, they would realise that they’re not alone, that there’s so many people going through this, and they could support each other,” she explained.
“If I can use my platform to work on that, then that would mean the world to me,” Smyth said.
On her first season back in 2013, Smyth had one of the most explosive arcs Australian reality television has witnessed. Coming back for Big Brother Royalty Vs New Contenders, Smyth was keen to show Australia how much she’d grown, and was determined to play her own game this time around.
Unfortunately for Smyth, Big Brother had some different ideas, and immediately reunited Smyth with ex-boyfriend Anthony Drew, as well as former housemate and frenemy, 2013 Big Brother Australia winner Tim Dormer.
Calling it “such a stitch up”, Smyth said she found that — despite her best efforts to avoid Drew — she “just couldn’t really shake him”.
“Big Brother and I have always had such a love/hate relationship, I think it wasn’t one of his finest moments, yeah,” Smyth mused of the ex-lovebirds reunion, and Big Brother’s tendency to pair the two together for challenges.
“I was doing my own thing, we barely spoke in the house, we were in different alliances, and yet I was constantly being reattached to him whether I liked it or not,” she said, calling it “frustrating”.
“I wanted to just move on, I wanted to do my own thing,” Smyth explained. “I did the best I could… and I think I really did do the best with what I was given. I think I made lemonade out of a bunch of lemons.”
Noting that her stint on Big Brother Australia back in 2013 feels both “like it was a hundred years ago, and yesterday”, Smyth said that her experience on the show “changed the whole structure of [her] life”.
“Going through that experience and everything that came with it, you know, the toll and the backlash and the media attention, but also just having to deal with the fact that I had made a monumental mistake and had to live with my actions, it changed me in every way, shape and form,” she said, adding: “I mean, it’s the reason why I am the way I am today.”
Calling it “a really humbling experience”, Smyth said that “you can’t go through something like that and come out on top of the world”.
Smyth went on to say that she’s spent the last nine years working on herself to become the best version of herself that she can be, and feels that Australia got to see the new and improved Tully Smyth this time around.
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The fans’ reception to her has also been much kinder this season.
“Last time around, I copped so much flack,” she explained. “I was called Hurricane Tully, Typhoon Tully, it was ‘Tully’s a mess, Tully’s unhinged’.
“This time around they were like, ‘hey, she’s wearing her heart on her sleeve, and power to her’,” Smyth said, calling the response “a lovely surprise”.
She continued: “I think it’s so important that we’re able to show our emotions. If you wanna cry, cry!”
Smyth said that given that “we’re constantly celebrating things like R U OK day”, it’s now time for us to all practice what we preach.
“Being vulnerable is nothing to be made fun of,” she said. “It’s okay to show emotions. Being vulnerable is a strength, not a weakness.”
Big Brother Royalty Vs New Contenders airs at 7.30pm Monday — Wednesdays, only on 7 and 7 Plus.
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