Sarah Jayne Dunn’s ’empowering’ life – Hollyoaks salary to OnlyFans success

Sarah Jayne Dunn enjoyed six separate stints on Hollyoaks, appearing as one of its biggest characters, Mandy Richardson, between 1996 and 2011, before reprising her role in 2017.

But on Wednesday night it was revealed that the glamorous actress had left the teen-focussed soap after being unable to "reach a resolution" with bosses, over her joining controversial 18+ website OnlyFans.

Here we take a deep dive into the 40-year-old actress' personal life and career, from her first appearance on Hollyoaks, the empowering reason why she joined the adult site and her decision to quit her six-figure salary role on the long-running Channel 4 show.

Career before OnlyFans controversy

Sarah Jayne soared to fame as Mandy, a "wannabe supermodel" in Hollyoaks in 1996, where she eventually earned a £120,000 annual salary, according to The Sun.

In addition to the role, which she played on and off until 2011 before returning in 2017, she also had a supporting stint in the Brookside DVD spin-off Unfinished Business.

The part-time model also appeared in the Hollyoaks Dance workout DVD in 2004.

On television, Dunn has also appeared in single episodes of BBC One series The Innocence Project, BBC Three series Drop Dead Gorgeous and It’s Adam and Shelley. She also appeared in nine episodes of BBC One medical drama Doctors and some episodes of Casualty as well.

In 2007, Dunn had lead roles in short films Northern Cowboy and Betting in Bars as well as a brief role in 2008 film The Dark Knight.

She has appeared in several theatre productions including When Harry Met Sally and Boeing, Boeing and also teaches students at an acting school alongside Hollyoaks colleague Helen Noble and theatre actor Graham Tudor.

Exit from Hollyoaks

Dunn, who had been stripping on OnlyFans for several weeks, was warned by show boss over her conduct because of the show’s young audience.

The actress described her decision to join the site as “taking back control” and “having full power over my choices”, and refused to quit.

A row broke out between the actress and executives at Lime Pictures, the soap’s production company when bosses disagreed with her claims over “empowerment” because the site’s content did not align with the principles of the company and its brand.

After Dunn’s exit from the show, a Hollyoaks spokeswoman said: “Hollyoaks is a youth-facing drama with many young viewers, who follow our cast very closely, both in the soap and outside of it.

“We take our responsibility to our young audience very seriously and therefore the show does not allow any Hollyoaks cast members to be active on certain 18+ websites.”

They added that they had hoped to reach a resolution with Dunn but “respect her choice” and are “very sad to see her go.”

Since leaving the show, the star has spoken out about the decision, telling The Sun that she was "disappointed" by the outcome but added: "I feel like I had to take a stand."

She said: "The pictures I’ve put on OnlyFans are no more explicit than the sort of things I’ve done in the past for magazines and even for Hollyoaks’ own official calendar."

OnlyFans career

After quitting the soap, the actress posted about her decision on Instagram. Her post read: “This is a decision I’ve thought long and hard about, not one I’ve taken lightly or on a whim, it’s about taking back control.

“I’ve done men’s mag upon men’s mag and calendar upon calendar, I’ve enjoyed every shoot but never felt like I had much say in them.

“I’ve been pitted against other girls and felt deflated if not chosen for a shoot or for a cover, I’ve been airbrushed, retouched and ‘enhanced’ without consent and without necessity and I’ve not always been given photo or copy [the wording of an interview] approval, leaving both my image and words distorted."

In her post, she described her move to the adult side as a way "to put healthy boundaries in place and to know my worth and my value.”

On Twitter, Dunn went on to thank her fans for their kinds words and support regarding her exit from the show.

She also told The Capsule podcast that her husband Jonathan, supports her decision: "Obviously, I’m married as well, and my husband has been super supportive. All my friends and family know, it’s not something where I’ve gone, 'Ooh, let’s keep this under the radar', I want to own it."

Ms Dunn’s OnlyFans page offers a subscription for £11 a month and also has a link to an Amazon wish-list where fans can buy her gifts including various costumes.

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