real life

At 11, Brooke Blurton's mum and grandma died days apart. For 2 years, she couldn't speak.

Content warning: This post includes discussion of suicide that may be distressing to some readers.

Brooke Blurton is someone we've come to know and love on our screens, thanks to her time across The Bachelor franchise. But The Bachelor is the least interesting thing about Blurton.

She's a media personality, a youth worker, a podcaster, author and more. Blurton has plenty to say.

The 29-year-old Noongar-Yamatji woman's childhood was "tough", she says on Mamamia's But Are You Happy this week.

Watch part of Brooke Blurton's incredible TEDx Talk. Post continues below.

Video via Tedx Talks.

Growing up for much of her childhood in Carnarvon, a country town in Western Australia, Blurton says "it's a different way of living".

Her mother was of Aboriginal and Malaysian decent, and her father was English, though her parents were separated. There were about 5000 people in her town, meaning a lot of her family were her neighbours. 

She looks back on that time with mixed emotions.

"There's a lot of love. We always had people coming in and out of my house, there was a real open door policy. There were cultural values as well that my mother and grandmother instilled in me from a young age," she says.


"The house I grew up in though, there was a lot of chaos. Both good and bad chaos. My mum was addicted to drugs and she had such a volatile relationship with it. I also had an older sister who suffered from schizophrenia."

When Blurton was 11, she found her grandmother in the garden after she'd had a stroke.

She called the ambulance, and only a few days after visiting her grandmother in hospital where she later passed away, Blurton's mother ended her own life. 

At the time, Blurton was told her mother's death had been an accident. She was told the full truth when she turned 18.

"Now if that wasn't traumatic enough, after a tiring and exhausting day attending my mum's funeral, I fell asleep at the wake and whilst asleep I was sexually abused," Blurton said during her TEDx Talks event back in 2019.

Reflecting on the ordeal, Blurton tells But Are You Happy that it was the hardest period she's ever faced.

"I was a kid and I had to grow up really quickly. I became quite isolated, mute and very angry on the inside. I didn't actually speak or verbalise for two years. I had the survival mentality and felt closed off to the world," she says. 

"I was also too white for the Black kids. And then I was too Black for the white kids because I didn't have money. So I was kind of doing it alone."

When Blurton's mother and grandmother died, she and her siblings were separated. They had no idea if they'd ever see each other again.


Listen to the full story on But Are You Happy. Post continues after audio.

Around that time Blurton went to live with her father in Perth but sadly it wasn't a better life. Blurton says she was still being emotionally and verbally abused in that household.

"I was very unhappy and very ashamed. I didn't know who I was, I didn't know where I belonged. I didn't know my identity or my culture. I probably would say that I was severely depressed at that time," she tells But Are You Happy.

"By the time I was 15, I was kicked out of that home."

It was when a teacher showed Blurton support that she began therapy. With encouragement, she went on to work in the youth sector.

Blurton saw The Bachelor as an opportunity for something new in her life and grabbed it with both hands. When she became The Bachelorette, things got even more exciting. 

Sadly, after filming The Bachelorette finale, Blurton was informed by family that her sister had passed away.

"I was with my chosen partner at the time. How do you process one of the happiest moments of your life post filming the finale, to one of the most awful moments of your life? It feels like such a blur."

On the outside, Blurton was doing media interviews, dressed to the nines and talking all things love. Behind the scenes though, things were obviously emotionally complex.


Brooke Blurton. Image: Supplied.

"It was heartbreaking, because yeah I was contractually obliged to this performative aspect and having to continue filming the day before my sister's funeral," she says. "It wasn't healthy. I just needed to get through it and then once I was over that hill, I could then allow myself to feel it all."

It's her resilience and her compassion that make Blurton great in her role as a youth worker. Also, as an Indigenous woman often working with Indigenous kids, she says it's ideal to have that "common ground and common knowledge".


"I can sometimes look at my life from a bird's-eye view lens. Yes, these experiences have happened. Yes, they were horrible and traumatic. But it's given me an understanding," she notes.

"When I'm working with kids, it's about experiencing joy with them and building them up and having that connection."

Right now, Blurton is "content", describing herself as a "work in progress". She's written a book, Big Love: Reclaiming myself, my people, my country.

"I'm going through different transitions. In my personal life, there's healing and growth. I've also started studying marriage celebrancy and acting. I'd like to feel happiness in my own ability with my career. I feel like as a Black woman, as a First Nations woman, I have so much to offer to the world," says Blurton.

"What I've learned is that you really have to look at your life as not linear. Things go up and down and there's good days and bad days. But gratitude helps me appreciate happiness longer."

You can listen to the full story on But Are You Happy now.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

Feature Image: Instagram @brooke.blurton.

Calling all beauty lovers! Take our short survey to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!