"Even going to sleep at night is the scariest thing. You hear every sound around you and you think, 'Could that be police coming to move me on? I just spent an hour setting this tent up. Am I going to be told to move? Where will I go? What if it's someone coming to rob me?...or worse?'"
For 10 days last year, in the middle of winter, model and actress Ellie Gonsalves experienced what it's like to be one of 116,000 homeless Australians.
"I went in with a really strong mental state, I came out feeling broken," she told Mamamia, ahead of tonight's premiere of Filthy Rich & Homeless on SBS.
WATCH: Ellie gave up her privileged lifestyle for 10 days. Post continues after video.
"This whole experience has made me do a complete 180 on what I thought about homelessness and how I treat homeless people. I went in completely uneducated. As a society, I feel like we view homeless people as dangerous or a problem, and I was always scared to acknowledge or look at homeless people because I have always been conditioned as a woman to avoid dangerous situations and people."
Ellie, 29, was stripped of her belongings and dropped off in Wollongong, south of Sydney, with some second hand clothes and a sleeping bag, a far cry from the luxurious, travel-filled life she shares on Instagram.