The young actress tells Lucy Chesterton why it was time to step out from behind the glow of golden girl Jessica Marais.
They’re all smiles on screen, but behind the scenes, Australia’s favourite fictional family, the Rafters, have been struggling with the real-life rivalry between actresses Jessica Marais and Jessica McNamee.
Jess McNamee, 22, will be seen in Packed To The Rafters for the last time this week after quitting – complaining that she feels overshadowed by the success of Jessica Marais, who plays her sister-in-law Rachel Rafter.
“It’s hard not to feel like you’re living in Jessica’s shadow,” the actress admits wryly, during an interview with Woman’s Day.
“My character is definitely not as likeable as hers. “When people
see us together in the street, they always rush up to Jess Marais first, and they usually don’t even notice me standing there.”
Playing opposite the golden girl, dark-haired Jess has been overlooked for many
of the accolades showered on her popular co-star, who won two TV Week Logies after the series debuted in 2008 – the Silver Logie for Most Popular New Female Talent and the prestigious Graham Kennedy Award For Most Outstanding New Talent.
But while Jessica, 25, was busy accepting her double awards, the younger Jess was languishing in the secondary role of Nathan Rafter’s wife, the high-maintenance Sammy, a character she has often complained about.