Jil­la­roo Jess TV call

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS - . AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

TRUCK driver, sta­tion hand, so­cial me­dia per­son­al­ity... and now Jil­la­roo Jess can cross TV star off the list of po­si­tions she’s held as well.

Pil­bara woman Jes­sica Ed­wards, known on Face­book as Jil­la­roo Jess, will be live on air this week after work­ing in front of the cam­era with pop­u­lar four-wheel drive show Ter­rain Tamers.

Jess’s so­cial me­dia page, where she posts videos and pho­tos from her work in the Pil­bara, caught the at­ten­tion of Ter­rain Tamers, so ear­lier this year the show’s stars trav­elled to WA to film in her sprawl­ing back­yard.

In be­tween a busy sched­ule of pro­mot­ing the show, Jess caught up with the Ru­ral Weekly to talk act­ing and what it felt like to be part of a show high­light­ing the Pil­bara.

HOW WOULD YOU DE­SCRIBE THE SHOOT­ING PROCESS OF FILM­ING TER­RAIN TAMER?

It was a new ex­pe­ri­ence for me so it was in­ter­est­ing to learn how it’s all done. I guess I was sur­prised at how much hard work it can be and the length of hours. We all get along like wild­fire so was a lot of fun and I loved show­ing them this part of the coun­try.

HOW WAS IT WORK­ING WITH AL­LAN AND AN­DREW? THEY SEEM LIKE QUITE THE CHAR­AC­TERS.

Al­lan and An­drew both have a lot of knowl­edge in their ar­eas so it was great to be able to learn from them. It was funny at times how film­ing would come to a halt when they’d sud­denly start de­bat­ing a part of some sort while the pro­ducer tapped her fin­gers. It was clear that this wasn’t an un­com­mon oc­cur­rence!

I be­lieve they en­joyed the Pil­bara. I wish I got to take them more places though as it re­ally is a unique part of the world.

HAD YOU EVER ACTED BE­FORE?

Apart from my on­line the­atrics, I haven’t acted since I was at school. It’s def­i­nitely some­thing I’d like to work on.

HOW DID THE WHOLE PROJECT COME TO BE? HOW DID TER­RAIN TAMER GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU?

About a year ago I posted a photo of my Toy­ota Vdj79 Land­cruiser ute on my so­cial me­dia as I headed 2200k’s south to work for the har­vest sea­son. The mar­ket­ing man­ager at Ter­rain Tamer saw this photo and sent me a mes­sage. Land­cruis­ers are their bread and but­ter and he is an ideas man so it all went from there.

YOU ARE PROV­ING LADIES, RE­GARD­LESS OF WHERE THEY LIVE, CAN HAVE FAN­TAS­TIC OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES. DO YOU FEEL LIKE A RU­RAL IN­SPI­RA­TION?

Hon­estly, I don’t feel like an in­spi­ra­tion, no. I’m just a nor­mal per­son. Though I am aware of the im­pact that I have – es­pe­cially on young peo­ple – so I try my best to be wor­thy of this. HAS THIS AWOKEN A TV DREAM? WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO MORE WORK IN THIS FIELD?

I re­ally do en­joy film­ing and TV and would love to be in­volved in more... so long as it doesn’t force me to move to the city I’ll be happy!

ARE YOU STILL WORK­ING ON A PROP­ERTY NEAR KARRATHA? HOW WAS THE BAL­ANCE BEEN BE­TWEEN THIS PROJECT AND PROP­ERTY WORK?

I was still based on a cat­tle sta­tion north of Karratha while film­ing but I’ve fin­ished up there now. At the time of writ­ing I am cur­rently headed south to Esper­ance, West­ern Aus­tralia, to cart grain for the har­vest sea­son again.

It wasn’t a sim­ple thing to or­gan­ise the film­ing in a sta­tion me­chan­i­cal work­shop. Sta­tion life is a 365-day job and there were times when we had to stop film­ing to al­low for work to carry on around us.

I’m very ap­pre­cia­tive to Ter­rain Tamer, the sta­tion own­ers and other work­ers for be­ing so flex­i­ble in this sit­u­a­tion. In gen­eral it can be very dif­fi­cult jug­gling my ‘nor­mal’ work life with bits of film­ing. They gen­er­ally aren’t in­dus­tries that go hand in hand but it’s worth it.

WHAT CAN WE EX­PECT FROM THE TER­RAIN TAMER SHOW?

Lots of red dirt, plenty of Al­lan’s usual quips and, of course, heaps in­for­ma­tion on car parts that have made driv­ing my ute an ab­so­lute dream. I think a lot of your read­ers would find the in­for­ma­tion use­ful as this sea­son re­ally does cater for a gen­uine outback ute.

YOUR FACE­BOOK PAGE IS STILL KICK­ING GOALS, AND YOUR TRUCKIE TOUR VIDEO SUR­PASSED MORE THAN TWO MIL­LION VIEWS. IN­CRED­I­BLE STUFF. WHAT’S THE LONG-TERM PLAN?

I know! Ev­ery now and then my truckie tour video makes the rounds again and my page lights up with no­ti­fi­ca­tions. It still blows my mind. I take each op­por­tu­nity as it comes so of course there will be some con­tent from my spon­sors from time to time. How­ever, I aim to keep it as au­then­tic as it’s al­ways been.

IS THERE ANY­THING YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

There have been times when I’ve been pegged in the me­dia as fem­i­nist hero­ine, for lack of a bet­ter word. While I love en­cour­ag­ing women to reach their po­ten­tial and to get out and have a go, I don’t want peo­ple to get the wrong idea.

I wouldn’t be where I am to­day if I didn’t have some amaz­ing men teach­ing me and sup­port­ing me. I’m con­stantly learn­ing and still make mis­takes, so no mat­ter who you are, don’t be afraid to give some­thing new a go.

❝I take each op­por­tu­nity as it comes... — Jes­sica Ed­wards

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Jes­sica Ed­wards, also known as Jil­la­roo Jess, will ap­pear on the up­com­ing sea­son of Ter­rain Tamers.

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