NO PLACE LIKE HOME
After chasing her Hollywood dream and struggling with the death of a close friend, talented Aussie actress Jolene Anderson is smiling again and is back on home soil with a guest stint on Home and Away
the aftermath of Priestley’s death as “the hardest thing I’ve ever been through”.
Anderson says she had been working on a move to Los Angeles later in 2008 but Priestley’s passing altered those plans. Instead, Anderson turned inward.
“I had planned to leave in 2008 but then a lot of things happened and I was shattered,” Anderson says. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to stay in Australia at the moment where family are close.’”
It took Anderson three years before she would even discuss Priestley’s passing. She got angry, saw a counsellor, gave up singing, found solace with family and friends.
Simple things like yoga, long walks, and playing her favourite music helped turn things around.
“We were really close and had a great bond,” Anderson has said. “He taught me a lot – not only about acting, but life. He’d always say, ‘Don’t worry what people say about you, just be true to yourself.’”
Anderson returned to TV with Rush in 2010 and 2011. By early 2012, she had the courage to follow her dream and finally relocated to Los Angeles. The move has been rewarding but challenging. Anderson is yet to score a major role.
“I was over there (for the first time) when I was 21 and I always had the itch to go back,” Anderson says.
“It is definitely a bigger pond (pool of actors) there but there are a lot of really great projects over here, including TV. I’ve been getting close to a lot of things.
“Independent film is where I would love to land. I’m not massively into blockbusters.”
Home and Away’s Neive is smart and unapologetically ambitious. She comes to Summer Bay to see Phoebe Nicholson (Isabella Giovinazzo) perform and is mighty impressed.
Neive tells Phoebe she is going to be music’s next big thing. That drives a wedge between Phoebe and boyfriend Kyle Braxton (Nic Westaway).
Last year, Anderson recorded Don’t Let the Darkness In as a tribute to Priestley. The song aimed to raise money and help awareness for the Black Dog Institute.
“I see music as somewhere down the track, on stage or TV or film, but not necessarily making an album or anything,” she said. “I love being a jobbing actor working.”
Actress Jolene Anderson on the set of Home And Away.