Hello! Hugs and kisses to all. Wasn't that internet problem Aunty experienced a bother? It was for me. I had this recently written article all ready to go and nowhere to publish it. I must have driven Miss Andrea and Kimberley mad. I was ringing every day asking if things were fixed yet. Kim even threatened to spank me if I did it once more before the date I'd been given!
Well now we're all back up and running again here it is.
Sometimes having a press pass, even an old one, can be a very good thing for a girl. I used my old Bared Affair accreditation to get past security at Crown Casino in Melbourne, where the Logie Awards were being held. I think the guard was more interested in my breasts than my press pass, which is probably how I got in.
For those not in the know the Logies are Australian TV’s version of the Emmys, and for some reason we always import some overseas talent to present or perform. I’ve never understood that, it’s rather like admitting that we can’t produce any homegrown talent at an event supposed to celebrate local talent. Odd, now I’ll climb down off my soapbox and get on with the article.
Once inside the event I was horrified to discover that both Johanna Griggs and Shelley Craft were in attendance. Ms Craft was even one of the host network’s people covering the red carpet entrances. I had a run in with both ladies at the Melbourne Cup some time back. I still think of them every time I place a bet.
Fortunately I wasn’t seated anywhere near the bubbly presenter or the statuesque former swimmer, so was able to avoid them easily enough. I did have a close call with Ms Griggs in the bathroom though, and had to hide in a cubicle. This proved to be a stroke of luck because I bumped into Packed to the Rafters star Jessica Marais, and loaned her my lipstick when she was unable to locate hers.
Rising Australian TV star Jessica Marais on Logies night in her pretty designer dress.
Meeting a Rising Star
Miss Marais and I are of a similar age, once we got chatting, and she found out that I was THE Debbie Downunder from Bared Affair (my goodness we had a wide and varied readership) she invited me to Channel 7’s (they screen Jessica’s show) after party. This was for me a great coup, as Jessica and her co-star veteran actress Rebecca Gibney, had been nominated for the night’s top award; the Gold Logie. In fact Ms Gibney won the award the previous year.
Unfortunately neither of the ‘Rafters’ girls were successful in their bid for the Gold statuette, that was taken off by host network presenter Karl Stefanovic (hmmm…something fishy going on there I think), but they were both happy to give me an interview at the party after.
It was a little bitter sweet for Jessica Marais as she was leaving the show that made her name, and heading off to the United States to try and crack Hollywood. She already has a small profile outside of Australia for her guest role in ABC’s fantasy series Legend of the Seeker, where she played a red leather clad dominatrix known as a Mord Sith. Jessica and I settled down in some conveniently placed chairs, and enjoyed some champagne as I interviewed her.
“I honestly didn’t mind not winning the Gold,” Jessica said airily, with a toss of her blonde mane, “it would have felt a bit weird seeing as how I’m leaving the show, and have in fact filmed my final scenes. I was sad for Bec, though.”
A TV Mum Tells The Truth
“You’ve changed your tune!” exclaimed Ms Gibney.
“Whatever do you mean, Bec?” Jessica asked.
“Last year you carried on for ages about how I was nominated and you didn’t even get that.”
The blonde bombshell shrugged “I was very childish then.”
“You most certainly were,” the veteran actress agreed with her on screen daughter, “now why don’t you get your poor old ‘mother’ a drink while I discuss that with Debra?”
Jessica looked like she’d just been slapped, but got to her feet, murmured “Yes, Mum.” and went off to do as she had been told.
Jessica's surrogate Mum; veteran TV star Rebecca Gibney
“Mum?” I asked Ms Gibney.
She laughed musically “It must seem crazy to outsiders, but my onscreen children call me Mum and Erik (co-star Erik Thomson) Dad. We’re just like a real family.”
I asked the blonde actress what she meant by the incident over last years nomination, Jessica returned with a flute of champagne for Rebecca, handed it over and stood demurely next to her co-star.
“What you have to understand, Debbie, is that Jessica is still quite young in television terms and where we film in Sydney, is a long way from home for her.”
“I’m from Perth, originally.” Jessica said softly.
“I live in Tasmania,” Rebecca explained, “and I miss my family dreadfully when we’re filming. Jess, Hugh (Hugh Sheridan is middle son Ben Rafter) and Angus (Angus McClaren plays the youngest Rafter boy Nathan) are my kids when we film.”
I sipped my drink and nodded. I was starting to see where this was leading, and Jessica’s flaming cheeks told me that my guess was probably right.
“I miss my Mum,” Jessica murmured, “I moved away when I was pretty young to attend NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts, located in Sydney), so I missed out on a lot of growing up with a maternal influence.”
“That was until she got another ‘mother’.” Rebecca Gibney put in.
“Another drink?” Jessica asked.
“No, I’m good. Debbie?”
I suddenly realized I was dry, Rebecca sent Jessica for more refreshment with an admonition not to drink anymore herself, a command Jessica obeyed with a put upon sigh.
“The first time I confronted Jess was during a tantrum she threw about something she was being asked to do. Her language left a lot to be desired. I told her that if I’d behaved that way around my mother I would have been over her knee quick smart. She swore another blue streak and was soon having her pretty little sit upon roasted in my dressing room. I used a hairbrush that time.”
“Oh God!” Jessica exclaimed, pressing a drink on me. “You’re telling tales again, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am, but I’m sure Debbie’s readers will enjoy hearing it, Jess, and I’d thank you to treat me with a little more respect, young lady.”
It was clear from the way the two ladies behaved and spoke that this was not the only occasion on which Miss Marais had found herself over the older woman’s maternal lap. “Oh no!” Rebecca assured me. “I’ve spanked Jessie a few times, haven’t I, sweetheart?”
“Mum!” a scandalized Jessica hissed.
“There was the time she didn’t like what she was wearing, and I put the wooden spoon to her, because we were on set in the kitchen at the time. We couldn’t get any work out of her last year following the whole ‘you got nominated for the Gold Logie and I didn’t!’ drama until I popped her over my knee and gave her little derriere a good workout. I suspect you’ll need another one to keep you good before you head off, won’t you, Jessie?”
Clearly uncomfortable at being treated like a child in front of someone close to her age, Jessica could only nod.
I had a wonderful night dancing, drinking and meeting lots of cute young actors, plus I got an awesome story to share with you all. Jessica Marais may not have won the Gold Logie, but if there was a Red Bottom Award for TV starlets I think she’d definitely be in the running.