The Secret Life of Us: articles

Secret life of a backpacker

FORMER The Secret Life Of Us guest star Jess Gower found out just how much her character was loved when she was killed off. Gower, who debuts next week in her next major role, in the Fox Television series Crash Palace, still receives the commiserations of fans who were devastated when her character, Sam, was suddenly hit by a car and killed in the Network Ten drama.

"One lady came up to me when I was in a cafe and told me how Sam's death really rattled her and how she hadn't been able to sleep the night after it aired," Gower recalled.

"But Sam was designed to die she was too nice, she got the dream job and the dream man it was all just too good."

The vivacious 24-year-old actor stars in Crash Palace as Miranda Watts, a 16-year-old New Zealander on the adventure of a lifetime with her mother, Penny.

It also stars Tory Mussett, Dieter Brummer, Jenni Baird and Kristy Wright.

The half-hour adult soap, which will air on Fox 8 from next Monday, debuted in Britain before Australia, like The Secret Life Of Us.

It attracted rave reviews and has already been sold to 11 countries. A second season has been ordered.

Crash Palace pulls no punches when it comes to the hedonistic sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle of your average backpacker.

"The show gets pretty dark as it goes along," Gower said.

"Playing a teenager is an interesting change, because this one gets to do some serious growing up pretty quickly.

"And I loved the challenge of doing an accent and 20 scenes a day."

Gower had always been intrigued by the prospect of an acting career, but she didn't consider it seriously until late in her high-school years.

Although she has done the odd commercial remember the Telstra ad, where she confuses John Farnham's manager, Glenn Wheatley, with Paul Hogan? Gower avoided the traditional soap-opera apprenticeship.

Her next major role, with co-stars Matt Newton and Mark Priestley, will be in Blurred, a film about the infamous annual schoolies' week on the Gold Coast.

"I'm playing another teenager. I could probably stay in my teens for a few more years," Gower laughed.

"The film is really about the characters and their first big life experience."

By Kathy McCabe
March 03, 2002
Daily Telegraph