Behind the Scenes with Isidingo’s Jess

Meet Kate Tilley, the bubbly 28-year old who plays quirky Jess Webster in SA’s Isidingo. The Socialite recently paid Kate a visit to find out what it’s like on set, her favourite indulgences and what she gets up to on the weekends…

First day on set of Isidingo…

I remember hearing this really loud and fast banging sound and I started thinking “What the hell is that and how is one expected to work like this?” only to realise it was my own heart beating what seemed like 600 gazillion beats per second.  I was so nervous!  And at the end of my first scene it was Carl Beukes, who was playing Paul at the time, made my nerves settle when he said that I should consider taking acting classes. He was kidding of course…I think? (Laughs).

Are they any similarities between yourself and your character Jess?

Absolutely!  Like Jess, I like to take pride in being different and celebrating it. I too have a unique style, although it’s nowhere near as crazy as hers. I love co-ordinating things, mixing and matching to get my own quirky look. Jess has the ability to see things from a different angle and is so open-minded and thinks out of the box when it comes to solving problems and dealing with situations. I’d like to think that this is quite a strength of mine too. Jess also has an offbeat and somewhat bubbly sense of humour and I am constantly putting on funny voices and pulling odd faces! Jess is also very sensitive and intuitive and has a natural talent for understanding and empathising with people and their situations hence her interest in psychology.  She is a good listener and tries to offer sound advice which at times makes her appear wise beyond her years.  This is one of my traits too; perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my parents are both psychologists.

Funniest memory on set…

It was the first kissing scene between Calvin and Jess.  As you know, Jess has a nose ring which is not real. It’s a magnet and it is very prone to falling off. It has been the reason for many re-takes. When Maurice (Calvin) moved in for the kiss, his nose rubbed against mine and the nose ring fell off and landed perfectly on his bottom lip! Of course the whole thing was caught on camera, in a close up shot and it was replayed in slow motion on every single monitor around. It had literally the entire SABC studio in stitches.

Who would you want to play in a movie?

Robert Downey Jnr. He is just the epitome of coolness. It used to be Jack Nicholson, but since Iron man, Jnr has set a new standard!  I reckon if Cate Blanchett can get away with playing Bob Dylan, who was cool in his own right, then I could get away with playing Jnr… But if I had to play a woman it would have to be Meryl Streep. I think she is insanely talented. But as far as characters go, it would be Natalie Portman’s character in Garden state, or any character from one of Jane Austen or Emily Bronte’s novels or even Anne Hathaway in Being Jane. I would give my eye teeth to do a Victorian period piece.

Favourite movie of all time and how many times have you watched it to date?

That’s too difficult a question to answer. I have so many favourite movies and have watched them all so many times. For example Garden State, Amelie, Mary Poppins, Stealing beauty, My father the Hero, Edward Scissor Hands and Beetle Juice and the list continues…

On weekends we’ll find you?

Early morning exercise sessions, usually swimming on a Saturday and a 12k run.  I also enjoy shopping with my mum at Melrose Arch at the organic market on Saturdays or going to Rosebank as there’s a great flea market on Sundays. I also enjoy going for coffee with mates, watching movies at Hyde Park or Cine Nouveux Rosebank and having Skype coffee dates with my brothers and best friends overseas

Your quick trick to looking fabulous?

I must say that my strict Matisse beauty regime helps to keep my skin looking good.  It’s the usual cleanse, tone, moisturize along with a booster or serum, a night cream and eye cream and sunscreen for the day. Regardless of what time of night I arrive home it has become routine for me. But if I do happen to get an unexpected guest, I have to admit I slap on a few strokes of my Lancôme definicils mascara and some lip gloss. I’m not too sure what a difference it makes, but it does my confidence a world of wonder.

Last song you sang out aloud?

A little something I made up!  I have a little habit that I developed in my childhood of humming when I eat. I don’t really do it when I am in the presence of someone else but somehow it gives me the same satisfaction as having real company. I really hate being alone so I guess it’s my way of keeping myself company and entertaining myself.

Phrase you use all too often?’

Well I can tell you one thing, unlike Jess it’s not Dude! I say ‘frack’ a lot (inspired by battle star Gallactica). It gives me the same satisfaction as one might get from screeching a similar sounding ‘f’ word when I bang my toe (which I tend to do a little too often, I am a bit of a klutz).

Favourite indulgences?

Anything from my friend Rozanne Immerman’s shop’ Rozanne and Pushkin’. Travelling, swimming just after the rain when the steam is rising off the surface, it feels like I am in a jungle. Frozen jelly beans (they have to be frozen and preferably the American Gourmet Jelly beans), muesli and soya yoghurt, picking the raisins out of hotcross buns, going to bed really early and setting out for a long run just before the sun rises.  Oh and Mojito’s shared with my gal pals on a balmy summer’s eve.

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