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Reference > Erinsborough News > Star Pupil

It’s top marks for young actress Jessica!

Neighbours actress Jessica Muschamp believes working in the top-rating series actually helped her survive her gruelling final year of high school!

While most students would shudder at the thought of taking on a job during their all-important Higher School Certificate studies, Jessica felt the opposite. And she was right! She passed her HSC with flying colours, earning 98 per cent for English, 87 for Literature, 78 for Australian History, 71 for French and 67 for 18th Century History.

“I seriously think doing Neighbours is what got me through,” the pretty 18-year-old told TV Week. “I don’t think I would have finished the year if I didn’t have another thing to think about (other than HSC). At the beginning of the year I thought ‘I am not going into a school play, I will devote myself to school work’. When the Neighbours audition came up I thought it would be good experience – I didn’t expect to get it (the role of Sharon Davies). When I did get it I had some serious thinking to do that weekend.”

Jessica admits six months of dividing her time between portraying Sharon and studying hard wasn’t easy.

“It was very, very difficult having to go away from the green room (where the cast relax between scenes) to a little room by myself and study without a tutor,” Jessica recalls. “Sometimes the pace was very hard to handle. A few times I felt I couldn’t go on any longer. Fortunately, that only happened a few times. I had so many people to support me – my teachers were pretty good as well as my family, friends and the kids at school.”

While Jessica initially chose her subjects with the aim of doing a university arts or literary course, she now wants to concentrate on acting.

“A lot of people said I should keep studying and get something behind me, but I will see what my career brings,” explains the bubbly teenager, who was involved with school plays and sometimes created her own productions.

“When I was about 10 I wrote plays and had the whole school coming to watch them!”

And although Jessica no longer has to worry about hitting the books between scenes, she will have to continue wearing a school uniform. Her character, Sharon, is still at school doing her year 11 studies in the show. “It’s like I have been sentenced to two more years at school,” Jessica says, laughing.

This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine, dated February 4th 1989, and was written by Kelly Bourne

Article submitted by Steve


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