This Much I Know: The Secret She Keeps actress Jessica De Gouw on success in lockdown

As a child growing up in a semi rural area of Australia I didn’t wear shoes a whole bunch.
This Much I Know: The Secret She Keeps actress Jessica De Gouw on success in lockdown
Jesica De Gouw stars in The Secrets She Keeps.
Jesica De Gouw stars in The Secrets She Keeps.

As a child growing up in a semi rural area of Australia I didn’t wear shoes a whole bunch.

I loved the freedom of being outside and I certainly didn’t have any plans to act.

At first, I found being on stage both terrifying and exhilarating.

Acting for screen is a different thing completely as it’s a must longer process and you really do build a bond with the cast and crew because you are working with the same people every day.

I got a one way ticket to London when I was eighteen and immediately fell in love with the place.

It’s where I live now although Australia is always going to be home - it is such a beautiful country and I have to admit I do often long for its wide open places.

Seeing the reaction to my latest role in ‘The Secrets She Keeps’ whilst we’re in lockdown has been pretty crazy.

It screened in Australia a few weeks ago and a lot of people tuned in. It’s set in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, about two women from vastly different backgrounds, both with massive secrets.

The personality trait I look for in friends is simply having a connection.

I’ve never had one mentor, rather a group of female friends who are always there to guide one another though life.

We’re there to challenge and support each other.

The thing that most irritates me about others is a sense of entitlement.

If I could be someone else for a day I’d like to be a person who has just landed on the moon and is looking back down to earth.

I’d like the chance to witness that different perspective.

Ambition may be more important than talent because you have to have ambition in order to realise your talent. But who defines these things?

I’ve become better at having a work life balance, although my work is one of the greatest joys of my life.

It is a challenge but I’m so lucky because I get to work with a network of such creative and inquisitive humans.

My biggest extravagance is wine. Australian wine.

I’ve taken up gardening during lock-down. Some pop-up plant shops appeared in London in response to Covid-19 and I’ve taken advantage of them.

My idea of misery is loneliness, walking through life alone.

My idea of bliss is having a picnic with friends somewhere beautiful and open and green. With wine.

The best advice I’ve ever received is to ‘make sure you keep life in life.’

We can lose sight of that with all the chaos and the noise.

I’m physically fit but would normally go to the gym. I’ve taken up running and walking which I find quite meditative.

If I could change one thing about the education system, certainly in Australia, I’d make sure that school children were properly taught about indigenous history.

What we learned about our indigenous people was very token. There wasn’t any kind of depth to it. That has to change.

Fate is not something I have considered. I believe in steering your own ship.

My key skill is that I’m a good communicator. It is vital for my job.

My advice to anybody who wants to follow a career in acting is that a lot can be learnt on courses and in universities in terms of theory, but nothing beats learning on the job.

You need to be able to be honest and vulnerable, to be focussed and to be present so that you can respond to the people you are working with on stage, or on set.

I’m not religious. Spiritual maybe in the sense that I respect and appreciate the world around us.

If money was not an issue I would absolutely continue to work. I want to continue acting throughout my life. That is my dream.

The lesson in life so far is that we need to keep learning and evolving. That is what keeps us active in the world.

Jessica De Gouw stars in The Secrets She Keeps, RTÉ One on Tuesdays at 22:15.

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