Jessica Marais has found herself a surprising new career, almost four years stepping away from acting to focus on her mental health.
The Logie-winning actress, 37, known for starring in hit TV shows The Wrong Girl and Love Child, is now working as a waitress at Gordons Cafe in Clovelly, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The café, on the corner of Beach Street and Clovelly Road, is just a stone’s throw away from Jessica’s home.
New career: Logie-winning actress Jessica Marais (pictured at the 2017 Logies) is now working as a waitress at a Sydney café, four years after quitting acting to focus on her mental health
It is also close to her favourite swimming spot, Gordons Bay.
The Magic City star is flourishing in her new job, with a customer telling New Idea she looked ‘really happy’ and ‘friendly’ during a recent visit.
Jessica stepped away from acting in 2018 but looked set to make a comeback in 2020 when she joined the cast of Back to the Rafters, the Amazon Prime Video reboot of beloved Channel Seven drama Packed to the Rafters.
She was due to reprise her role of Rachel Rafter, the character she had played from 2008 until 2013 in the original Seven series.
Star service! Marais, 37, known for starring in hit TV shows The Wrong Girl and Love Child, works as a waitress at Gordons Cafe in Clovelly, Sydney. Pictured with her boyfriend Jake Holly
Jessica’s former co-star Angus McLaren, who played Nathan Rafter, told Daily Mail Australia earlier this year she was ‘doing well’.
‘Yeah we definitely missed her on set, but the good thing about Jess is she lived quite close to me when I was in Sydney,’ he said.
‘So I actually got to see her, I really have a lot of love for Jess.’
Order up! The Magic City star is flourishing in her new job, with a customer telling New Idea she looked ‘really happy’ and ‘friendly’ during a recent visit. Pictured: Gordon Cafe
‘It would’ve been great to work with her, she’s certainly one of those people who brings a good vibe to the set.’
Jessica has had a difficult past few years.
In July 2018, the mother-of-one, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was unable to attend the Logies in because she was receiving treatment for ‘urgent’ issues at The Health Clinic, a mental health facility in Bronte.
Quit: It comes a year after Jessica pulled out of the Packed to the Rafters reboot for mental health reasons in 2020. Pictured: The original cast of Packed To The Rafters
While in treatment, the Logie-winning actress attended daily counselling sessions, while nurses and psychiatrists and psychologists are at hand at the facility, according to The Sunday Telegraph.
A source told the publication that Jessica followed a detox and inner health program, with inpatient programs averaging $25,000 for a month.
In August 2018, Jessica gave a heartfelt interview to TV Week magazine about her career, telling the publication: ‘I do worry about not having work – it’s a great fear.
No show: In July 2018, Jessica was forced to pull out of the Logies at the last minute after checking into a Sydney mental health facility. Pictured in 2018
‘Everyone worries about unemployment and making ends meet. I think it’s only natural in today’s climate – it’s a massive issue,’ she added.
In September 2018, the South African-born star announced that she was pulling out of Nine’s TV show Bad Mothers one month before it was scheduled to begin filming.
‘Jessica has decided to step away from acting for the remainder of 2018 to focus on her health and spend time with her family,’ her management said at the time.
Reboot: In July 2019 it was announced Jessica would return to TV screens, starring alongside Rebecca Gibney (pictured) and Anthony LaPaglia in Halifax: Retribution, a reboot of ’90s drama Halifax f.p
In July 2019 it was announced Jessica would return to TV screens, starring alongside Rebecca Gibney and Anthony LaPaglia in Halifax: Retribution, a reboot of ’90s drama Halifax f.p.
However, two months later reports claimed Jessica had pulled out of the reboot.
According to the Sun Herald’s Emerald City, The Gold Logie nominee quit the show ‘as it didn’t fit with her schedule and personal commitments.’
By her side: Jessica has been dating photographer Jake Holly (right) since December 2017, and has credited him for helping her overcome mental health struggles
In February 2020, Jessica again shocked fans by announcing she would be stepping away from the new Back To The Rafters series for ‘personal reasons’.
‘She thanks everyone involved on the show for their ongoing support and love, especially her ‘Rafter’s family’, and sends them her very best wishes for the production,’ an official statement read.
Just months after pulling out of the Packed To The Rafters reboot, Jessica sparked concern again after emergency crews were called to her home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for a welfare check.
‘Distressed’: Just months after pulling out of the Packed To The Rafters reboot, Jessica sparked concern again after emergency crews were called to her home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for a welfare check
The star was walked to an ambulance where she was put on a gurney and taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick.
A witness told Daily Mail Australia she was not wearing any shoes, her hair was a ‘dishevelled mess’ and she was in a ‘visibly distressed state’.
Fortunately, she appeared happy and healthy several weeks later as she spent time with Packed To The Rafters’ co-star Hugh Sheridan and other supportive friends.
Months later, Jessica’s mother Karen passed away.
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Co-parents: Jessica shares an ten-year-old daughter, Scout (centre), with her ex-fiancé, James Stewart (left)