Spencer: TV's biggest babe
Brummer – your three-year reign is over! That’s voted Neighbours’ Jesse Spencer the 1996 TV. But who is the beautiful boy behind those Jesse tells his story – so far. By Santi Pintado.
A star is born
“I was born Jesse Gordon Spencer, on February 12, 1979, at St George’s hospital in downtown Melbourne. Yep, I’m Victorian, born and bred. My dad had been in America for a couple of years and told me that Jesse was a pretty common name over there and that he liked it, so he named me after the outlaw legend Jesse James, as well as the black political activist Jesse Jackson. He was also inspired by a Roberta Flack son called Jesse. But I really hate being called Jesse with an ‘i’.
“My parents told me that my first word was ‘star’. We were out in the country looking up at the sky one clear night, and apparently it just came out of my mouth.
“I was an adventurous kid, or so I’m told, and was really into climbing. Mum used to always check to make sure that there wasn’t anything around that I could hurt myself with, like big ladders and stuff. But she forgot to do it one time. We were at a friend’s house when I was only about three years old, and I climbed up on a ladder and was running around on the roof. My parents eventually saw me up there and Dad started yelling, ‘Jesse, get down!’ I kept on playing around and backed away from him laughing my head off. He punished me for it, but I probably would’ve done something else stupid the following week.
“I’ve lived in a house 10 minutes from the city for the last 10 years, with my parents, two older brothers – Tarney, who’s 21 and doing fourth year medicine and Luke, who’s 19 and is in his second year of med – and my younger sister Polly, who’s 13.
That acting bug
“I started school at Canterbury Primary School for one year of prep an then we moved house, so I went to Malvern Central until the end of Year Eight. I’m currently in my last year at Scotch College. Without sounding too modest, my grades at school have always been quite good. I always try to do well.
“Over the years, I’ve been in a few school productions at Scotch College, but I never really concentrated on becoming an actor – it just happened. I wanted to try it out and experiment with it to see what I could do. It was something that was sort of building up.
“I guess it all began with singing in the Australian Boys Choir when I was seven. I was with them for six years and I even went on tour with them to America. I didn’t really enjoy it, but looking back on it now, I had a pretty good time. My first TV appearance was on Good Morning Australia, singing Danny Boy. I was 14 and they introduced me as Jesse Spencer from the Australian Boys Choir. After that, I was auditioned to be a contestant on New Faces with Bert Newton and about a year later, they called me up to perform Where is Love? from the musical Oliver. I didn’t win, but I came third.
“Although I went to the National Theatre and Drama School for a year when I was in Year Eight, acting was never my main priority. If anything, it was sport. I was – and still am – a sporting freak. I played basketball, football and loved running. I did a lot of athletics, like long-distance running, and even got a few trophies for it. I played basketball for about five years, too, but then acting took over.
“I scored a role in an episode of Time Trax, where I played an outer-space alien who spoke in an alien tongue. Then came Neighbours. When I was in Year Nine I originally went for the role Brett Stark (played by Brett Blewitt) in Neighbours, but I didn’t get the role. I came close, so they asked me back a year-and-a-half later to audition for Billy Kennedy. I got the part and by the end of Year 10, I was on Neighbours. It was my very first English-speaking part!
“If I wasn’t successful in acting, I might have gone to study medicine. Who knows, I still may do it. My close classmates are cool with me being in a soapie. It’s outside friends who do the usual joking around thing, and also people I don’t know like to come up and talk about Neighbours and stuff.”
“I had my first crush when I was about five or six. Her name was Merin and she was a redhead. It wasn’t really a crush crush, we were just friends. she was my mum’s friend’s daughter and whenever our mums were talking, we were always together. By the time I’d left primary school, she’d moved to America and I never saw her again.
“I was always fairly shy when it came to girls and wasn’t really interested in them until about Year Seven. I mean, I wasn’t dumbstruck around them. I’d talk to them and everything, but I’d never ask them to go out. I guess you could say that I socialised without doing anything – if you know what I mean. Then in Year Nine, I started to get a bit more confident, but I haven’t had many girlfriends at all – about four to be exact. And no, I don’t have a girlfriend at the moment. If I did, she’d have to be a girl was self-confident, no shy, bubbly and generally a happy girl with a good sense of humor.”
“My parents always wanted me to do as much as I could, so when they asked me what musical instrument I wanted to take up, I said the violin. Out of all the instruments, it’s the one I liked the most and wanted to learn. I was about 10 when I started, so I’m almost up to the last grade. Because I know how to play the violin, other things like the piano and the guitar spring off it, and I can play those too. I like writing songs and stuff for my own pleasure and have started up a band with three of my school mates, called Splayd. We’re sort of a mix of all styles of music although we’re starting to write a few songs, we don’t have much time because of Year 12 and all that. Maybe next year. But I did think up for the song for my Dolly ‘Prince of TV’ 0055 phone messages in about five minutes. I just wanted to do something a bit different – it must’ve worked!”
Prince of tv!
“I was at home when Heather the Neighbours called publicist, called to tell me that I’d won the Dolly ‘Prince of TV’. I was quite surprised. I was like, ‘Oh yeah?’ My brothers had no idea that I’d won and I had to explain it to them, but then I was congratulated by all my family and friends. What can I say to the ex-prince, Dieter Brummer, except – sorry Diet, but somebody had to do it! And to everyone who voted for me, thank you. It’s extremely encouraging, but the future is still awaiting.”
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