Jessica Marais

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Jessica Marais
Jessica Marais at 2011 TV Week Logie Awards (1).jpg
Marais at the 2014 Logies
Born Jessica Dominique Marais
(1985-01-29) 29 January 1985 (age 32)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Occupation Actress
Years active 2008–present
Partner(s) James Stewart (2009–15)
Children 1

Jessica Dominique Marais (born 29 January 1985) is an Australian actress best known for her roles on Australian television in Packed to the Rafters and Love Child. She also co-starred on the American drama series Magic City. Marais, is nominated for the Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Television in 2017, and is the only female nominee. She is also nominated for Logie Award for Best Actress and Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actress in a Series

Early life[edit]

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Marais and her family lived in Canada and New Zealand before relocating to Perth, Western Australia, when she was nine.

It's sort of something you relive. It feels fresh but obviously time does heal a lot of wounds and I'm definitely much better at coping with it now.
Marais, on the death of her father.

Six months after arriving in Australia, Marais' father Tony died from a heart attack while returning from a family picnic. Marais and her younger sister Clara were raised by her mother Karen.[1] She attended a Catholic co-educational school John XXIII College in Claremont for a year and then went to St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls from 1995 until her graduation in 2002.[2]

Jessica attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art where she graduated in 2007. NIDA appearances included Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Charity in Sweet Charity. While still completing her final year she won the role in Packed to the Rafters, along with co-star and fellow NIDA graduate Hugh Sheridan.[3]


Marais was attending NIDA when she was cast in the role of Rachel Rafter on the television series Packed to the Rafters. The series became a success and was instantly renewed. On Sunday 3 May 2009, Marais won the Logie for "Most Popular New Female Talent" and the prestigious Graham Kennedy Award for "Most Outstanding New Talent" at the Logie Awards of 2009. In February 2011 it was announced that Marais had left the show, with her final episode airing on 23 August 2011.[4] Marais starred in the series from Season One until Season Four from 2008-2012. Marais made cameo appearances in the final episode of season 4 on 20 March 2012 and in the series finale on 2 July 2013.

Marais also starred in Rai Fazio's film Two Fists, One Heart with fellow Perth actor Tim Minchin and Daniel Amalm which was released in March 2009.[5] Marais guest-starred in the American series, Legend of the Seeker filmed in Auckland New Zealand, playing the role of the Mord'Sith Denna.

After departing Packed to the Rafters, Marais relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood. Marais then went to Miami, to film US drama, Magic City. The series lasted two seasons.

After re-locating back to Australia, Marais portrayed Australian transgender entertainer and activist Carlotta in an biographic telefilm for ABCTV Australia.[6] Its worldwide premiere was on 19 June 2014. It was the #10 show of the night, and nationally won its timeslot with 811,000 viewers.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Marais was engaged to former Packed to the Rafters co-star James Stewart.[8] However, in May 2015 Marais announced that she and Stewart had ended their 5-year engagement amicably.[9]

Marais and Stewart have a daughter together named Scout Edie Stewart, born on 9 May 2012. Marais was reported as saying she would return to work filming the second series of Magic City while Stewart would be the baby's full-time caregiver.[10]


Film and television roles
Year Title Role Notes
2008 Two Fists, One Heart Kate Film
2008–12, 2013 Packed to the Rafters Rachel Rafter Main role (seasons 1–4); guest role (season 6); 76 episodes
2009–10 Legend of the Seeker Denna 4 episodes
2010 Fish Lips Audrey - adult Short film
2010 Needle Kandi Film
2012–13 Magic City Lily Diamond Main role; 16 episodes
2014–present Love Child Joan Millar Main role
2014 Carlotta Carlotta Television film
2015 That Sugar Film "Actor" Documentary film
2016–present The Wrong Girl Lily Woodward Lead role


  1. ^ 28 October 2011 12:00AM (28 October 2011). "Packed To the Rafters star Jessica Marais still haunted by seeing father die". Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "More About Jessica Marais - Jessica Marais". Zimbio. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Harris, Amy (15 February 2011). "Packed to the Rafters losing Jessica Marais, its brightest young star |". Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Two Fists, One Heart
  6. ^ "Jessica Marais steps into Carlotta's big shoes" from (9 May 2013)
  7. ^ "Ratings 19 June 2014". 
  8. ^ "Jessica Marais and James Stewart are engaged!". New Idea. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Jessica Marais and James Stewart Split". Who (magazine). 20 May 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "Celeb news: Look who's had a baby. Mamamia". Retrieved 13 December 2012. 

External links[edit]