Jessie Wallace’s road to fame and fortune began with a series of twists and turns before she finally arrived at the stage of her true calling.
Karen Jane Wallace was born on the 25th September 1971 in Enfield, North London. Her parents divorced when she was three and her mother moved out of the marital home, leaving her father who was a telecommunications engineer, to raise her and her older sister Joanne.
Jessie left school at fifteen and and did a series of jobs, including wig making, before she began a two year training course to become a theatrical make-up artist. After graduating, she began working with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and soon realized that she would much rather be on the stage than behind the scenes. She confessed her ambitions to Scottish actor Iain Glen who helped her with her application to enroll in a drama school. Her first application was sent to RSC where she worked. She received a call back but ultimately failed to get in. She then applied to ‘The Poor School’ where classes were held in the evening so that less well off aspiring students could work during the day and study their craft at night.
By the time she graduated two years later, she had changed her name to Jessie, after her paternal grandmother who was the mother figure and a huge influence in her life. She soon began to audition for acting jobs and in the meantime worked as a barmaid to support herself. Her first television acting role came in 1999 in ’The Bill’, a British Independent Television (ITV) police drama series.
A year later she auditioned for a small part in ’Eastenders’, a very popular British Broadcasting Television (BBC) soap opera. She failed to get the part; however she was remembered by the producers and when they decided to create a new family in the show, she was asked to audition for the part of Kathleen (Kat) Slater. She recalls that the excitement was so great that she fainted on hearing the news. Jessie made her first appearance in ‘Eastenders’ on the 18th September 2000 and there began her meteoric rise to fame and fortune, which has changed her life forever.
Kat Slater, later became Kat Moon after her marriage to Alfie Moon. She is a sexy loudmouth who at times can be outrageous, yet a lovable character, perfectly portrayed by Jessie. She managed to capture the hearts of the British public and as a result has been nominated in various categories for awards no less than 23 times for her portrayal of Kat, with over fifty percent of the nominations resulting in outright winners.
In her private life, Jessie has been a subject of controversy because of her penchant for drinking and wild parties and at one point her life seemed to be spiralling out of control. Her irresponsible drinking landed her in a court of law, where she was charged with ‘drink driving’ causing the BBC to suspend her from ‘Eastenders’ because they felt her behaviour brought the show into disrepute. It was during her court appearance that she first met Dave Morgan, a police officer who was assigned to protect her from over enthusiastic fans. After that meeting they began a stormy relationship which caused them to breakup on numerous occasions. Nevertheless, on the 2nd November 2004, Dave and Jessie had a daughter whom they named Tallulah, Lilac. Jessie Wallace’s remains a firm favorite with British television audiences, which at the moment shows no signs of abating.