What are your career highlights?
I feel very lucky to still be doing a job that I love! A real stand out moment includes interviewing Tony Blair. He was charismatic, charming and oh so bright! I also loved wearing a cat costume and attempting the foxtrot on Dancing with the Stars. I think I enjoyed the sparkly costumes more than the dance routines.
How do you deal with being in the public eye?
People are very kind… but there are times when my daughter is having a tantrum in the playground or the supermarket when I want the ground to swallow me up!
Please tell us about your family.
Family is the most important thing to me. I'm blessed to have my darling girls, Allegra and Giselle. My husband Peter isn't too shabby either! We've been married for eight years. My two sisters are my best friends and I'm very close to my mum as well as my dad and step-mum. All of us have had our moments but family is where I feel loved, safe and understood.
What are some important family values you want to pass onto your daughters?
I want them to be kind, compassionate and have a sense of wonder about the world.
You're a long term campaigner for mental health issues, what do you feel is the most important thing people should know about depression and mental illness?
I've had post natal depression and I grew up with a mum with a mental illness. Mental illness touches all of us in some way and it's essential to put your hand up if you need help. I know that once I spoke to my husband, and then went to see my doctor I finally put a voice to the scary feelings and emotions I was experiencing. Although I had a long way to go I started to feel like the weight was starting to lift off my shoulders because I asked for help.
Please tell us about your involvement with beyondblue.
I'm proud to be an ambassador for beyondblue. I'm patron of their perinatal program. They have a wonderful website www.beyondblue.org.au. Their information sheets that were included in my information pack at the hospital helped me recognise that how I was feeling was not 'normal' emotions for a new mum. I had post natal depression.
What was your first job?
A check out chick at Woolies. Once I graduated from uni, with a communications degree, I started out as a receptionist at Channel Nine.
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
Paris and New York… oh it's been so long… but I can dream. For now I love being beachside with my little family.
You have written two books, what did you most enjoy about the writing process?
Writing is such a treat. I love being in front of my computer and conjuring up the words. I really enjoy the intellectual challenge of getting it down on 'paper'. Also with my second book "Love.Wisdom.Motherhood" it was such a privilege to meet and interview 11 inspiring Australian mums, including our fabulous Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.
What do you feel is the most important mechanism to prevent or identify mental
illness in young people?
I'm no expert but I think kids need to feel in a safe and comfortable environment so they realise they can voice what they're feeling without being fearful about being judged. All of us want to feel understood.
What are your top 5 tips for someone seeking a career in the media industry?
Persistence, persistence, passion, thick skin with some luck thrown in!
Jessica Rowe is one of Australia's best known television presenters, an author and a mother. During her career spanning nearly 20 years, Jessica spent a decade as co-host of Network Ten's First at Five News, co-hosted the Today Show and can currently be seen on Sunrise and Weekend Sunrise on the Seven Network.
Jessica has authored two books on motherhood and on mental health and is a patron of the Mental Health Council of Australia, ambassador for beyondblue and a patron of its work on postnatal depression. Jessica is also a member of the IVF Australia Ethics Committee.
Jessica has a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in communications from Charles Sturt University in Bathurst and a Masters of International Studies from Sydney University.
She is married to Nine News anchor Peter Overton and they have two young daughters Allegra and Giselle.
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Get Ahead Kids® May/Jun 2012