Introducing the talented Tessa de Josselin! Tessa is an Australian actress, voiceover artist and environmentalist. She has worked across numerous film & TV productions whilst simultaneously advocating for the environment. You may recognise her from productions such as ABC series Ready For This, Home and Away and mini series Dead Lucky just to name a few! On top of this Tessa has a Bachelor of Geosciences from Sydney Uni and is currently completing a Masters of Environmental Sustainability. We had the pleasure of spending the morning with the very down to earth Tessa and chatting about acting, life on Home and Away, her environmental work, fashion and more.
I did yeah, and I loved my environmental degree, but the enjoyment with acting was always there too. I did it through school and with ATYP and was obsessed, so when I got the urge to pursue it on my own professionally, it felt right. I suppose in a way my degree and experience in the full time workforce was a cushion that gave me extra confidence (or naivety lol) just incase it didn't work out. I'm glad it did though!
What do you enjoy about acting? Do you have a favourite genre or role you love to portray?
So many things are enjoyable. Reading new scripts and stories, understanding and connecting with human behaviours, learning about experiences other than your own - then bringing them all to life. Being on set involved in the collaborative process is also really inspiring, some of my favourite sets have been love jobs with little budget and no creative restrictions. Really, a lot of the time, acting is just non serious, very silly, playtime, which is endlessly fun. You get to laugh, cry, yell, entertain, go back or forward in time, create, be someone completely different. I love it.
What parts of being an actress do you find challenging?
Saying no to location catering - it's too bloody good! I've gotten better at it though. And learning to let go of rejection, or disappointment when projects fall through. But it's all part and parcel with the job so I find it's good to have a couple things on the go at any one time that keep you interested and inspired, and moving forward.
I can see you in roles that portray strong and intelligent women, are these roles hard to come by?
Thanks! They can be, but I've definitely seen an increase in the number of complex female roles being written, which is great. I hope it's a shift that will continue to grow well into the future, for all age brackets, and not only showcase 'strong and intelligent' characters, but multifaceted and nuanced ones too. I loved Fleabag, written and portrayed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, for that exact reason.
Wearing Nelly Dress
Can you tell us a bit about Yikes and your work as a Climate Change activist?
Yeah for sure, so Yikes! is an ongoing series of environmental film screenings and live panel discussions that I set up and run with a friend at Fredas Bar. It's basically an underground learning party, and we've been lucky enough to partner with some amazing organisations so far, like 350.org and the Environmental Defenders Office, and unpack various climate change issues such as coral bleaching, fast fashion, the fossil fuel industry and the recent bushfire event. I suppose it was born out my own concerns surrounding climate change. I was doing my Masters and just kept feeling that the science needed to be humanised somehow and injected into a social setting so people had an opportunity to understand/discuss the issues, make their own change and demand it from our government. Film's a great medium for that too - doco's rule.
You did a bit of work around Slow and sustainable fashion with Yikes - is this something you've always felt strongly about?
Yes and no, I mean every topic we've unpacked I've felt strongly about, but unpicking fast fashion was really eye opening for me. The impact of manufacturing and transporting clothes is incredibly far reaching and taxing on the environment, and it doesn't end when you spring clean - 70% of clothing ends up in landfill or undermining local industries. It's an iceberg of environmental and social issues that you'd never think to consider! Transparency of where items are made, in what conditions and with what natural resources are all important. I've always loved the second hand hunt, but more and more I'm trying to use what I already have. If new then sustainably made, with recycled natural materials is best - and less of it! Hosting a clothing swap is great, or supporting local swap stores in your area. If you're interested, River Blue , A True Cost, or Slowing Down Fast Fashion are some great films to get around.
In what ways do you try to minimise your carbon footprint?
Love this question, reducing your carbon footprint is so important! And way easier than many people think. Personally, I divested to a more responsible bank, decided to eat considerably less meat, compost my organic waste (so easy, and reduces the amount of methane produced in landfill), use reusable items (cups, bags, water bottles, containers), offset my flights, and buy second hand / less stuff, and go back to uni to learn more about what we can do!
Where do you see yourself heading in the future - do you think you'll stick on the acting path or diverge onto the environmental path?
Hopefully they just keep crossing over and I can continue to follow both paths. I have found that the arts and sciences compliment each other well, and so far have intersected in very natural way which I'm really grateful for.