That Tessa James is a brilliant, beautiful and sensitive young woman is obvious, but it’s her focus and refreshingly candid point of view that is most compelling. Having battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the actress is looking to bright new beginnings and career challenges, while redefining her life along the way. Earlier this year Tessa marked her return to stage in the gripping Australian play, Blackrock. Her performance was highly praised and that’s just the beginning
What do you think has been the secret to your success?
In terms of success I’ve realised that it’s sometimes best to just take the pressure off yourself. I think the secret to achieving goals is purely about focusing on what you love to do, working hard and being happy. An important thing that I’ve also thought about in the last few years and since not being very well, is that I have tightened the people that I surround myself with, ensuring those in my life are inspiring souls from all walks of life, the ones that I just love to be around.
Why do you think it’s important that women support and mentor other women?
I think as a whole we should all support one another; there doesn't need to be a divide but perhaps just more awareness, more understanding. To bring somebody else down just isn’t healthy. Our world would be more inspiring and nurturing if everybody followed their own path instead of being so caught up in what other people are doing.
Name the women who inspire you most?
The women that I surround myself with at this point in time are definitely women that mentor and inspire me greatly. Perhaps it’s a cliche but my mum really is the most positive force, she has been through a lot, but she has always led by example. She has just started studying architecture, which just proves that you can do whatever you set your mind to and whenever.
What is your advice for young women at the beginning of their career?
Listen. You have to be extremely open and listen to those around you; you’ll gain so much from it. In my industry, particularly when on set, it is really important to take in everything from those around you. Secondly, keep going. If you are doing what you love, keep going despite any setbacks – failures along the way tend to teach you something that makes you work harder. If you love what you are doing, then keep pushing on.
What sentiment or life motto is your trademark
Grind hard, stay humble. It sounds a bit aggressive but I’ve always been a really hard worker, and the people that I look up to work really hard as well. Ultimately, though, they’re the nicest and most inspiring people that you will ever meet – I think that it’s so important to be humble and a good person.