Home & Away star's love dilemma

KERRY HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2014
Jessica Grace Smith
BAITED: Jessica Grace Smith had all but given up hope of ever working on Home And Away, until producers offered her a part she could not refuse.

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It might not quite be raining men but Jessica Grace Smith is definitely being showered with male attention.

As Summer Bay's Denny, the Kiwi actress is at the centre of a love triangle involving two of Home And Away's most popular heartthrobs - Chris Harrington (Johnny Ruffo) and Casey Braxton (Lincoln Younes).

Denny's job at the bait shop owned by Summer Bay stalwart Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher) has also led to some heart-warming scenes between the pair.

It is all great fun, says the former Dannevirke farm girl, who is happy that her character shares her own tomboy inclinations.

"It's really nice sharing that with her," she says. "It means I don't have to wear too many of the high heels that I'm terrible at walking in."

But while she may not be a girly girl, Denny is not immune to romance.

"I assumed with a show like Home And Away that you are going to have love interests, but it was cool to know that I was going to have two guys; that it wasn't going to be me and another girl fighting over someone," Jessica says.

"I was like, 'This is great. I'll just sit back and they can fight it out'."

The battle for Denny has reached the point where fans are starting to opt for Team Chris or Team Casey.

"Last night the... guy who works at the supermarket was like, 'Hey, it's Denny. You've got to stay with Chris, the way he looks at you.' I was like 'OK'," Jessica says.

And while the boys really do come to blows, there is physical action of a different kind for Jessica when Casey and Denny kiss for the first time.

"I think the director told Lincoln to kiss her really good. It's the longest kiss in Home And Away history," she says, adding that her real-life boyfriend, also an actor, finds the storyline hilarious.

"I try to cover his eyes during the kissing scenes, but he doesn't care."

Which is lucky given her time on Home And Away is a dream come true for the 2009 Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School graduate who moved across the Tasman after several successful roles in New Zealand on television (Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena) and movies (Diagnosis: Death, Sione's 2: Unfinished Business).

"When I got to Australia, I was like, 'I want to be on Home And Away. Working at the beach with a lot of hot guys; what more could you ask for?'   " says Jessica, who admits to being a huge fan of the show as a teenager.

However, after three years in Australia and many, many auditions, she did not think she would ever achieve her goal so made plans to move to Los Angeles.

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After losing the role of Kyle Braxton's girlfriend Phoebe to Isabella Giovanazzi, Jessica was a week away from departing for the US when the show's producers offered her the role of Denny.

However, Jessica did make use of that plane ticket during a break from filming and has not lost sight of her American plans.

"I have a green card so I have to keep going back to the States to maintain it," she says, adding she has no regrets about the way things have turned out.

"Home And Away has been so much fun and I've made some of the best friends ever on the show.

"Me and Tai Hara (who plays Andy Barrett) and his girlfriend and my boyfriend are all going to Thailand for our mid-year break, like a double-date trip," Jessica says.

"That's been the best part and I've had great storylines as well. You should wait and see what's coming up. It's so exciting. I can't wait for you to see it."

Home And Away
TV2
Weeknights, 6.30pm

-TV Guide

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