Jessie Wallace (Karen Jane Wallace)
BiographyEnfield, London, England, UK
Jessie grew up in Enfield, in north London, and -- after her parents divorced when she was three -- she and her older sister, Joanne, were brought up by their father, James, who now runs a pub in Essex. Just as Kat's grandmother, Mo, presides over the Slater family in EastEnders (1985), Jessie's late grandmother -- also called Jessie -- was a huge influence on her life and a maternal figure as she was growing up. Jessie lost her nan seven years ago, and both parents have now remarried. Her mother, Annette, has a third daughter, Danielle. Read more... was 15 and flitted from one job to another before moving to Portugal for seven months when she was 21 to work in a string of bars. On her return she decided to train as a professional make-up artist. She complete a two-year course at the College of East London and got a job with the Royal Shakespeare Company. But on her first day in the job she realised she'd much rather be on the stage than behind the scenes. After that day Jessie started secretly auditioning for acting courses. She got a recall from RADA, but didn't get in. She was accepted at the Poor School on the two-year course. It was during the evening so people could work during the day but as her job was evening work she had to quit. To get some money during the day she starting doing wig making. Soon after completing her course at the Poor School, Jessie got an audition for a small part in EastEnders (1985). Although she didn't get it, producers instantly thought of her for the new Slater family and gave her the part of Kat. She now lives in Epping in a flat (spookily it's Number 23 -- the same number as Kat's house in Albert Square). For now the only male in her life is her shih-tzu, Bailey, with whom she shares her new flat.