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Actor, Cameo & Crew Profiles > Actor Profiles > Jessica Muschamp

Jessica Muschamp
Played: Sharon Davies
Appeared: 1988-1990, 2022, 2023

Actor, Director, Writer and Producer, Jessica Muschamp was born in Melbourne. She has dual Australian and British citizenship, as her father is British. Her first professional acting work was on Dusty the Series.

Jessica got her big break, for which she is still recognised, in 1988, on Neighbours as Sharon Davies, younger sister of Bronwyn, played by Rachel Friend. Jessica remained on the show for two years. Sharon had a busy time on Ramsay Street, famously accidentally setting fire to the Coffee Shop and getting involved in a love triangle with Nick Page and Lucy Robinson, amongst other things. Jessica auditioned for the role of Sharon while she was studying for her VCE and never expected to get the part. She went for her French exam in the morning and to her audition in the afternoon. Although the character was only meant to make a brief appearance, she proved so popular, she was quickly promoted to a series regular. Jessica continued to study for her VCE while on set, and she arrived for her orientation the day of Kylie Minogue’s leaving party, which proved to be rather awkward for her!

A particularly difficult story that the show appears to regret now, was a weight loss/eating disorder storyline. Mark Callan, Neighbours producer at the time, admitted to The Age that they were unsure if they ought to go ahead and that the way they handled things felt ‘cruel’, although they admired the way that Jessica carried herself through the plot. Jessica herself revealed in an interview with Perfect Blend that she had previously had an eating disorder so when the show had asked her to lose weight and it developed it into an eating disorder plot, she had found it very difficult. She says now, “There's a lot of improvements that Neighbours has made in the last few years about diversity and about, you know, including people and about being a snapshot of real life rather than trying to airbrush everyone into being bikini models. So that's nice. That's a good improvement. Well done to the producers. Currently, it's a breath of fresh air, really.”

Another tricky storyline for Jessica was when Sharon and Nick ran away together and ended up on a battery farm. As a vegetarian and animal rights activist, Jessica was a very uncomfortable around mistreated animals.

1990 saw a ‘cast exodus’ and Sharon was written out of the show. Jessica was very disappointed to leave Neighbours but it was felt that with Sharon’s sister, Bronwyn and Bronwyn’s boyfriend, Henry having moved to New Zealand, and with no other family left in Erinsborough, Sharon had come to her natural conclusion. She talks of head shots of different characters lined up above the mirrors being turned upside down as people left and dreading the day it was her turn. Jessica struggled for work, post-Neighbours, as her character had been so popular and larger than life. She opted to move to the UK, where she did a lot of local theatre work, including Oliver and panto. She then went to drama school in London to really learn her craft.

Over the years, she openly admits that she had a bad run of luck with dodgy agents, which limited her ability to get acting work. In the nineties, she appeared in Breaking News, an episode of Frontline and in the TV Movies Jim’s Gift, The Ripper and Witch Hunt. Then in 2002, Jessica wrote and directed the short film, Tram Stop. In 2004, she appeared in both an episode of Blue Heelers and an episode of Fergus McPhail. During this time, Jessica went to university and studied for a Creative Arts Degree. She then went on to study Creative Writing, Media and Theatre before becoming a drama teacher. She is also a single mother to three daughters.

When it was announced that Neighbours would be ending in 2022, Jessica contacted Series Producer, Jason Herbison, as she was so sad about it, and she was keen to film some kind of cameo, however small. She was told it wouldn’t be possible but was invited to come to set and say goodbye. It was on set that she was told they had been trying to contact her to request a cameo after all, as part of a series of congratulations messages for Toadie and Melanie on their wedding day. They didn’t have many people who knew Mel back in the day but of course, Mel and Sharon had been friends, so Jessica filmed a short piece, that was edited down and included in what was believed to be the final episode.

In 2023, Jessica returned in a guest role to the revival of Neighbours, after it was saved by Amazon Freevee, appearing in three episodes.

Profile by Tess