“Not for a moment did I think it would take off the way it has and it fills my heart with joy that it has resonated with so many women,” Jess tells Who exclusively. “I’m such a believer in lifting each other up and connecting, sharing our experiences, but feeling enough, because too often we put ourselves down."
The former Studio 10 presenter adds, “We listen to that negative voice saying ‘that’s not good enough’ and ‘you’re not this and you’re not that’ and we need to shut that down and actually go, you know what, I am enough. It’s OK if I’ve got a messy kitchen, or I’m not a great cook, or I have toast for dinner every now and then, that’s ok because there are plenty of other things that you are good enough at. No one is perfect, let’s celebrate our imperfection".
Jess goes on to stress that it’s all about “not taking yourself too seriously” in the kitchen.
“I know, for me, laughing and being silly helps me enormously and often we don’t do that enough. So that’s also what’s so fun about Crap Housewife. It’s silly. It can be silly.”
And the journalist brings the same “fun and silly” mentality into all aspects of her health and wellbeing, including her exercise routine.
When it comes to working out, Jess is all for doing “something you enjoy” rather than sticking to a rigid regime that you may grow to resent. What works for the presenter is Pilates.
“I normally make it once a week, but I try and do it twice. And that’s what I love.” Jess tells us. “I think generally with exercise it’s the same, you go for something you enjoy doing because if you enjoy doing it, you’ll keep going back to it. There’s no point spending a fortune on a gym membership or the latest exercise fad if you hate it. It’s a waste of your time and money.”
The mum-of-two goes on to explain what it is about Pilates that makes it her exercise of choice, stating, “I love the stretch that it gives my body, I love feeling strong, I also go with my best friend and we just laugh and we’ll catch up for a coffee afterwards. So all of those things make me want to go, and my head always feels better afterwards too”.
This emphasis on “feeling strong” over getting bogged down in aesthetics is something Jess strives to teach her young daughters – Allegra, 14, and Giselle, 12 – whom she shares with her husband, journalist Peter Overton.
The presenter explains that she has always celebrated what her body can do rather than what it looks like, telling Who, “I’ve never had that mindset and so I never talk to my girls in that way”.
Jess continues, “I talk to them about being strong and powerful and having strong and powerful bodies. I’ve never been on a diet, I never will be on a diet, it’s not in our vocabulary, so I’m very aware of that and I kind of celebrate my body.
“As my daughter says: ‘Mum, your bottom’s bigger than Kim Kardashian’ and I’ll say, ‘Well, I’m proud of it! My body gave birth to you and if I’ve got a bigger bottom since I’ve had you that’s got to be a good thing!'”
And it’s not just physical health and wellbeing that Jess is passionate about, the journalist is also a Member of the Order of Australia for her mental health advocacy, constantly emphasising the importance of keeping your mind in check.
“If you’re not OK you can’t look after anyone else,” Jess says simply. “I think, especially women, we’re so busy looking after everyone else we can forget about ourselves and it’s so important to check in.”
The advocate goes on to discuss her own mental health journey. “I know with myself I had post-natal depression after the birth of both of my daughters,” Jess says. “I got help, I went on antidepressants, since then I’ve had episodes of anxiety and depression and I’ll go back on my medication.
“I’m still a work in progress and I think, for all of us, it’s important that you’re open to that. There’s no shame in going to see your GP, getting a mental health plan, talking to an expert. I still take antidepressants and I’ve got no shame in telling people that because it helps me. I want to be my best self and that helps me do that.”
Of course, finding a way to keep both our physical and mental health in check is no easy feat in an increasingly time poor society. But Jess has shared her own tips and tricks on how to alleviate some of the pressure involved in keeping healthy.
“Some days you are super busy; you know if you’ve got kids, depending on what’s happening with their lives, you don’t have that much time,” Jess acknowledges, “so you look for the shortcuts, you look for the things that are simple and easy.
“For me, working with Meat and Livestock Australia has been wonderful. This is the third year I’ve been with them and I’ve learnt so much from their butchers.”
Jess goes on to reveal that she can now cook a steak, spag bowl, Mexican mince and more. Oh, and she no longer burns sausages after her butcher taught her the ‘low and slow’ method.
“I’m all for looking for those shortcuts, things to make life easy, and that is what our local butchers do. They’ve got amazing ready-made meals, many of them that you either just have to heat up in a pan or in the oven; they’ve got beautiful, marinated meats that you can use.
“Do yourself a favour by talking to your butcher. If they can make an impact on my cooking, they can make an impact on your cooking.”