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Exclusive: Jodi Gordon on Neighbours, Motherhood, and Family

"It feels like I’m finally exactly where I am supposed to be.”
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With her red gown billowing around her as she perches on the top edge of a spiral staircase, Jodi Gordon looks at the camera and breaks into the beaming smile she is famous for as she joins WHO for our exclusive photoshoot and interview to celebrate her return to Ramsay Street.

After a quick change into a black broderie dress, she steps outside on the balcony to join the team for the next shot on a very windy spring day. A huge gust almost leads to her very own Marilyn moment, eliciting an infectious fit of giggles from the actress, who radiates joy.

WATCH: Jodi Gordon WHO Shoot. Article continues after video. 

“Days like this remind me of being a teen model and doing shoots for Dolly and Girlfriend,” the 38-year-old reminisces. “It’s so fun to look back on those days because it was all very glamorous and extremely different to what my day-to-day life looks like now.”

Gordon had an early start in show business, winning a modelling competition and contract at just 13. She’s been a staple on our screens now for almost two decades, making her debut as tomboy Martha MacKenzie on Home and Away, a role that saw her pick up the Most Popular New Female Talent award at the TV Week Logies in 2006.

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Jodi is making her long-awaited return to Ramsay Street. (Credit: Supplied)

Since 2016, she has had a recurring role playing the much-loved Elly Conway on Neighbours.

After the Network 10 soap’s epic July 2022 finale, which attracted the likes of Kylie Minogue and Guy Pearce, and its subsequent surprise September return, Gordon has returned as Elly alongside co-star April Rose Pengilly, who plays her on-screen love interest Chloe Brennan.

But after ‘Chelly’, as their fans call the couple, finally got their happy ending, reconciling and making plans for a new life together in Sydney, will viewers be happy they’re back for more drama?

“I felt there was further to go with their story,” Gordon explains. “With the delicate nature of how their love has evolved, when I got the call, I felt there was so much more to unpack so it was a no-brainer to me to come back and explore that.”

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“It’s so fun to look back on those days.” (Credit: Supplied)

As a regular back on TV, it would be easy to assume that Gordon’s days are an endless swirl of sitting in hair and makeup, and trying on the latest fashions in-between takes. She paints a very different picture, however, of her life as a single mum to her 9-year-old daughter, Aleeia, whom she shares with ex-husband Braith Anasta.

“You’ll usually find me in jeans,” Gordon admits. “On the weekends is when I have Aleeia. So we’re mostly catching up with friends and family, doing groceries, taking the dogs for a walk, all very normal stuff.”

When Neighbours ended, Gordon didn’t sit about pining and made some massive changes in her life. After some very public ups and downs, she looked for a positive way to use her experiences of struggling with addiction and mental health issues to help others.

Trading in one type of screen for another, Gordon went back to full-time study at the start of the year and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree majoring in counselling and communication. She also recently started a telehealth position at SANE Australia, an organisation that helps people with complex mental health issues and their support networks.

“It’s something that I have been thinking about for at least five years, how my challenges could help others, and I’m so passionate about ending the stigma surrounding mental health that now I can’t believe I waited so long,” she says.

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(Credit: Supplied)

“It feels so right but it’s also been a massive challenge. Aleeia makes it all worthwhile though. When I show her that I got a good mark, she gives me a hug and a kiss on the forehead and says, ‘I’m so proud of you, Mummy.’”

With juggling study, multiple jobs and motherhood, there is no doubt that Gordon has a lot on her plate. And while she doesn’t have much free time, working on assessments late into the night, she knows it’s essential to carve out part of each day to take care of herself.

“I have some great community groups and friends I can rely on. It’s important to have a good base of support,” she explains. “Then it’s a combination of things like making sure I’m eating enough vegetables and drinking enough water, doing daily meditation, getting out for a walk and putting one of my favourite podcasts on. It’s the little things, when done consistently, that really add up to big results.”

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“It feels like I’m finally exactly where I am supposed to be.” (Credit: Supplied)

While she sounds like she’s got it all together, Gordon is the first to admit that she’s still figuring things out as she goes.

“I’m very much a work in progress,” she says. “I’ll always be a person who wants to learn and grow, find out new things about myself and be a better version for myself and my loved ones.”

Gordon has been acting since she was 19. And while she still loves it and is very open to staying on Neighbours or taking on new roles, she is also incredibly committed to the new career path that is opening up before her.

“I’m really focused on the future and the direction my life is taking me in,” she explains. “I’m very happy and there are so many wonderful things to come. It feels like I’m finally exactly where I am supposed to be.”

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