Jess Knight: Getting to know a young woman with star quality

Jess Knight is sitting at a desk with a computer monitor in front of her. She is smiling for the camera

If you’re living in Western Australia, you might look at the photo at the top of this page and recognise this smiling young woman as someone who’s graced your television screen.

Please meet Jess Knight – not only does she appear in our television commercial, but she’s also a Forrest Personnel participant who works at our Bunbury office as an Administration Officer. Jess is often the first person people meet when they arrive at 14 Strickland Street or call the 1800 number.

We were keen to find out more about this affable young woman. Why does she resonate with so many people, and why did we think she would respond to lights, camera, action?

Words from the director

We contacted our television commercial director, Ross Tinney, to get us started. He reminded us that the project was a tricky one. He was tasked with filming two commercials in one day, involving numerous setups and 10 actors all of whom had never acted in front of a camera before. Ross said that success was always going to rely on them being professional, listening to instructions and delivering consistent performances.

Ross reflected that: “Jess was one such talent, and I have to say that she was a stand-out in her role. She was easy to communicate with, calmly took instructions and was in no way over-awed by the camera, lights and crew. Most of all, she embraced the pace of the shoot and was quick to reset between each take. The hallmarks of a true professional.” Director Ross rounded things off with “Thank you Jess. You were a star.”

Jess Knight is sitting on a chair and is holding clothes on hangers in front of her

Jess Knight making clothing choices in advance of the television commercial shoot

The day to day

Along with hearing about Jess’ stellar performance on set, we witness her in action every day of the week. She’s articulate, conscientious, personable, and thoroughly committed to doing her best.

In conversation with Jess, we asked about her interests. She was very forthcoming and told us that she’s a caring person (no surprises there), and that her passions include her dog (golden retriever Jasper) and gaming.

Now dogs, and pets in general, are something that most people get. However, gaming is not an activity that we at Forrest Personnel know much about. After all, we’re not often looking for jobs for gamers, and employers to match in the locations in which we operate are thin on the ground.

What the research says

Jess Knight is clearly onto something. A quick online search yields plenty about the benefits of gaming. There’s “Video gaming can benefit mental health, find Oxford academics” and “Seven reasons why grown ups should play more video games.”

We then formulated a carefully considered question about gaming and shopped it around: “What are the qualities that make a good gamer?”

We were surprised by the general response: Anyone can game. There are no qualities that make good gamers. It’s open to everyone.

Now, this is something we understood! Gaming is inclusive and suitable for anyone.

Jess on the notion of practice

If anyone can game, then gaming surely improves with practice. And, by all accounts, Jess is a good gamer. We were keen to know if the notion of practice is something that resonates with Jess.

“Definitely,” she told us. “In fact, my initial goal in life was to become a chef. I cooked with my grandfather and learnt a lot from him. I then developed carpel tunnel syndrome as a result of all the repetitive motion associated with cooking. I had to shift gears in terms of my work.”

Embrace it

So, there we have it: a star in our midst, with a talent and passion for cooking that was derailed by injury, and the skill of a gamer that developed as a result of her dedication and practice.

There’s definitely a vibe about Jess Knight. Despite her setbacks, it’s possible to move forward in life and excel at activities you’re passionate about. It’s just a question of finding your groove, mixing in some quality ingredients – a commitment to doing your best while being affable, perhaps – and as director Ross says: “embracing the pace.”

Feature photo: Jess Knight on set as directed by Ross Tinney, December 2020. Photo by Simon Westlake.

Forrest Personnel is a local charity. We specialise in supporting people with health conditions, injuries and disabilities to find and keep jobs.

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