Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: Why Jessica Mauboy is finally ready to show Australia the “real her”

The star is ready to reintroduce herself to the nation.
Loading the player...

Jessica Mauboy has come a long way from the shy 16-year-old auditioning for Australian Idol in 2006.

She started out singing in front of the judges from her home in Darwin, the red dirt kicking up around her as she blew them away with her talent.

The schoolgirl had no idea back then that the show would catapult her to stardom and change her life forever.

“I think this is probably the most that Australia has ever seen me”

(Credit: Channel Seven)

Now, 15 years on from her debut, Jess is ready to use her unique experience in the music industry to help blossoming talent find their feet as a coach on The Voice Australia.

And this time, she’s excited for the country to really get to know her as the woman she is now.

“I think this is probably the most that Australia has ever seen me,” Jess, 31, tells TV WEEK.

“This is something that’s very, very new to me, but also very real.”

After finishing runner-up on the fourth season of Australian Idol in 2006, Jess has had an illustrious career, winning awards and touring the world with some of the biggest names in the industry, including US superstar Beyoncé.

Loading the player...

When she was asked to become a coach on The Voice, she couldn’t help but reflect on her own career.

“It took me back to when I was 16 and stepping into this beast of a world that was very unknown,” Jess reflects.

“I didn’t have a coach going through Idol. It was definitely a development stage for me and I remember working really hard.”

While she’s never done anything like this before, Jess is excited to be the mentor she wishes she’d had when she was young.

“The beauty of becoming a coach is also becoming a teacher, leader and a friend,” she says.

“I look at The Voice and think, ‘Wow, what a beautiful team and incredible support network.’ I want to be that, because I didn’t get that when I was on a show like this.”

Chatting to Jess over the phone while she’s in Sydney’s latest COVID lockdown, her excitement about The Voice is infectious.

And though viewing parties for the show’s premiere might be out of the question, Jess isn’t letting the restrictions dampen her spirit.

“When we were filming, we were lucky that everything was smooth sailing,” the singer says.

“Even if we have to have little parties on Zoom, I have a great family team rooting for me in Darwin, and my partner’s family can’t wait to watch it too.”

Living in Sydney with fiancé Themeli Magripilis, Jess admits the restrictions have put many of her plans on hold, including her wedding.

Jess and Themeli got engaged in Greece in 2019.

(Credit: Instagram)

After getting engaged during a romantic holiday in Greece in October 2019, Jess was hoping to finally tie the knot with her partner of more than 10 years.

With wedding plans on ice, the couple have been laying low in lockdown, enjoying spending time together with their Spoodle puppy, 10-month-old Leo.

“Leo has been great company,” Jess enthuses. “He’s been such a blessing and my little buddy through the whole COVID situation.

“I tell you, he just gets it – he knows when you’re feeling down and cheers you right up.”

Amid the excitement of being on The Voice, the star admits there’s to a niggling nervousness as the premiere approaches.

“I’m laughing about it now, because I’m preparing myself for what I look like and how I come across,” Jess says.

“But that was the beauty of it. I ended up not caring about me and giving all my attention to who was in front of me.”

“You have to completely embrace the moment. I realised that, for me, it was about saying less and hearing the artists completely.”

Related stories