kelley abbey



e street
Kelley played Jo Jo on the hit Aussie soapie E Street first in 1990, then returned to the role from 1992-94.

kelley says

I was so nervous the day I started E Street that I was nearly vomiting.

I had never really opened my mouth before as a straight actor and I was also playing a singer in the show. My career has always been a result of a course of accidents. I never really planned to be a Television actor, it just happened.

I spent 2 years playing Jo Jo. It was the best acting school I could ever have gone to. I learnt alot about cameras which helped me in the music video choreography and direction work that was about to take off for me.

While I did E Street I didn't dance for the first time in these 2 years. It helped me renew my passion for dance as it was a little burnt out after the gruelling touring I had done with David's shows.

As I was filming E Street I started choreographing the band Girlfriend who had landed a deal with BMG. This was when I started working with Pop acts.

E Street was an invaluable experience for me working with great actors like Marcus Graham, Alyssa Jane Cook, Vic Rooney, Maryanne Howard, and Toni Pearon.

I had an absolute ball and got my first taste of being recognized as I walked down the street. I was starting to miss one thing...............dancing!

Kelley as 'Jo Jo'



Kelley's on right track in E Street

Kelley Abbey widens her eyes and shakes her head in amazement when she recalls the rashness of her teenage years. The Inala lass left home at 17 with a couple of suitcases and a girlfriend to board a train for 'the big smoke' of Sydney. Her dream was to persue a dancing career, and Sydney offered far more opportunities than her home town of Brisbane. "During that first year, I was re-packed and ready to go home at least nine times. I hated it," Kelley, now 25, laughs. "I really can't believe I did it now."
Kelley certainly landed on her feet, teaming up with diminutive dance whiz David Atkins and hoofing it in two of his acclaimed stage shows, Dancin' Man and Dynamite.
She taught a David's Dynamite Dance Studios in Sydney until acting commitments overwhelmed her daily schedule and demanded a career choice.
For Kelley has discovered that producing two hours of television a week with E Street is just as exhausting as hot footing it to fame in the dance arena.
And her character, Jo Jo, is now a favourite with audiences for her sassy approach to life.
"Jo Jo's a really aggressive character and so upfront, which isn't me at all," Kelley says.
"E Street is such a full-time thing, although it has given me a public image which dance has never done."

Kelley's gym and tonic!

Before Kelley Abbey met Marcus Graham, she had been just experimenting. But it wasn't until the troubled-looking Marcus, with his brooding eyes and toned body, came along that Kelley got serious and hired her own personal trainer, Glenn Kirk.
"Now I'm a gym junkie," Kelley laughs. "I get to the gym six or seven times a week and, if I can't make it, I either spend the time skipping at home, or swimming."
Until recently, Kelley, who plays Jo Jo in Network Ten's E Street, was primarily a dancer and choreographer. She began dancing at four and, by the age of 12, was part of a classical dance company which toured England. "But by the time I was 17, I had had enough," Kelley admits. She then turned to the lucrative world of choreographing commercials. Kelley also appeared in David Atkins' stage productions Dancin' Man and Dynamite.
Two years ago she had a brief role in E Street and was invited to return late last year. It was then that she met Marcus, who plays Stanly Kovac in the series.
Having checked out the results of his work-outs, she decided to enlist the help of his trainer. "I decided to go with a trainer because you can pick up new techniques and it allows for more fine-tuning," she explains.
Woman's Day - January 1992

Not just a song and dance girl

Kelley Abbey suffers from artistic overflow. Besides her role as barmaid Jo Jo in the Ten soap E Street, Abbey is an accomplished singer and dancer. But she is no believer in the catchcry 'Jack of all trades, master of none'. "People say I should chose one field and give that 100 per cent effort. I want all three fields and I want to do them well," she says.
Abbey has performed in TV variety shows and commercials as well as theatre. In light of this, she felt weird joining E Street in a straight role.
"I did the part (Jo Jo) two years ago and I was petrified. It was the first time I had to speak and stand still - not kick my legs in the air." But after that initial stint, Abbey went back to song and dance, craving a chance to return to Westside and acting. "I kept thinking about it while I was dancing. I got an agent and ended up on a pilot which combined everything. It was Hits and Memories with Glenn Shorrock."
This wasn't the catalyst for her return to acting but she got back to Westside anyway.
Abbey says Jo Jo is also involved in music but is frustrated to be pulling beers rather than touring in a band.
TV Extra - May 1992

Kelley Abbey

Born in Brisbane, Kelley was such a tomboy that her poor old mum swished her off to ballet to learn to wear a frock. Then she ended up teaching Girlfriend how to dance. She still loves dancing (but no she isn't a tomboy!)
"Having a job on E Street is hard work so I haven't actually danced myself for a long time. I'd done choreography before so I thought I'd keep in with it. I knew Girlfriend's producer from around the traps - from being a dancer and he sort of rang me one day and said would you like to choreograph this group I'm working with. And now I am responsible for everything they do! They're good girls and they sing too which is great. I've also
choreographed a play - it was called A Slice of Saturday Night and was on in Sydney earlier this year. It was a 60s musical, all Go Go dancing and false eyelashes. I sort of like to have something else to focus on. It's good to have a release for nervous energy."

What she thinks about weddings (well there's one happening this week so we thought we'd ask)
" I'm 26, and no I've never nearly got married - I'd like to one day. I'd always imagined that I would when I was around 30. I don't come from a big family - just my sister and me, she's married and pregnant at the moment. I was her bridesmaid. It was great. I walked down the aisle with my sister I looked at her and thought "oh I used to share a bath with this girl and she's grown up and getting married". I had a tear in my eye."

And especially Toni and CJ's wedding?
" Jo Jo didn't like the idea at first and actually took CJ aside and asked him if he realised that they were in love. It was nothing against them personally, it's just that Jo Jo was married for two weeks and then divorced so she has a bit of a problem with men."

Finally, what would she like to happen to Jo Jo?
" It's been really good being Jo Jo in the last year - we've seen more colour of her. In the beginning she was a tough cookie and really aggressive and having a go at everyone. We've seen that she does have a softer side, and I'd like to see more of that I guess. I'd like to see her in some sort of relationship or at least have a brush with one although I really don't know who with. Who knows?"
E-Street Magazine - Sept/Oct 1992

Did you know - Starfacts

FULL NAME: Kelley Abbey
BORN: 28.7.66, Brisbane
PETS: None
FAVE FOOD: Seafood
FAVE MOVIE: Dead Poet's Society
FAVE ACTOR: Robin Williams
FAVE BAND: Diesel (well, and his band)
IDEAL MAN: Warm, gentle, loving, sense of humour
HOBBIES: Painting and writing
ON SUNDAYS: I usually work on dance projects
E-Street Magazine - Sept/Oct 1992

Star recipe - Kelley's cosmic stir fry

Kelley Abbey, who plays E Street's streetwise barmaid JoJo, likes to stay fighting fit to survive her busy schedule. She says that a healthy diet is a sure fire way to give you the edge - low fat, high energy is the order of the day and Kelley's stir fry vegie supreme has the lot. It's also cheap and very easy to prepare. Check it out!

3 asparagus spears
2 Chinese cabbage leaves
snow peas
1/2 packet of natural almonds
1 pkt tempeh
2 medium sized onions
teryaki sauce
mixed herbs
olive oil
1/2 cup of brown rice
peppita seeds
sunflower seeds

Saute onions until clear, in olive oil.
Lightly brown tempeh cut into cubes.
Add vegetables with a couple of tablespoons of teryaki sauce.
Toss in almonds and lightly fry until colour of vegetables in enhanced.
Serve with boiled rice mixed with peppita seeds and sunflower seeds.
TV Week - March 1992

A problem solved

This month's celebrity Kelley Abbey.
Have you ever wished you could have a confidential chat with the star of your favourite soap about your problems? Or wondered what they'd do if they were in your situation?
Wish and wonder no longer.
September's guest-starring Agony Aunt is the brunette bombshell of E Street, Jo Jo.
On-screen she's a raging rock'n'roller who looks better in plain leotard and Levi's than anyone we know in the Western world. Off-screen, intimately and exclusive to Inside Soap, actress Kelley Abbey shows off her spiritual state of mind. Her honest answers to the dilemmas on Inside Soap readers reveal a New-Age gal.

Dear Kelley,
How do you know if a man is the right person to spend the rest of your life with? I've been with my boyfriend for a year and he's hassling me to get engaged. I'm fond of him but deep down it doesn't feel like he's The One. It doesn't help that all my friends are getting engaged.
Kerry, 27, Victoria.
Dear Kerry,
Don't get engaged if you don't want to. If deep down it doesn't feel as if he's the one to spend the rest of your life with - go with your heart's feelings. Don't be scared of having nobody. Happiness should lie within yourself.

Dear Kelley,
I'm hoping you can give me the women's point of view on this one. I met a woman at a party recently and was utterly bowled over by her. She seemed to feel the same and we went out for dinner and had a great time. When I dropped her off, she gave me a long passionate kiss and said to please call her. I did, and she's refusing to return my calls. I can hear her in the background telling her flatmates to say she's not there. What's going on?
Robert, 24, NSW
Dear Robert,
Well, without wanting to hurt your feelings, I would say the obvious in going on. She doesn't want the relationship to continue. Try not to take her change of mind personally. She could be in a state of being where a relationship with anyone is bad timing. Realise it is not meant to be and that there is a perfect partner out there for us all.

Dear Kelley,
My best girlfriend is so gorgeous she makes me look like Godzilla. I can cope with that as she's lots of fun, but lately she's been putting me down. I got a new haircut that everyone else liked but she said it looked disgusting. I lost some weight and she's saying I look anorexic. I even got a new boyfriend and she reckons I won't be able to keep him. What should I do?
Elaine, 21, Queensland
Dear Elaine,
Sounds to me like your girlfriend is jealous of the attention you're getting. Be honest. Tell her how you feel. Truth and understanding should arise from just communicating honestly with her. If not, maybe she's not your best girlfriend after all. Friends should be a support system for each other.

Dear Kelley,
I love my girlfriend so much I'd like to marry her, but she loves her cat more than me. If we're in bed together and the stupid cat yowls at the window she gets up to let him in. In the morning, I get to make my own cold muesli and the cat gets smoked chicken wings. She's always stroking it and saying it's her only friend. It's sick. The cat also hates me. I've got a terrible feeling that if I say either the cat goes or I do, she'll pick Felix.
Tom, 33, Victoria
Dear Tom,
Maybe your girlfriend has a very close relationship with her cat because she receives only unconditional love from him. At the moment, it sounds like she's receiving only conditional love from you... "I'll love you if you love me more - pay me more attention."
You should not try to change anyone. If you accept the cat and find forgiveness for the situation ... who knows? The time your girlfriend spends with Felix might dissipate and the cat may even get to like you!

Dear Kelley,
Since you're a gorgeous television actress I don't expect you to have this problem, but perhaps you know some theatrical tricks to overcome it. I am cripplingly shy. When I meet a man I'm attracted to, I can't even speak to him.
Lynn, 19, South Australia
Dear Lynn,
I think everybody goes through a shy stage in their life. I definately did. I don't think there's a theatrical trick to overcome it but self-confidence and open communication can come with the realisation that we are all equal. No-one is better than anyone else. There is no competition between individuals and ultimately we don't need anyone's approval. Believe in yourself and speak freely. The only way to practise is to get out there and do it.

Dear Kelley,
My best mate and I often go out together to pick up chicks. I am much better looking that him, but somehow he always seems to pull the chicks. Should I change my aftershave or do chicks just like uglier blokes?
Duncan, 22, NT
Dear Duncan,
There's no competition between individuality - just be comfortable with yourself and you'll be much more approachable to girls.
Inside Soap Magazine - 1992