Jess Impiazzi opens up on Hollywood career and overcoming PTSD after her mum went blind and nephew tragically died under her care

She made her name on some of our favourite shows, but Jess Impiazzi has binned off her career in reality TV in favour of taking on a number of acting roles. The former Ex On The Beach star has acted in movies like The Tombs, The Seven and RIA, and has spent plenty of time in Hollywood.

When new magazine catch up with Jess, speaking from her north London home, she reveals she’s not had an easy ride to success. The former glamour model has dealt with her mum becoming blind when she was a teenager, an eating disorder, domestic violence in her childhood home and the death of her 13-month-old nephew to meningitis and septicemia.

But the 31-year-old, who appeared in Celebrity Big Brother in 2018 alongside Ashley James and Amanda Barrie, might have finally found her happy ending, as she tells all about her romance with footballer Samir Carruthers, a midfielder at Cambridge United, following her break-up with husband Denny Solomona in 2018.

Here, Jess talks finding love again, writing children’s books and why she’s not in a rush to head back to Tinsel Town…

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So Jess, how are you finding the acting world?

When I left theatre school at 17, I lost myself, but now I’ve come back to it I’ve found it quite easy. At the beginning, I really doubted myself and would be crap at my jobs because I had no confidence. But the more classes I went to, it opened me up again and I feel much stronger. I’m better with my auditions and getting bigger parts. A lot of it was from when I left acting at a young age and had terrible things happen. I lost my confidence – but I’ve got it back.

What happened?

I left Italia Conti theatre school because my mum went blind and then my nephew died when I was looking after him. I lost my way with acting and then, after doing the glamour modelling, I thought, “No one will want me.” And it just knocked me for six.

I thought that’s all I was worth and that’s a mindset I needed to get out of. It took me 30 years, but I’m here.

You’ve been through so much including an eating disorder as a teenager. Have you ever had therapy?

Yeah, I think everyone should go to therapy. When I found out I had PTSD and had the tools to overcome it, I realised that if I hadn’t I’d probably still live in this terrified state all the time. What I didn’t realise is because I had PTSD I was prone to depression and would get highs and lows. Having the tools to deal with it is how you overcome these things and thankfully for me I’m on the other side.

What caused your PTSD?

From a young age I had to deal with a lot of domestic violence, then my nephew died and my mum went blind. It was one thing after the other. It was a big build-up of all of that together.

How was making the transition from reality TV to acting?

I always knew it would be a double struggle, because I’ve got to make people realise that I’m not just like, “I like this fame – I’m going to jump on something else.” When I first started doing reality stuff and behaving like an idiot coming out of clubs, I was putting on a persona of what I thought I was supposed to do. I lost myself a bit. In CBB Amanda Barrie said, “Believe in yourself – go back out there and do it.” And the minute I left I got a film, so I thought, “OK, I’ve got to take this seriously.”

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You’ve also been out in LA. How did you find it out there ?

I went over there about the time of my divorce to film a movie and I got the lead role in it. It was divine timing that it took my mind off the divorce stuff – I went off to do something I absolutely loved. I stayed out there for a while because I started dating someone who was in the film with me, but it wasn’t right for me. I was running away. I love LA when I’m working, but I don’t when I’m not. Hollywood can still be a bit… Harvey Weinstein-ish.

Have you ever had a #MeToo experience?

This is so minor compared to what other people have had, but an agent came over to me and said I had a great look and gave me his card. We were going to meet up for coffee, but I got a message which said, “Would the girl with the beautiful eyes like to come to dinner with me?” I said, “No, you’re good.” People think they can get away with it.

I thought I was safer back in England. My agent over here now has representation for me in both countries and if they like your audition tape they fly you over.

Fingers crossed they do!Has your divorce with Denny been finalised?

Yeah, that’s all done. Everything happened for a reason and I’m happy that it turned out how it has. We have both met someone new. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and my life is fantastic now.

So you’re now loved-up with Samir. Would you get married again?

Definitely. I feel like I didn’t do it properly last time. I didn’t have a hen do, I didn’t have anyone there. It was in Las Vegas and it was two young people being a bit reckless. I think it was a practice one. I’m looking forward to having an actual wedding where I’ve got my whole family and friends there.

Has Samir made you believe in love again?

I’ve always believed in it. I got a bit wary after the divorce, but I’ve met other people since Denny and I fell in love again. There are so many special people in the world, you’re going to fall in love with one of them.

You’ve done well in the industry so far, but would you ever take a different type of job to support yourself while auditioning?

I’m doing a lot of writing at the minute. I started writing my own children’s book to have a bit of a side hustle and then it got picked up. I was gobsmacked.

We can do anything in this world and you’ve got to believe and put the work in the right direction. When I took a step away from things and re-evaluated my life I put myself on a path I’m really enjoying. I’m really happy.

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