Jessica-Jane Clement is well-known for her role as the ‘sexy swindler’ in The Real Hustle on BBC3, where for the past 7 years she has carried out a variety of pseudo-scams showing viewers how the general public can be scammed and hustled. Most recently readers will have seen Jessica-Jane take on a new challenge entering 'I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' where she became a firm favourite in the camp and with the viewers at home.
K9 Magazine caught up with Jessica-Jane to talk about two of the big loves in her life (the third being her fiancé Lee Stafford), her beloved dogs, Knickers and Pants.
Tell us about your dogs - we'd like to know everything about them!
I have two Coton de Tulear dogs called Knickers and Pants. Knickers is a girl and she's just over 1 year and 4 months old. Pants is a boy and he's 1 year old.
They're very close in age and are from the same breeder in Doncaster so they have the same dad, but a different mum. Lee lovingly calls them council estate dogs. When we decided to get a dog we didn't know where to start to be honest.
Photography by Tony Blake/Flat One Photography
We had no idea at the time about what breeds might fit in best, I'd grown up with cats and although my mum has a Chihuahua now, we knew we wanted a different breed.
So we started researching online and found a website which gave marks out of 10 for everything from exercise, to size, to grooming – everything you needed to know really. We narrowed it down to 7 possible breeds so we printed all of the details off and we read through everything.
We eventually decided on Cotons because they're brilliant around people and children, they don't shed and they don't need a huge amount of exercise which was something we had to consider because we live in a flat in Soho.
Once we'd decided on Cotons we started researching possible breeders and that's how we found Knickers and Pants breeder. We didn't have Knickers that long before we decided to get her a playmate, although we always made sure our schedules meant she was rarely left on her own and she came to work with me fairly regularly. In fact, I'm sure she's got me work as she breaks the ice when she comes along to meetings . She loves to play and she'd be playing with her ball on her own in the flat and we thought wouldn't it be nice for her to have a playmate and so that's when we got Pants.
They have unusual names. How did you choose them?
That's a funny story. We were at a friends house one day and she has lots of dogs and fields with horses. We were outside one day and her daughter kept shouting 'Pants' so I asked my friend why she was shouting pants and she told me that it was the name of one of her dogs. Lee and I thought it was brilliant and we said when we got a dog we'd call our dog Pants but then we thought that's not really a girls name so we went with Knickers being more girly, then when we got our little boy we called him Pants – we call them our full lingerie set!
When did your interest in pets/animals begin and how long have you been a pet owner?
Well I grew up around cats, we had two called Suzy and Sally, in fact we still have cats at home now. Our cats were always really independent and liked going out and where we live in Soho it's not really an option. I did read about indoor cats but in all honesty I thought if I were a cat I'd want to be able to go outside and explore.
I've always loved dogs so although I'd always been around cats, I wanted a pet I could train and look after. To be honest, I was getting broody at the time aswell and I tend to work from home quite a lot and I wanted a companion.
Whenever we're away from them I worry that they're okay and happy so I think now though if the love I feel for Knickers and Pants is 1% of what it feels like to have a child, I'd worry all the time.
They bring so much to my life, just the fun and love they give. I never used to sleep when Lee was away with work but Knickers and Pants will just lie on the bed and I fee more relaxed knowing they're there for me – although they bark at anything and everything like the washing machine if it's just finished a cycle.
That said they're such friendly dogs if anyone did ever break in they'd probably just lick their feet.
You've had a really varied career to date, from presenting on The Real Hustle, to your modelling work, to acting on shows such as Dream Team and appearing in music videos. What do you love most about the variety?
I really liked the routine with Dream Team. I was sort of the head WAG on the show so I'd always be very done up. Working with the same people you really built a connection and could have some great conversations and banter between everyone. I owe a lot to the show really. It was my drama school really because I enrolled in one but ended up not going because I got both the Dream Team job and The Real Hustle job at the same time.
I never got to study acting, my learning came on screen really and there's pros and cons to that I suppose. Looking back I noticed I had a really bad habit when I was starting out of shaking my head, even if I was saying yes, I'd still be shaking my head and I think why did no one tell me!
Acting is amazing because you get to be someone else and I've got a few things lined up for this year which I'm really excited about.
Modelling is great because you get to look good and of course there's the airbrushing but I know I won't to do that all of my life.
I love presenting aswell, I think The Real Hustle is sort of a zombie show, it keeps going and going. I really loved working on the show aswell. Actually going out and doing the physical scam was my favourite part but I could be me on it. I wasn't playing a role so I think people could tell more about who I was.
I presented a show last year for BBC Three called 'Skin Deep: The Business Of Beauty' which was something I loved doing. I was involved in everything from the production meetings to set out the show and what it would cover, to getting out there and presenting and it was a completely different buzz but I'd love to do more like that but I really love variety, so I don't think I could pick just one thing to do.
What did you want to do when you were younger?
I always knew I wanted to be in TV. My dad has the biggest movie collection that I've ever seen, I honestly think it's got to be a Guinness World Record! My brother studied media and my mum was a dancer when she was younger.
I've always liked mimicking people, I think I do it under my breath even now if someone is talking to me I'm mimicking their accent, my friend picked me up on doing it years ago. Lee's quite easy to do being Cockney – pool, Paul, pull – they all sound the same!
Your job must give you the flexibility to choose what you do and where, is that important to you as far as Knickers and Pants are concerned and being able to take them to work with you?
The flexibility is definitely important, if I'm working from home then that's fine but if I need to reschedule to be able to make sure they're okay then I will.
I have sometimes taken them with me before – thinking about it, I did take my mum's Chihuahua, who actually went to the toilet on the floor, to my audition for Dream Team. I thought I'd ask for forgiveness rather than permission if need be – but Knickers and Pants have always been really good and well behaved. They can be real ice breakers.
In fact I remember taking Pants to a meeting I had with a producer when he was a puppy and I met the same lady recently and showed her a picture of Pants now and she thought it was a different dog because he was so different and his dark hair had grown out now he was older.
Last year you famously took part in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and before that Celebrity Scissorhands, where you met your fiance Lee. You seem to dive straight in and get involved in the show as people always hope celebrities will. What appealed to you about these shows in particular?
I'd been asked to take part in Celebrity Scissorhands the year before I actually did it. It's quite funny looking back on it now because I'd told my mum they'd asked me and she warned me not to do it because the guy in charge was nasty (laughs) – and now he's my fiance.
I'm really sensitive and hate being told off so I said no the first time they asked me. Then when they re-asked me I'd got the same period off in between The Real Hustle so I said yes and I think it was fate really.
I've always been interested in hair and beauty so I really enjoyed it. It was lovely to be able to hold something in your hands that you'd done and see the results, you don't get that with acting really. Looking back I'm really thankful I did it.
I'm A Celebrity it was a real challenge for me. I knew I would be away from my friends and family for 3 weeks without the chance of speaking to them. Lee and I haven't spent much time apart, I have a phobia of sleeping on my own and I speak to my mum every day. I always had the comfort of knowing Lee would be there waiting for me when I got out so it was just a way to challenge myself and see if I could do it.
Everyone there was really friendly and Dougie and I were quite similar personality wise. At the start I think all the loud campmates were just that, talking over each other and looking for the cameras almost. I think I cried for about 3 days and then the initial louder campmates seemed to calm down and all of us who had been quiet came out of our shells and could have fun.
Do you have a motto that you live your life by? What would you say Knickers and Pants mottos might be?
(Laughs) Good question! Pants would be 'if I can see it, I can eat it' and Knickers is a little princess so hers would probably be 'if I don't want to do something, I'll lie on my back and look cute'.
It's what she tends to do if she doesn't want to do something, like go to bed, she'll just lie on her back for you to rub her tummy.
Mine would probably be 'treat people like they're human and how you'd like to be treated yourself'. I remember working with someone once who really wasn't very nice and recently read something where she'd been asked a similar question herself, and in fact she answered similarly aswell and I just thought although that wasn't what I remember – she really wasn't very nice, maybe she's changed.
If you were to swap roles with Knickers and Pants for a day, how do you think they'd cope being you and what would you most love about being them?
Well Pants has more fun, Knickers is the more dominant of the two, but Pants eats so much and girls are always on a bit of a diet aren't they so that'd be nice. If Pants could he'd eat constantly every day.
I think he'd love to be me, he'd probably do the same as he does being Pants as he would being me. I think he'd like being able to go out when he wanted without having to ask. That all said when I got to be me again I'd be huge!
For this question, we ask our celebs to match up the following people’s personality to a breed of dog, for example, Winston Churchill = Bulldog or J.Lo = Afghan Hound, Frank Bruno = Boxer etc. If the follow celebrities were breeds of dogs, based on their personalities alone, what type of breed do you think they'd be...
Sinitta – Oh she'd be something really cute and teeny tiny, but something easily scared at the same time. Maybe a Chihuahua with beautiful long hair.
Lee Stafford – (Laughs) He'd be a big Greyhound because he's always busy and everyone always calls me Jessica Rabbit so he'd be a Greyhound because they chase rabbits and he's always running around after me.
Jessie J – I think she'd be a black Staffordshire Bull Terrier because she has glossy black hair and she likes the limelight.
Pat Sharp – (Laughs) Definitely something with floppy arms and ears, I think he'd be a Great Dane.
Sarah Jayne Dunn – She'd be a very beautiful, well groomed, long haired dog like you see running around the ring at a dog show.
If you were to compare Knickers and Pants to celebrities, who do you think they would be and why.
Knickers – She would have to be someone who's high maintenance, strong willed but lovable at the same time. I think she'd be Scarlett Johansson because she has a round face, gorgeous hair and she's very girly.
Pants – He would definitely be Jonathan Ross. Pants is very funny and lovable, he likes to hold court and it doesn't take him long to get over things.
Describe the last time you laughed outloud because of something you saw Knickers and Pants do.
(Laughs) They always make me laugh but today we were walking along and Pants went to cock his leg and wee and he did a bit on Knickers' head because she was walking alongside him. She hadn't noticed at all!
Pants is always doing funny things though, he lies in the most strange positions with his head falling off things, recently he went to sleep with his head in between the tyres on a bike. He does put it in some funny positions.
I also had to laugh when I was out walking with Knickers recently and she just randomly licked this woman's leg. She didn't know her, she didn't even look when she did it. It was just so funny. She's so damn cute.
What song or song lyrics, best reminds you of your dogs?
It has to be the Thong Song by Sisqó. I did once see a Roberto Cavalli leather thong for dogs when I was out shopping once.
If you had the choice to arrange a party, a night in or night out, taking three people (choosing from any era, past or present), who would you choose?
Well firstly I'd have to invite Marilyn Monroe because I think she's fascinating. I just watched 'My Week With Marilyn' and I learnt so much about her. Maybe a bit of a cliché to invite her but I think she'd be really interesting.
Secondly I'd have to invite Bette Midler, I've loved her since I was young and I think she's brilliant and so funny. Thirdly I'd have to have a bit of eye candy so I'd invite Mark Wahlberg.
If you could sum it up, what do you think is the best thing about being a dog owner?
I think it's the love you get, just the joy of having them around. You realise that not everything is about you and it brings out a different side to you where you have to feed them, take care of them, anything and everything they need is down to you.
Cotons are known as little clown dogs and it's so true because Knickers and Pants are so funny. They walk around on their hind legs and they pick so much up that you can teach them to do so many tricks.
We've lived in Soho for 4 years and we've met so many more people in the year or so since we've had Knickers and Pants.
Finish the following sentence, my dogs are... little clown dogs!
And finally, this is always a tough question and often requires a fair degree of thinking time but….If Knickers and Pants had the ability to speak and answer one question and one question only, what would you ask them and what do you think that they would say?
I do think they try and communicate with me all the time. I think if I could ask them anything I'd ask Pants 'are you ever full up or would you just eat and eat and eat?' and I think he'd say he'd eat and eat and eat.
I think I'd ask Knickers 'are you happy having shorter hair than Pants?'. We have to keep her groomed shorter because her hair knots up so much more than Pants so she has a lovely pink diamante collar to make her look more girly. And I think she'd say that she likes it because she looks like a puppy but would like it a little longer if possible.
Many Thanks Jessica-Jane!
Jessica-Jane Clement Was Speaking With Kim O'Meara