EXCLUSIVE: Rowena Wallace’s desperate plea: ‘Will someone give me a damn job!’

Times are tough for one of Aussie TV's biggest names
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Once upon a time, Rowena Wallace was the undisputed queen of Australian TV. She dominated the box and became a beloved household name, starring in treasured shows such as Number 96, Cop Shop and, of course, Sons and Daughters, where she played the formidable Patricia Hamilton.

But it’s been nine long years since the showbiz icon last graced the small screen – and her new life of obscurity is proving to be a hard pill to swallow.

WATCH: Rowena Wallace opens up about hitting rock bottom after fame

These days, Rowena is out of work, cash-strapped and mourning the life she led before she decided to relocate to the sleepy coastal town of Wonthaggi in Victoria – which she says, in hindsight, took her out of the spotlight.

“I miss working incredibly!” Rowena, now 73, tells New Idea in her signature raspy tone. “I miss the whole spectrum of acting and what goes into it. I never had a job I didn’t like – I always had so much fun being on set.”

Rowena Wallace
“I miss working incredibly!” Rowena Wallace tells New Idea. (Credit: New Idea)

Like most people, 2020 unfortunately put Rowena’s career in further turmoil when her role in Opera Australia’s production of The Secret Garden fell over as a result of the unfolding pandemic. She explains this setback has been difficult to overcome.

But while Rowena’s work has dried up, her tenacity has not, telling New Idea she desperately hopes she can take on new work – if only someone would give her a call!

“I can take any role. I’ll do anything, so long as I don’t have to run,” she says, bursting into a loud cackle. “I’m very open to taking on new work, but moving away from Sydney and Melbourne was probably not a good idea. “Who’s going to send a bloody taxi for Rowena in Wonthaggi?”

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Rowena was once the queen of Aussie TV and graced many magazine covers. (Credit: New Idea)

But all hope is not lost for the star, who is open-minded about her future. Indeed, it’s not just a Sons and Daughters reboot she’s eyeing off – though Rowena confesses she would jump at the chance to play her famous villain, Pat the Rat, again. No, Rowena is open to all sorts of ideas.

“I think we need more roles for older women,” she proclaims. “I never forget my lines, I am quite capable!” But while the actress seems to be overlooked for TV dramas and scripted comedies, she admits she wouldn’t rule out taking on a reality show.

When asked if she would consider joining the upcoming celebrity editions of MasterChef or Big Brother, she says: “Work is work – I’m on the pension, I’ve got two dogs to feed, so I wouldn’t say no.”

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The bills are piling up for Rowena. (Credit: New Idea)

The seasoned professional says she would happily take a call from a casting director to reignite her career.

“I’m still here, you know. I’m alive!” she confidently shouts. “Look, if I happen to click in someone’s mind, I would be so happy to be considered for something.

“It would be better than winning the Powerball!” she says, laughing.

Over the years, Rowena has made no secret of her financial difficulties, revealing she “doesn’t have much left” after she pays her bills. It’s a grim reality for the English-born star, who is facing having her electricity cut off.

“The pension is ridiculous – you can’t pay for anything.” Worse than financial discomfort, Rowena says the uncertainty of not having enough money has left her feeling terribly anxious.

“I hate owing money, like everybody does, and the anxiety of them threatening to turn the power off is terrible.”

Rowena wallace New Idea
” One minute we’re hot as roasted potatoes and the next we’re cold and thrown in the bin. But I’m not ready for that yet!” (Credit: New Idea)

With a glimmer of hope in her eye, Rowena prays she will return to our screens soon.

“I’ve always had this feeling that someone has grabbed my forelock, and pulled me and tugged me and taken me places – hopefully that will happen soon,” she says.

“The thing is, you go in and out of fashion – we all do! One minute we’re hot as roasted potatoes and the next we’re cold and thrown in the bin. But I’m not ready for that yet!”

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