Neighbours

Jade star Gemma to exit Ramsay Street

After two years as Ramsay Street's feisty, no-nonsense personal trainer Jade Mitchell, star Gemma Pranita has revealed she's setting her sights on LA.

Neighbours is set to lose one of its most glamorous residents, Gemma Pranita, when she farewells Ramsay Street in August.

The striking brunette, a graduate of the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, joined the cast of the hit Aussie soap in mid 2010 as feisty, no-nonsense personal trainer Jade Mitchell.

While she thought long and hard about leaving the show, 26-year-old Gemma feels the time is right to spread her wings. 'The decision was made with a heavy heart as I love this job, but I just felt that two years was long enough to play one character,' she explains. 'I became an actor to play lots of different characters and, while Jade has been an amazing role, I feel I want to challenge myself to do other things.'

Gemma hopes to scope out opportunities in Los Angeles later this year but insists she won't be closing the door on her career in Australia. 'I’ve always aspired to have a crack at LA, and I don’t want to be left wondering. However, I’m definitely not opposed to working in Australia; I love the industry here.'

The Neighbours favourite adds that she'll particularly miss working with co-stars Christopher Milligan - her on-off love interest Kyle Canning - and Eve Morey, the name behind her on-screen sister Sonya.

'I’ll miss the pranks Chris and I play on each other, and one I’m particularly proud of was putting fake dog poo in his script folder - payback for a prank he played on me,' jokes Gemma.

'I’ll also miss three o’clock on Friday afternoons, the end of a long week, when everyone goes a little bit crazy in the Green Room and watches silly YouTube clips huddled around a computer. It is always so much fun.'

Gemma's chuffed with the extra skills she acquired for her role. 'I didn’t have a relationship with exercise at all but, playing a personal trainer, I do now. Every Saturday morning I do body combat with Val (Novakovic) and I learnt to use a skipping rope like a boxer - no easy feat for a non-exerciser.'

She also dispelled the myth of ‘never work with animals’ by playing opposite Bossy, the show’s Australian red kelpie puppy.

'I’ve never owned a dog, let alone instructed one, so the day Bossy had to sit, lay and roll on my command was amazing, I felt like the new dog whisperer, and Cesar Millan better watch out!'

Gemma, who after wrapping on Neighbours will head back to Sydney to work on a project with her theatre company Cry Havoc, is remaining tight-lipped about how her character exits Ramsay Street but teases that 'hearts will be broken and lots tears will be shed.'

Gemma's final scenes as Jade will air on Channel 5 at the end of November.