“So Much Love and Sadness”: Big Brother’s Jess Recalls Her Final Phone Call With Her Nana

Jess Nanna

When Jess Trend entered the Big Brother Australia house, her beloved nana was about to be released from hospital after having a fall. Then, only two days later — while she was adjusting to life with her new housemates — Jess got a call to say that her grandmother had deteriorated and was not expected to live.

“It was a shock because she had a fall while I was in quarantine,” the 28-year-old Victorian told POPSUGAR Australia during an interview. “I was even boasting to the other housemates when I was on the flight [Big Brother Air] that my nana had been sick but she was about to be let out, so that was the biggest shock. It came out of nowhere.”

During the third episode of Big Brother, Jess received a phone call from her twin brother Ben to say that her grandmother was unwell and then later, she received another call where she had to say goodbye.

“It was something I struggled with the most, honestly,” she said. “I was really lucky to have people surrounding me like Mary [Kalifatidis], who has obviously experienced more than me in life.

“I remember, the most anxiety I had going into the diary room was thinking, ‘What am I going to say?’ and really hoping that it would just come naturally. The love I had for my grandma was very natural. I guess when you’re in that moment, you just feel so much love and sadness, that it just comes out.”

When asked what their relationships was like, Jess said she “couldn’t even explain” it.

“She is everything to all of us in our own special way. A special moment for me is that she said to me when I came out [as gay]: ‘Are you happy?’ and I said ‘Yeah’ and she goes, ‘I’m happy as well’. I guess that just paints a picture of who she is as a person.”

Throughout the entirety of the situation, Jess said that the way the Big Brother crew (and cast) “handled it was just above and beyond. They met every single expectation,” she said.

“I just couldn’t believe how well they handled it and how amazing they were.”

Jess was supported by a psychologist, a wellness coach and the executive producing team, and as for her housemates, she didn’t “expect that support”.

“I had only known them for 24 hours and I was very lucky,” she said.

Unfortunately, Jess’ nana passed away a few days later and due to the global pandemic and government restrictions, she was unable to attend the funeral as she was in Sydney and her family were in Victoria.

“Nana actually said before she became unresponsive, she told mum ‘Do not let her out of that house!’ and the family said, ‘You’re not leaving that house because even if you did, you’d be in quarantine for two weeks.'”

On the day of her funeral, Jess made the decision not to stream the service from the Big Brother house. Instead she waited until she was with her family.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to watch it in there,” she said. “It was special with my family afterwards.”

Big Brother continues Sunday to Tuesday on Channel 7.

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