As they make their sexy swimwear shoot debut for MAXIM, controversial Married At First Sight duo Ines Bašić & Jessika Power reveal all about reality TV, men, the haters, suicide prevention and more…
FULL NAME: Jessika Ann Power (LEFT)
BORN: October 2, 1991
HOMETOWN: Perth, WA
LIVES: Brisbane, Qld
FIVE-WORD SELF-DESCRIPTION: “Vivacious, outgoing, bubbly, nonchalant and fun.”
FAVOURITE HOBBY: “Reading.”
HIDDEN TALENT: “I’m double jointed in my hips and fingers and I can wriggle my ears.”
PHOBIA: “I’m scared of the dark.”
GO-TO DRINK: “Fireball shot or a lychee cocktail.”
HANGOVER CURE: “Hair of the dog.”
LIFE MOTTO: “Never a mistake, always a lesson.”
FULL NAME: Ines Bašić (RIGHT)
BORN: February 20, 1990
HOMETOWN: Derventa, Bosnia
LIVES: Brisbane, Qld
FIVE-WORD SELF-DESCRIPTION: “Honest, true-to-myself, driven, passionate and creative.”
FAVOURITE HOBBY: “Lighting some candles, putting on a face mask and saturating my body in beautiful oils. I love taking care of my skin, face and body.”
HIDDEN TALENT: “Pretending I can sing like Ariana Grande.”
PHOBIA: “Flying! I hate being on planes! Every time the plane makes a noise or moves suddenly, I’m mortified to the extent I presume I will die.”
GO-TO DRINK: “Chilli margarita.”
HANGOVER CURE: “Sleep, fries and Netflix. Cuddling help, too.”
LIFE MOTTO: “Only listen to yourself. Only you know what you really want and need.”
Congrats on your first MAXIM feature, ladies. How do you feel?
JESSIKA (J): I feel very grateful. I’m honestly pinching myself that I could be in this magazine with one of my best friends, Ines. It’s a dream come true.
INES (I): So far, this is one of my proudest achievements to date! I feel really good and confident about it.
Why did you decide to do this MAXIM photo shoot?
J: On the show [Married At First Sight] us girls would hang out by the drinks table at the dinner parties each week and always talk about what we wanted to do when the show finished – all of us always said we want to do a MAXIM shoot.
I: Yeah, it’s been a dream and life goal of mine to shoot with MAXIM. It was one of the first things I pitched to my manager and I didn’t realise until it was going ahead that Jess had also done the same – so, here we are!
What did you love most about this photo shoot?
I: Seeing how confident I felt. I was surprised at how comfortable and good I felt considering it was my first major shoot. It was shot at the start of winter at the Vibe Hotel on the Gold Coast and it was a really good day — the sun came out and it wasn’t cold at all once we got stuck into it.
J: I loved that it was very relaxed and fun. Whenever I see the MAXIM shoots I always think, “Wow, that bitch is slayed to the high heavens!” So, I expected it to be really strict and serious but we had lots of laughs and a great day overall.
Well, you both look great. When do you feel sexy?
J: I always feel at my sexiest early in the morning. I put my music on, I’m in my crop top and short shorts and I just feel sexy and confident.
I: I feel the sexiest when I’m naked and have minimal to no make-up on. When I’m naked I feel most like my truest self.
What is your best asset?
J: Probably my eyes. Growing up, people used to always say that my eyes were captivating. They actually change colour depending on my mood.
I: I love my eyes, too. They’re big and really blue. I also love my strong-minded assertive personality. Women are undervalued and under-appreciated, we endure a lot and these characteristics are useful when it comes to standing up for myself and what I believe in. It also helps me never settle for anything less.
Have you ever used your popularity to get you out of trouble?
J: I actually haven’t. I just can’t be that girl. Like, I’ve never had a one night stand. I feel like you should be respectful and respect yourself. I have a younger sister who is 23 and I feel like I need to be a role model to her and teach her how to be a lady.
I: Never! I’ve never felt “cool”. I’m too modest and pretty conservative around people.
For those who don’t know a lot about you, tell us a bit about yourselves.
I: I came to Australia, as a refugee with my family, from Bosnia when I was four. The war broke out so we didn’t have any option but to leave. I was really independent as a child and teenager and I spent most of my 20s changing careers. Nothing ever felt big or good enough – I always knew I wanted to do big things in life but never had the right platform for it. So, when I saw MAFS was holding auditions, I applied and… here we are!
J: I was born on the Gold Coast but grew up in Perth. My mum moved us there because she wanted to be as far away from my dad as she could when they split. I then had an amazing stepfather but things weren’t amazing after he and mum split. Two years ago I lost my boyfriend to suicide. I’m currently in talks with a charity which focusses on suicide prevention and men’s mental health and planning to speak in schools and other opportunities.
Wow, that’s heavy. We’re really sorry to hear it. What else would people be surprised to know about you?
J: I have a business diploma and I’m currently doing my diploma in event management. I’m also one of five kids – I didn’t want my little brothers to appear on MAFS because I would hate for them to be bullied or teased about it.
I: I’m really quiet. I don’t say much but when I do I’m really straight forward.
When you’re not posing for MAXIM what do you girls do?
I: Since going on reality TV, every day is so different from the other. There’s a lot of travelling to different states for work and events and a lot of the opportunities I’m attracting into my life are allowing me to use my creative side more. I’m always thinking and planning about projects I’m working on.
J: I’m currently doing the “Jessika’s Revenge tour” which is doing a lot of public appearances across Australia at corporate events, parties and clubs. I’m also building my Instagram and constantly being approached by brands to endorse and advertise their products. It’s really important to me that I only work with brands I believe in. There is a lot of work that goes into me selecting who I work with. I’m also working on starting my own business in the event management space.
As cast members in the last season of Married At First Sight, how would you best describe your experience on the show?
J: I learnt a lot about myself and a lot about relationships. I thought I knew about relationships but realised that I actually didn’t. I learnt a lot about how I act and I was force to be in situations that I’d normally avoid. And I learnt how to cope with conflict and difficult situations. I grew a lot.
I: I didn’t like it at all. It was way too controlled. I didn’t like being told what to say, do, think or feel. It was just purely disappointing.
How do you feel about your portrayals on the show?
I: I don’t have an issue with it — it’s TV. Everyone’s experience is so completely different to the other. I can only vouch for what I know was going on behind closed doors on my end and it’s pretty evident a huge ton of editing goes into it.
J: A lot of the cast say there was so much dodgy editing but I own my actions 100%. I said those things, I had those blow ups – maybe not in the order they were edited but I had them. I was fully conscious of what I was doing and whilst I’m not proud of a lot of the behaviour, I did those things and I don’t think I was portrayed incorrectly. I learnt the way I acted wasn’t right. When other cast members say that the editing has not portrayed them correctly it’s a piss-take. Whatever was aired — you did and said that.
Do you have any regrets?
J: I regret staying as long as I did and making Mick stay longer so I could be with Dan. Mick is a farmer and he has livestock and I made him stay there. Dan and I could have got to know each other outside of the show but we dragged it out and stayed and I know it wasn’t fair of me to keep Mick there for as long as I did. I also regret not telling people earlier what was going on and I regret all the lies and manipulation. It hurt people.
I: If I had to redo the show, I would never sign up to go on it. My only regrets are giving people my time of day when they didn’t deserve it. Deep down I knew they weren’t worth my time and they would never make it to my future.
Do you keep in touch with any of the other couples from the show?
J: Nick and I chat heaps. We have similar personalities and we’ve always had each other’s backs. Whenever we did interviews together we’d always agree on what and what not to discuss and he’d always stick to it and watch out for me. Ines and I are close friends, too. I love that she shows me the real Ines who is such a beautiful, sweet, kind and vulnerable person and such a great friend.
I: I don’t talk to anyone aside from Jess. She lived next door to me in the building we all lived in and I would sneak into her room really late at night – sometimes at early hours of the morning depending how late we filmed. We would get drunk and dance to Cardi B until the sun came up.
Jess, have spoken to Dan Webb since you guys split?
J: I don’t speak to Dan. He is one of the snakiest people I know. I wish I’d have known about who he really was before I moved states for him. One hour prior to our big on-screen meltdown we were saying how much we loved each other, we had sex, I cooked for him… we were both copping the cheating allegations and I thought we were solid, trusted each other and were good. Then, out of nowhere, he starts bringing all this stuff up which he had known about for a while and suddenly it all blew up. He had to have planned that. He then went behind my back and sold the story. Then I have to find out about his fraud case through my publicist. He wasn’t honest at all.
Ines, have you spoken to Sam Ball since the show ended?
I: Never. Not once! He blocked me on Instagram after filming and I upgraded my phone and lost all numbers. When the show aired he was forced to unblock me and re-follow me but I quickly blocked him once our affair started playing out. I have nothing against him nor do I have a desire to connect with him again. I met him under unique circumstances and it’s hard to get to really know someone under those conditions.
You both had a few run-ins with fellow MAFS cast member Cyrell Paule. Where are you at with her these days?
I: I haven’t spoken to her since filming finished. I never got too close with most the cast members. She’s a nice girl, I have nothing against her. We had our moments on the show but we always got over them really fast. I think we’re just both on different paths in life so I have no desire to reconnect with her.
J: I really don’t think about her or talk about her. We never really saw eye to eye so I don’t have anything to say to her.
What’s your stance on marriage?
J: I think the way marriage is presented and treated on the show is just not a real marriage. No relationships actually exist like that in the real world. My idea of marriage is two people coming committing to spending the rest of their lives together. It grows over time and becomes stronger by the commitment of the two people to make it work. What happens on MAFS is nothing like that.
I: I always think about who I will marry and what I want my real-life wedding to be like. I don’t get into detail about the venue or my dress, etc… but I want to know what my future husband will be and look like.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about reality TV?
J: The public think it’s gospel and everything that happens on the show is real. They don’t understand that there is so much staged stuff. People are strategising and have agendas and are coached to do certain things and behave in certain ways. It isn’t real life, it’s TV.
I: I don’t watch reality TV so I never knew much about it but you may as
well be contracted as an actor.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to do a show like MAFS?
I: Probably just stay at home. It’s full-on. The filming hours are long, the conversation you engage in is directed by producers… it’s all very controlled. You can’t speak unless there is film crew around, you can’t do anything you want because you’re closely monitored at all times.
J: Just go and have fun and be yourself. Even if you are a bit of a bitch, just be yourself and be real. Don’t be scared even if you aren’t the most loved. Even if you are the most loved, people are still going to judge you and want to bring you down so just be yourself. Let’s face it, nobody is writing articles about Ning and Melissa because there wasn’t any real controversy around them. Controversy is what people want and I love it. I think it is hilarious.
What’s the weirdest rumour you’ve heard about yourselves in the media?
J: I have a new boyfriend every week and I’m pregnant every week. Whenever I eat bread, I bloat and the paparazzi snap and then it’s reported I’m pregnant. I’m not even getting laid, let alone pregnant!
I: I’ve seen it all! It got to a stage where I was thinking if a media outlet published I was peeing on my neighbours lawn for fun I wouldn’t be surprised.
What message do you have for the haters and social media trolls you have to endure?
J: Keep hating! Keep pushing my engagement, keep commenting, keep sending me DM’s and keep filling up my bank account. Thanks!
I: Absolutely no message whatsoever! I don’t pay any attention to them.
You’re good mates — what do you love most about each other?
J: I love how Ines shows me her real side and that she feels comfortable enough with me to show that side. We are like sisters, we support each other.
I: Yeah, Jess is like a little sister to me. She’s the total opposite of me – she’s really loud, talkative and wild. Sometimes I think our own TV show would be super entertaining.
What have you learned about men over the years?
I: They lie. And they think they can get away with it.
J: I was told when I was younger that if you are tall and tattooed and look like you will ruin my life then I will date you.
Is this your ideal man?
J: Well, now I’m trying to find someone who is more family-orientated, treats me well and is less like the above.
I: My ideal man would have to be sensible, level headed, hardworking, driven, consistent and affectionate. Having honest and open communication between us would definitely help, too.
What’s next for you girls?
J: I hope to do more reality TV and I hope to have broken into the UK reality TV market over the next few years.
I: I’m working on various projects with beauty brands and also something very close to me, with a charitable organisation, that I can’t wait to share with everyone. So, keep an eye on my Instagram for more updates! ■
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROCKY BATCHELOR
INTERVIEW BY SANTI PINTADO
STYLED BY BELINDA ROELOFS
HAIR & MAKE-UP Huxley School of Makeup
LOCATION Driftwood Social, Gold Coast / @driftwoodsocial.gc
For the full article grab the August 2019 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.