Jessica McNamee dances into the spotlight

"It's hard because we've got all these big family scenes and I don't have that 25-year history that the others all have with each other. So it's quite hard because I have to play quite a silent role at times," says Packed to the Rafters' Jess McNamee.

"Being part of the family and being a diplomatic character I don't often speak up for myself, which can be really challenging when there is so much banter going on."

With Sammy living under a roof alongside Rachel, Julie, Dave, Nathan and Ted it's no surprise that she sometimes struggles to be heard.

"You can't always have everyone funny or witty or vocal because it would just be too much. But sometimes I just want to break out and be silly, but I just have to reel it back in and think, 'no your character is diplomatic and straight'. It can be really frustrating sometimes."

But an appearance in Dancing with the Stars allows McNamee to step out from behind "Sammy", and indeed her television family, to show there is more to her than being "Mrs Nathan Rafter".

"That was part of the decision in joining Dancing. My character stays in the background a little bit on Rafters, so it's a great opportunity to get out there and show my personality a bit more."

It also ramps up her work schedule, filming the drama in Sydney, rehearsing dance routines and flying to Melbourne to appear on the live Sunday night performance shows, alongside dance partner Stefano Olivieri.

"My partner Stefano's hilarious and it's all going really well. I seem to be picking it up easily, which is nice. I thought remembering the steps would be the most difficult thing, but so far I'm going OK," she said.

"It's a long day but as long as you keep up your rest and take lots of vitamins you're fine.

"It goes for three months in total if you stay for the final show. So it's going to be absolutely crazy if I stay in that long. Fingers crossed!"

Dancing with the Stars airs 7:30pm Sundays and Packed to the Rafters airs 8:30pm Tuesdays on Seven.

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