Physiotherapist Jenna Kamara has been having a torrid time of it of late. An interrupted kiss with patient Sophie (Brooke Vincent) has landed her in trouble with her bosses, all of which means that she now has to endure both speculation about her sexuality and the ordeal of an employment tribunal. Actress Krissi Bohn, who made her Corrie debut back in September 2012, reveals what lies in store for Jenna as she faces up to her true feelings:
Jenna’s going through a tough time of it at the moment – how do you think she’s coping with being suspended from her job?
She’s finding it very difficult. Her job is her passion, it’s the one thing she’s worked so hard for her whole life, her mum is so proud of her and she’s really struggling with the thought of losing it all. She is torn though – she does have feelings for Sophie but she’s desperate to keep her job.
How did Jenna feel when Sophie revealed her feelings and kissed her?
Deep down there were feelings there from Jenna too but I think she wanted to deny they were there so she could carry on working with Sophie. When Sophie kissed her, I think there was a part of Jenna that was happy and enjoyed it but her overriding feeling is to try and be professional. She responded in that moment and then pulled away. Afterwards, she knew she shouldn’t have done it and that she should have stopped treating Sophie a while ago.
And the fallout from that kiss has been immense…
Yes, It’s been really difficult because both their families live on the street. Kevin’s not happy, Sally’s telling people that Jenna is predatory and has taken advantage of her position. So it’s not just between Jenna, Sophie and her work – it affects her whole life.
Why hasn’t Jenna told Mandy and Lloyd the truth about her sexuality? Jenna has convinced her family that she’s not gay, so why is that?
I think part of it is that she doesn’t want her mum to be disappointed in her. She’s also not ready to tell her parents that she’s gay. Perhaps if had been another day and she’d sat them down and told them in her own time it would have been OK, but the fact that it just blows up so massively makes her feel that it’s not the right time.
So how does Mandy react to Jenna’s version of events?
Mandy buys it and goes all out blaming Sophie, like Sally does with Jenna. Mums do battle! In some ways, it makes it even harder for Jenna because Mandy does accept instantly that there’s no way her daughter would be gay. Deep down Jenna’s horrified – she’s saying all these things and really she is gay. Mandy’s so upset about people thinking that Jenna is gay that it makes it even harder for her to come out.
And then we get Sophie offering to completely exonerate her. What is Jenna’s reaction to that?
It’s then that Jenna realises how much Sophie cares for her and what a kind-hearted person she is. She’s prepared to put herself on the line and say to everyone that she made it up. The fact that she’s willing to do that for Jenna really opens her eyes. She’s willing to lie for her when Jenna won’t even stand up and tell the truth. At first, she thinks Sophie’s said it on a whim but she realises she has thought it through and that maybe Sophie’s a lot more mature than she first thought. It makes Jenna realise that she’s being quite selfish.
What makes Jenna pour her heart out to dad Lloyd and admit that she is gay?
Through getting to know Lloyd, Jenna’s realised that he’s a really nice person. He doesn’t judge anyone and he’s willing to listen. He gives her the space to say what she wants to say and he’s really supportive when she tells him the truth. He makes it clear that she’s his daughter and he’ll stand by her whatever she does. He doesn’t tell her to lie to the tribunal. He doesn’t say “tell the truth”. He just tells her to go with her heart.
Is being gay something she has only just admitted to herself or has she had gay relationships in the past?
She’s never had a proper relationship with a woman. She’s only had a couple of one-night-stands and a holiday fling. So she wasn’t ready to admit that she’s gay to the world, she’s had her hand forced by this situation, really.
How worried is she as she waits for the results of her tribunal?
She’s very worried. She genuinely doesn’t have any idea which way it’s going to go and her whole livelihood is hanging in the balance. She knows that if she loses her job she won’t be able to practice anymore and she won’t be able to pay for her house, so it’s a massive worry.
Now Sophie is no longer Jenna’s patient, is there any reason why they can’t be in a relationship is that’s what they both want?
At the time of the tribunal Jenna’s main concerns are sorting out her career and sorting out her family. I don’t think she’s got the head space for a relationship after everything that’s happened.
How have the fans reacted to Jenna?
They’ve been really positive – they seem to like Jenna so far, which is nice. People have been asking me for a while if she’s going to be gay and if she’s going to have a relationship with Sophie, so it’s great to be able to explore that now.
And what’s Brooke Vincent like as a screen partner?
I absolutely love working with Brooke. She’s so funny, friendly and down to earth. She really puts you at ease. Obviously it’s quite daunting coming in to work with ‘the lesbian of Coronation Street’ but because she’s done all this before with Sacha [Parkinson, who played Sophie’s former girlfriend Sian] she knows what comes with it and that has really helped.
Are you also enjoying the dynamic between Jenna and Lloyd?
Absolutely loving it. I think the best thing to come out of this whole storyline for me is that we’ve been able to establish more of a father-daughter relationship. It’s bonded them and it’s really nice to see that family dynamic grow.
Would you like to see Sophie and Jenna make a go of things?
I would. I’d quite like everything Jenna’s been through to be for a reason rather than for all this to happen and them not get together. It would be nice to see a proper relationship happen between them, even despite the age gap. It’s interesting and different to the relationship that Sophie had with Sian.
And are you excited about what 2013 holds for Jenna?
I’m very excited, I know I’m going to be here for at least another six months, which is brilliant.