New Zealand actress Jessica Grace Smith is joining the cast of Home And Away as tomboy Denny.

Denny will work with Alf Stewart in the bait shop and is due to appear on UK screens in the Channel 5 soap in the spring.

Jessica, a middle child with two brothers, said she had a very sporty upbringing and being a ‘tomboy’ is something she has in common with her character.

She revealed: “Denny’s pretty straight up and she’s really honest. She’s what you see is what you get. She’s definitely not your typical girl.”

Jessica grew up in rural New Zealand and studied law for a year before deciding to become an actress. She enrolled in  the Toi Whakaari New Zealand drama school in Wellington in 2007 and completed her three-year degree in acting.

After her studies, Jessica moved to Auckland and appeared in several feature films before moving to Australia in 2011 and working in commercials and short films.

The actress revealed she had planned to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood in 2013, just a week before she was cast in Home And Away.

She said: “It was crazy! My bags were almost packed for LA. I was so stoked to be a part of the show and have full-time work. It’s an actor’s dream.”