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Jessica Phillips with a 2007 Harley Davidson Road King.

Jessica Phillips

Profession: Model and actress

Age: 26

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Hometown: Etobicoke, Ont.

Notable achievements: Modelling since 14; appeared on game show Deal or No Deal Canada as Briefcase Model No. 1; appeared on Republic of Doyle, Being Erica, Billable Hours; made her feature film debut in Repo Men with Forest Whitaker and Jude Law

Upcoming: Co-host of Wipeout Canada, which premieres Sunday, April 3, on TVtropolis

Actress Jessica Phillips is best known as Briefcase Model No. 1 on Deal or No Deal Canada. But make no mistake, Phillips isn't just a pretty face. And she's not afraid to get dirt under her fingernails fixing her motorcycles or changing the oil in her 2004 Saturn Ion.

Why did you buy a Saturn Ion?

I thought it looked nice. It was affordable. It's good for me because I don't do a lot of driving in town. It's just for driving up north to visit my parents. It's a good little city car.

And then I have my motorcycles for fun.

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What motorcycles do you own?

I just sold my Ducati Monster 900-cc; it has been my favourite bike so far.

I've owned over a dozen motorcycles over the last few years. I started riding street bikes and motorcycles at 16 - I've had everything from BMWs, GSXRs, CBRs, Ninjas.

My dad builds custom Harleys; we're in the midst of building a custom for me. We're using the bones of a Harley Road Glide, but we're going to soup it up a bit - make it faster and-better looking.

Most people don't peg me as a biker. But I actually taught the motorcycle program at Georgian College for six years issuing M2 licenses. It was fun, but then acting started picking up. I had to choose one and I figured motorcycle instructing will always be there so I pushed through the acting.

What do you plan to buy next?

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I would love to have enough money to buy an airplane hangar just filled with cars and trucks and motorcycles.

I really like the old muscle cars - '60s-'70s, Camaros, Shelbys, a Vette. I've always had my eye on one of those old '78 Broncos, too.…

As for a bike, I'd love to have a Ducati Hypermotard 1100.

What sparked your interest in bikes?

My dad has always had a recreational business so as soon as I could walk I had a dirt bike and an ATV. I actually had a dirt bike before I had a bicycle.

I grew up north of Barrie in a town of 1,100 people so up there there's not a whole lot to do so you get into dirt bikes, snowmobiles and Seadoos.

When I was 16, the bus ride to high school was an hour-and-a-half long so when I got my bike licence at 16, I'd drive my motorcycle there in the summer and in the winter I'd drive the snowmobile there - it was only 45 minutes on the snowmobile trail. That's country life for you.

What was your first motorcycle?

A 1988 BMW K750. It was this big, massive bike, but it was great. It was so reliable. It had all these extra little features on it like you pull in the clutch and the kickstand comes up. It was a great bike, very reliable.

I wanted a pickup truck for my first vehicle. My first truck was a 1990 Dodge Ram pickup. It was cheap. I bought it for $1,000. All my friends would make fun of it, but I loved it. I could take all my dirt bikes to the dirt pit.

Have you had any accidents on any of your bikes?

I was hit on a motorcycle when I was 17 or 18. I was driving down a 60-km road driving to high school to write one of my final exams. I had a straight-away road and a guy at a stop sign didn't see me. He made a left-hand turn and just turned out and side-swiped me.

He was about 60. He actually kept driving and eventually pulled over because he thought he blew a tire. He heard a bang. He didn't even know he hit me. I was lucky. I had a full-face helmet on and there was paint all over my helmet. My face would have been mangled if I was wearing a smaller helmet. The bike was written off.

Were you afraid to get back on the bike?

No. As soon as I could walk again - it took about a month and a half, I got back on a bike. I ended up getting an 1100 Shadow after that.

Any other mishaps riding?

My dad and I were driving to Port Dover one year for the Friday the 13th bike meet.

And I was driving his Road Glide and he was driving his custom chopper that we built. We were in traffic where the 400 and 401 meet and my dad - he's such a show-off - he decided to do a burnout on his bike. But there was so much power to the rear wheel that it blew the belt right out the backend.

There's no belt on the bike so we were just sitting there for about an hour-and-a-half until my mom came with the trailer to load up his bike. And I'm, like, "Okay I'm going to take off to Port Dover." He said, "No I'm taking the bike!"

So he left me with my mom in the trailer and I didn't get to go to Port Dover that year.

My sister and I went to Port Dover this year together. She has a Harley as well. I taught my mom how to ride six years ago and now she's got a great big Harley and she can keep up with the best of them.

Where did you get the cash for your bikes?

I started modelling when I was 14 so any modelling money I had I'd usually put it in an ATV or a motorcycle.

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The interview has been edited and condensed.

Correction: An earlier online version of this story contained incorrect information regarding the names of two vehicles. This online version has been corrected.

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About the Author

Petrina Gentile is an award-winning automotive journalist - one of the few women who cover cars in Canada. Her life revolves around wheels. She has been writing for the Drive section since 2004. Besides auto reviews, she also interviews celebrities like Norman Jewison, Patrick Dempsey, Rick Hansen, Dean McDermott, Russell Peters, and Ron MacLean for her My Car column. More

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