THE OUTNET’S Content Editor, Jess Wood, got to catch up with British actress and our dream wellness guru Amy Jackson. In case you missed their live conversation about homemade beauty concoctions, her Bollywood film career and the secret to sticking to veganism — we made sure to save some of the best bits…
Amy Loves… Vegan leather
I need new trousers as my new-mum bod doesn’t fit the ones from last year! I’ve really switched it up and I’ve gone down the route of, again, vegan fashion. I’ve got some beautiful Stella McCartney boots from THE OUTNET, I got this fabulous Emilio Pucci bucket hat: faux leather, very chic. And then another, another vegan leather trouser from Ronny Kobo — they’re epic.
Jess: Hi Amy! How are you?
Amy: I’m really good, you know I’ve had one of those days where everything happens at once.
Jess: Oh, my goodness. Normally you’re on film sets but you’re not doing that at the minute. So, what have you been up to instead?
Amy: Well, this year’s been a strange one! I know it’s been strange for everyone but I think the first year of motherhood… you can’t prepare yourself. So, being in lockdown and having a little 1-year old has actually weirdly been somewhat calming in a sense. In between his nap times, I’ve been doing meditation, and creating all sorts in the kitchen from new beauty regimes to a bit of cooking.
Jess: Wow, in the kitchen?
Amy: Yeah, I’m a massive believer in raw, pure, organic kind of produce. Which I got from Ayurveda treatments, which are from India. I’ve incorporated it into my North London kitchen! I like an olive oil scrub with turmeric. Andreas’ YaYa is a Greek/Cypriot lady and they bring bucket-loads of fresh, pure organic olive oil over. I sprinkle a bit of turmeric in and use that for my exfoliation.
Jess: So, your background and story of how you ended up becoming a star of Indian films is fascinating – your parents are from Liverpool… can you tell us a bit about that?
Amy: We’re proper Scousers. It came about when I was 16 and did Miss Teen World. There are misconceptions about pageants but I had the best experience. It opened so many doors for me, I met so many people from amazing countries and backgrounds. The producers of a period drama, 1947 _Madrasapattinam _film in Chennai saw this picture of me with my Miss Teen World sash on. They needed a British, Governor’s daughter. And, low and behold, two weeks later, I was over in Chennai with my mum and I was filming my first film.
Jess: Had you ever thought about acting before?
Amy: I’m very lucky, my mum and dad have always said ‘take every opportunity as it comes,’ and when I got the phone call, my dad answered and I said, ‘Dad, tell them no, I can’t act, I’ve never acted before!’ So, he said ‘oh, just do it, just give it a shot.’ Little did I know it would carve out the rest of my life basically.
Jess: And what everyone’s dying to know about these Bollywood productions — how epic are they? It just sounds beyond fabulous.
Amy: It is, that’s exactly the word, it’s fabulous and it’s OTT and it’s wonderful. One film was called I and the other _2.0. _The director, he does things on a big scale and it’s a big deal. We had international technicians trying to organize dates over the course of 4-5 years. It was so worth it at the end to see it on screen.
Amy: Yes. So, I’ve done campaigns and worked with PETA for around 7 years. And, The Elephant Family do a lot of work with Asian elephants and there’s a lot of human-animal conflict in India. So, they needed a UK ambassador to be able to connect with the people in the villages also in India, and I had that connection. I’ve been animal obsessed as long as I can remember.
Jess: So, when did you fall in love with animals? Did you always have a lot of pets ever since you were little?
Amy: Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had dogs and guinea pigs and my mum had horses. But it’s only over the past few years that I’ve seen in a whole different light. Hence why I went vegan, hence why I went cruelty-free with my makeup and I’ve been really conscious about that. Because, it’s great to say ‘oh, I love my pets and I love my dogs and…’ but there’s a whole different world away from that.
Jess Do you find being vegan easy or difficult…?
Amy: Initially it was quite draining because I didn’t do my research and I wasn’t getting all the protein that I needed, I wasn’t getting all the right carbs. I was determined because I wanted to do it for ethical reasons, but I wanted to feel good. And, my hidden secret is Tempeh. It’s a great substitute for meat because it has all these amino acids, so that really helps.
Jess: And you’re very into your yoga. Is that a big part of your fitness regime?
Amy: Massively, I like to switch my fitness regime up to keep it different and exciting so it’s not like, a mundane jog around the park on my own. I love Ashtanga yoga because it’s still quite demanding, a little bit intense, you can get your sweat on, it’s a proper workout as well as being quite therapeutic.
Jess: So, tell us about the work you do with the Sneha-Segar Orphanage in Mumbai – that’s another of your big passion projects, isn’t it?
Amy: Yes, massively. I joined forces with them 5 years ago now. I was filming over Christmas, and I was feeling really sorry for myself, you know, ‘I’m not going to get the chance to go home, I miss my family...’ I had a face on me driving over to set one morning and I drove through a slum area, and I saw these little babies, they must have been 3-4 years old. I was like ‘ok, Amy, have a wake-up call.’ So, I asked a friend if there was anything I could do to help and Sneha-Segar came up. It was love at first sight. It’s a little girls’ orphanage and they range from newborn babies that were left on their doorstep to 16/17 year old girls. We’ve been able to put a lot of them through education, which is really difficult in India. I’m really thankful for you voicing this on here, we need to think of new ways to raise funds because this year has been disastrous, for obvious reasons.
Jess: I hope this doesn’t feel glib after that, but as we now have a few minutes left Amy. What about your ultra-glamorous, Cannes red-carpet moments? Do you love the glamour and the gowns or are you a bit iffy…?
Amy: I like to be in trackies on the sofa with my face mask on, hair in a bun… But, I have the best team behind me, Kirstie is my stylist and she’s been my best friend since we were 11-years old. So, I leave it to her to take control! I do love those big gowns and the glamour aspect of it, but, I also like just chilling on the couch. It’s a bit of balance. I was nearly going to do that for you today, appear in my big ball gown!
Jess: Can you tell us briefly what you have coming up work-wise?
Amy: I’ve just signed a new film, which I’m very excited about. But I’m playing a villain. She’s a naughty one which I like, I’ve never played that kind of character. We’re filming in Chennai, and she’s a British, wannabe actress who kills a few people along the way… basically. And a new passion project is working with Aaron Gekoski. He’s a wildlife and environmentalist photographer and we’re doing a really cool documentary series on human-animal conflict. I’m really excited about that.
Jess: Well, Amy, listen, are you off for a delightful meditative evening and a little vegan dinner?
Amy: I’d love to, but I’ve got an audition now. I’m off to do a self-tape!
Jess: That sounds tough on a rainy Tuesday night! Well, good luck with the self-taping!
Amy: Oh, it’s been, lovely, lovely, lovely talking with you Jess. I’m going to go have a raid on the OUTNET site as well, gonna go treat myself!
Every morning, 10 minutes at least of meditation. I mean, you can do silent meditation, you can do it with music, you can switch it up and you have apps that actually help you with the meditation but I think that everybody should do that and I can’t wait to teach Andreas when he’s older.
I’m a massive love of pre-loved fashion and my friend’s got a great store called ‘Worn.’ I love going in there, I never know what I’m going to find once I go in.
Cash & Rocket Charity
My work in India and fundraising and that also lead me to another charity over here in the UK called Cash & Rocket. The work that these ladies do! They are like a force to be reckoned with. They’re like intense, fabulous, powerhouses. And they do great work with the Helen Bamber Foundation.