How actress Amy Jackson went from Liverpool to Bollywood
What if one day you woke up and one of your parents told you that one of the biggest film directors in India wanted you to be the lead role in his movie? Sounds pretty crazy, right?
Well, this actually happened to Amy Jackson (@iamamyjackson). Amy Jackson was a young girl from Liverpool who began modeling at the age of 16. She won the title of Miss Teen World in 2009 and Miss Liverpool in 2010. While pursuing her modeling career in the UK, Amy was spotted by an Indian director named A L Vijay on the Miss Teen World website. She received a call from her agency regarding a director being in touch. Amy was still a teenager at the time, and before she knew it, she was off to London with her parents to meet the director who was going to change the course of her life.
It wasn’t all that easy, though. She was asked to play the role of a British governor’s daughter, and the director thought she had the perfect look for it. Amy had to learn different Tamil dialogues for her first movie even though her dialogue was dubbed by a Hindi actress.
A couple years ago, Amy was still just a normal girl in her city of Liverpool and had a completely different life in India. That life included a hair and makeup team, an assistant, two body guards and fans approaching her anywhere she went.
Now, Amy has made her mark as an international model, appearing on covers such as Vogue India, Maxim India, and featured in Elle UK. Her fame is taking a new path as she is making her debut in the British film industry in a movie titled Boogie Man. She also just became an ambassador and the face of Lipsy’s new VIP collection, so she’s pretty much winning at life.
I had the chance to ask Amy a few questions on how her life has changed and on her career in Indian cinema.
Can you tell me a little bit about how you got started in the acting industry?
I was completely thrown into the deep end! After I won Miss Teen World at 16, the press went worldwide and an Indian film director AL Vijay spotted me. He was casting the lead role for a 1940s period drama. I did my very first audition and within two weeks, I was shooting my first feature film in India.
How did you end up working in the Indian film industry, and what has your experience been like?
It’s been a total rollercoaster. Initially, it was very difficult. I always planned to go traveling across Asia after I finished studying but the opportunity popped up a lot sooner than expected! I was 16 when I first travelled to Chennai with my mum for the first movie, “Madrasapattinam.” Everything was a shock to the system! The language, the food, the culture. On Indian movie sets, there’s no concept of “working hours,” we would literally shoot twenty hour days, then I’d go back to my hotel room and memorize the dialogues for the next day. The crew were amazing though, they taught me so much and became my family in India.
After I saw the movie on the silver screen it made me want to keep going and get even better. I decided to learn the language and I moved to Mumbai. Twelve films later, I have a home there, I can speak Hindi, and I can rustle up a decent biryani!
What made you want to be apart of the “Boogie Man” film?
I wanted to bridge the two industries together and “Boogie Man” was the perfect stepping stone for it. It’s a British film directed by Andy Morhan and it’s about a British-Indo family living in London. The storyline touches on the traditional Indian family values as well as having comedy and romance in there. It was definitely a film I could relate to after spending seven years working in India.
How do you start your day before a shoot? Do you have a daily routine?
I’m not a morning person at all, which doesn’t help when movie shoot call times tend to be before 7 a.m.! Nevertheless, as long as I have an hour to myself then I’m good to go. I do a minimum of 30 minutes light workout, (I’ve only just started yoga but I love it!) and I need a good cuppa tea before I go anywhere. I also have a skin regime before makeup.
Whats the craziest thing you’ve experienced while shooting a movie?
One of the craziest/scariest experiences would’ve been when we were night shooting in the backwaters of Kerala. It was about 4 a.m. so we were all exhausted, I passed out in a little rowing boat whilst I was waiting for the shot and I woke up to my makeup artist screaming because a python had managed to land up in our boat. Thankfully the locals were there to help us.
What song do you sing your heart out to in the shower?
Diana Ross, “I Will Survive” in the shower, on a road trip, karaoke… whenever!
What are the differences you’ve noticed when working in Indian film opposed to British film?
When I work on South Indian movies it tends to be a lot more spontaneous which can sometimes be good but not when you’ve learnt your foreign language dialogues and they change the whole thing just before a take! The British film I’ve just worked on was very organized and we actually got a run through of scenes and shots which never usually happens on an Indian movie.
Photographer: Frankie Mark
Makeup: LaQuisha Seams
Art direction and styling: Bo Janicic
All looks from Albright Fashion Library