IN CONVERSATION WITH AMY JACKSON
Interview by Jana Letonja
Amy Jackson is a British actress and a former Miss Teen World. She is one of the most in-demand actresses on the planet and has long been an advocate for sustainable fashion and beauty. She has been the face of Guess Beauty worldwide and has also worked with brands such as Hugo Boss, Carolina Herrera, Bvlgari and Cartier.
dress and jacket VERSACE
necklace MARIE-ALEXANDRINE YVERNAULT
Amy, you started your career in modeling when you were 15. What made you interested in fashion and modeling?
I think coming from Liverpool, fashion was always big on my agenda, but modeling however, was a complete world away from what I was used to. I actually got scouted with my sister when we got off the train in Manchester. It was a regional agency and they approached us and asked if we were interested. They followed up a few times and it was just a bit of pocket money, I suppose then. It was great because I was wearing amazing clothes and getting to travel a little bit at that point, which I hadn’t done prior. I am from a working class background and hadn’t traveled much out ofLiverpool, so modeling kind of opened my eyes to the fashion world and meeting interesting people. So that was just like a bit of a sideline hobby at that time.
Very soon after that you also won the Miss Teen World title in 2009. How did this title help you in your career going forward?
I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about that industry and for me, it was literally the stepping stone into a whole career. And I think more than Miss Teen World itself, I look back at my mindset then and how eager I was to push myself. Travel was a huge interest for me, I’d never been to America. This opened an opportunity to get to Americaand also pursue this new career. At the time, my mom was working for organization, which had disabled boys and girls come ride horses. It’s very therapeutic for them. So there was an angle also towards that, where we could raise awareness and funds.
My sister entered me into the competition. I remember we hardly used computers then. She was older, so she knew what she was doing. Taking those chances and putting yourself out there led me to winning the competition and then raising the profile to be cast in a film in India. You make that chance, that opportunity happens and then here we are.
You’ve been the face of Guess Beauty worldwide and have worked with many brands, like Hugo Boss, Carolina Herrera, Bvlgari and Cartier among others. With being incredibly passionate about the wellbeing of the planet and being Chopard’s Sustainability Ambassador, why is sustainability in fashion and beauty so very important?
It’s vitally important. I think the two have to go hand in hand. It’s such a huge industry, it makes such a huge imprint and footprint on the world. Whether you like it or not, everybody wears clothes, whether you accessorize and how you choose to style yourself. Everybody has an interest in it, so then everybody should play a part in sustainability and how it affects the environment. As we know, the likes of fast fashion and certain products have a real impact on our environment, so now we’re learning about that, and I think to ignore that would be massively detrimental.
I did a sustainable campaign for Oxford Street, so it was all about these high street brands and Selfridges. They were really pushing their sustainable factor and I think every brand now is very conscious about doing so. So us as the consumer and me as the ambassador for them, that comes hand in hand with environmental issues.
And let’s be honest, five years ago we didn’t really know the extent of what impact was it having, but now brands obviously know their effect. They really are. I mean, I learned a lot. Obviously, I push sustainability and I push the environmental issues when it comes to my own work in the fashion industry. And I was amazed to see the way that brands are really making an effort in doing so. They have their own sections for sustainably conscious sourcing and materials, so it is available, it is possible and it’s affordable.
In your words, how would you describe beauty? And why is beauty such a relevat term?
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I kind of don’t believe that. I feel like beauty comes from even before seeing anyone, you feel it. For me, I consider somebody beautiful when I have a real impact of their energy. I can feel it before I see it and that’s a feeling and that’s a way that it translates into me. So that’s how I see and feel and appreciate beauty.
Your pageant career led you to begin your acting career, where you are well know for your work in Indian films. Having experienced English and American productions as well, what makes Indian film industry so different, unique and special?
That’s such a really good question and it is definitely very poignant right now. I haven’t been on set in India since I think before pandemic and then I had my son, so it’s been four years almost. And in the meantime, I’ve shot ‘Supergirl’, which was an American TV show, and then was on the set with Guy Richie and Jason Statham. That was a huge Hollywood production, so I really did see and sense the contrast of the two industries. What I love about India generally, and obviously that translates into the film industry, they just make it happen. We go on set and there’s a lot of improvisation, there’s a lot of going with the flow. It’s almost organized chaos, I would like to say in that sense.
We’re there to make a movie, but it changes left, right and center, which initially I found quite difficult because obviously it was a foreign language also. But it’s now easier knowing the language and learning and homing in on my craft, whether that be action stunts, choreography and dance, which is a huge part of Indian cinema. Over the last decade, I’ve really dedicated myself to learning that and improving on that. So when something is thrown at me, I’m able to do it there. And I think that’s what India and Indian cinemas taught me. It’s dedication and havingdetermination. In life, if you are prepared, nothing can phase you.
coat ALEXANDER McQUEEN
earrings DIOR HIGH JEWELLERY
hat MAISON MICHEL
jacket ALEXANDER McQUEEN
hat MAISON MICHEL
Being an actress in Indian films is the reason you got to live in Mumbai for quite some time, where you are doing a lot of philantrophic work. You’re the ambassador for many charities, including ‘St. Jude’s Hospital in Mumbai’, ‘The Sneha Sargar Orphanage for girls’ and the ‘Girl Child’ education program. Why are these causes and organizations are the ones that need a voice and need to be heard the loudest?
Specifically the ones that you mentioned, I’ve worked with for a long time and it’s nice that you’ve asked this question because I’ve just come on board as an ambassador for a new charity here in Chennai. It’s called ‘The International Crime Prevention and Victim Care’ (PCVC) and it’s a non-profit, public charitable trust. The lady who set this up started it in 2001 and it was homing in generally domestic violence, but obviously a lot of their survivors are women. Obviously they don’t discriminate male or female, but the people that they get coming to them and the victims and survivors are women. Their mission is to support women rebuild their lives damaged by abusive intimate and family relationships and to facilitate the process of self- empowerment for women survivors.
I think that it’s really apparent not just India, but worldwide, that equality is on the rise, but there’s still a lot of work to do on it. And that’s why I really wanted to work with this charity and help them and fundraise and raise awareness for them, because unfortunately even though we’re really making an aim to have that equal rights and equal position in the world, it’s still very much a male dominated country, industry and world. So I really felt the need to voice my concerns and raise awareness for these women specifically.
It’s horrendous what’s going on in the world and I think it’s even more important right now, because I can sense it speaking to you and my friends and what I see on social media, that women and men are really making their voice heard about the lack of equality. And I think that’s why there’s such a force to be reckoned with in that sense. But I don’t understand how even with all of this progression, there’s still these rules and regulations and situations. Over a hundred years ago, you would not see something to this extent, like for instance in Iran. What I’m seeing at this charity, these victims are severely burned victims, they are thrown out on the street by their partners and this is just sheer lack of equality in the world and the regard for women.
With being also a PETA ambassador, you are a strong advocate for animal rescue and adoption of animals from shelters. Why do you believe so many people still rather buy from breeders than adopt? How could this mindset be changed? And why should people adopt more?
My little Bailey, she’s adopted. And it’s my dream to have a place where I’ve got enough land to go around these places and adopt as many animals and rescue as many as possible. I don’t know the exact statistic in America, but I think there’s like crazy amounts of dogs in homes that are put down each day compared to hundreds of thousands that are being bought and bred.
If it was for the pure joy of having an animal, then an adopted animal would be more than enough to fill a home and fill that heart. But unfortunately, I think people use animals as commodities and I think they use them as fashion statements. When we see certain dogs and cats and animals in general bred really poorly and having serious ailments and conditions, which shorten their lives and makes them need to have surgeries, it just baffles me that this is ongoing. But I think it’s because people’s perception of animals is that they are for our use. And again, they don’t see them as being on the equal level in that sense.
Your work demands a lot of traveling for you. How do you balance your personal and professional life, especially with being a mom to a little boy?
That constant mom guilt is always there, but I speak about it with my friends who are even based in one place and I think that you’ll always have that. You always wanna be the best for your child and he’s been the ultimate pinnacle point of the decisions that I make moving forward. It’s so funny because before having a child, you kind of do what you want, you’re. Now every decision in life I make, but specifically when we’re talking about work, he is at the forefront of that decision, which is great and really grounded me. It’s made me a lot more deliberate on where I put my time and effort.
He’s fantastic. He’s three at the moment, so luckily he is not in compulsory education and is able to visit and travel with me. He came the last time on the big stint here in India. My mom came with him and we made a holiday of it. He came to set and it was wonderful. It was an action stunt scene that we were filming at the time, so he thought that was great and that the stunt choreographer was the trainer of the Avengers. He’s really involved in my life and in my work life. He’s the number one reason for doing this as well. Obviously, I wanna give him a great life and traveling to all these amazing places. Being able to finance our lives and his life is all put upon my shoulders, so I really feel the need to be successful for him.
The first time I traveled to Asia or outside of Europe in general was when I did the film. So that was when I was 16. He’s been a couple of times already and he is not even three yet, so he’s a world traveled little boy. I don’t believe that there’s a better teacher than travel in a sense where you’re absorbing these different cultures, foods and experiences. And it’s really broadening your mindset at such a young age. I think that’s just something that can’t be taught in a classroom.
Who are your favourite directors at the moment?
Greta Gerwig and Mimi Cave with her debut movie ‘Fresh’. They’re a massive inspiration to me. They’re filmmakers, actors and writers, but above all, they’re artists and their influential art has an impact and important meaning on society.
Directors such as themselves, along with the medium of cinema, have motivated me to write and direct a short film with a crucial social message that homes in on the global crisis of violence against women and girls. I’m currently in the pre-production stages of my directorial debut ‘Mausoleum’, which will commence shooting this month.
I also love these films at the moment, ‘Crakk’ and ‘ Achcham Enbadhu Illayae’ (translated to ‘No Fear’). ‘Crakk’ is portraying Patricia Margate, an Europol agent who uncovers the journey of a man from the slums of Mumbai, who lands up in the world of underground extreme sports. And in ‘Achcham Enbadhu Illayae’ I’m playing the role of Sandra James, the chief prison guard in London’s most notorious prison.
talent AMY JACKSON @iamamyjackson
photographer KOSMAS PAVLOS @kosmaspavlos
stylist LAURENT DOMBROWICZ @laurentdombrowicz
make-up EMMA MILES @emmamakeupmiles @carenagency
hair KEIICHIRO HIRANO @khairstudio @thelondonstyleagency using ORIBE
photo assistants LUKE JOHNSON & GRANT HAMMILTON @lukejohnsonphotographic
digital imaging ALEXANDRA HEINDL @dienachbarin
fashion assistants: FANTIN LOUZIER & REZA ZHIANI @fantinheiberg @reta_zhiani
editor: TIMOTEJ LETONJA @timiletonja
cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN @arthurroeloffzen
thank you Sherwood Management @sherwood_mgmt_pr / EMILY SHERWOOD @emzsherwood