A Day With… Amy Jackson

by Ceylan Kumbarji
A Day With... Amy Jackson

Amy Jackson first found fame when she won the title of Miss Teen World 2009, and since then she’s been unstoppable. Her career started when Bollywood director A. L. Vijay noticed Amy and immediately she was cast as the female-lead of Amy Wilkinson in Tamil-language period drama, Madrasapattinam. Amy was just 16 at the time and celebrated her 17th birthday in India, on set for the first time.

Her whirlwind career in Bollywood has allowed her to really learn her craft and ten years later, she hasn’t looked back once. Recently, Amy has gone from Bollywood to Hollywood, playing the role of Saturn Girl on CW’s Supergirl. “It’s such a nice environment on set – there’s so much girl power,” she tells us. “There are some big male actors on the show, but they do take the side-line. They allow that to happen which is great.”

She’s keeping her feet on the ground in London for a little while, particularly now she has recently announced her pregnancy! As well as this beautiful news, she’s working on some presenting work and will be very much enjoying her engagement to her fiancé George Panayiotou and her pregnancy journey.

We spent a girly day with Amy at the gorgeous ME by Melia in London. We chatted movies, wedding planning and female representation in the industry.

“I really believe in a good support system and having those people around you but I also think you have to be confident in yourself to be able to deal with things on your own… Knowing yourself, understanding yourself and realising that it’s just that point in time that being on your own seems like a big deal. It’s completely okay to feel these emotions.” – Amy Jackson

Taylor Magazine: How did you get into acting and how did that journey begin for you?

Amy Jackson: I was 16 and was studying at that time but to be honest, I wasn’t big on drama purely because I was quite shy and it didn’t come naturally to me. So, when I got the offer for my first film, it was a complete shock! Because of the storyline and the casting, the role of Amy Wilkinson in the film Madrasapattinamworked perfectly. I was catapulted over to India, my mum and I travelled over to Chennai just after Christmas and I celebrated by 17th birthday on set!

It was a whirlwind because compared to an acting class in school I was in India, which was a foreign country. Plus, on set it’s just manic so on top of it being a new experience, it was all very overwhelming. But I had a great team and a great director. That’s what helped me through the whole process. I fell in love with acting and the whole industry.

Taylor Magazine: What were you doing before that when you were studying? Was there anything you wanted to do in particular?

Amy Jackson: I’m very indecisive as a person so I really had no idea! I tend to just go with the flow and take every opportunity as it comes. At that time, I didn’t have a distinct direction. I just knew I liked English literature, English language, philosophy and ethics but had no clue what I wanted to do with them. This was fate and it came at the right time. I always had the intention to go back to school after my year of acting, but ten years later, that didn’t happen!

Taylor Magazine: With the acting experience, how did you adjust to it?

Amy Jackson: I didn’t know what to expect. I was doing these scenes and filming 20 hour days but never knew what the finished product would look like. I just thought, ‘Well, that’s something to tell the grandkids when I’m older – I did a film once!’ But when I saw the finished product with the edits and understood more about the industry and more about the film world in general, I started to take it more seriously and realised that it was the career path for me. I began to throw myself in at the deep end and learn my craft.

Taylor Magazine: What do you love most about acting?

Amy Jackson: Every day is different. I get bored very easily! Being an actress you have different roles, different scripts, different people and that always keeps me on my toes. It really excites me and you never know what to expect.

Taylor Magazine: And what’s the most challenging part of the industry?

Amy Jackson: There are pros and cons of always travelling and being away from home. I’m away from my family and friends a lot which is hard, but the acting isn’t necessarily hard work. That’s fun and enjoyable because it’s my passion, but it can get lonely. You can’t plan anything – your life is not your own in that sense. You’re on set for as many hours as it takes and nothing is set in stone, which is great on one side but impossible to plan the rest of your life on the other.

Taylor Magazine: Tell us about the transition from Bollywood to Supergirl?

Amy Jackson: It was a huge culture shock but I do think India moulded me into the actress I am now. I learnt my craft and Supergirl was a walk in the park after that! The auditioning phase really doesn’t exist in India because they just go off the back of your last film, so it was a bit of a shock going into the audition room. I had done an audition tape before but I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. When I was in LA three years ago shooting for Lipsy, they said, ‘Well, you might as well audition while you’re here.’ So I did, and that was the hardest and toughest phase. Once you have your role intact it’s much easier from there.

Taylor Magazine: What’s your favourite thing about being in Supergirl?

Amy Jackson: The superhero suit for sure! I had actually been to the same manufacturers before – they’ve done Men in Black, Marvel films, etc, but we also used the same designer for 2.0. The stunts were fun too! It’s such a female-orientated script and Melissa Benoist is fantastic too. She’s very dedicated as Supergirl.

Taylor Magazine: Is it important for you to be involved in something that has such strong female representation?

Amy Jackson: Hugely! In India over the last ten years it’s changed dramatically and I think that’s because of the actresses themselves: demanding different scripts and writing their own scripts so they really are represented properly. There are some really female-orientated scripts now in India and the actresses are headlining billboards, which is a big deal because it’s a very male-dominated world. Five years ago, it would never have happened – no producer would have taken a risk on it whereas now it’s expected.

Taylor Magazine: What type of character would you like to play in the future?

Amy Jackson: Lara Croft! She’s a fantastic character. I got a taste of action in a film I did in India called Singh is Bliing, which was very female-orientated and there were lots of action scenes which was so fun. The Lara Croft of Bollywood – that would be amazing!

Taylor Magazine: Who would you love to work with? Dream collaboration?

Amy Jackson: Anthony Hopkins! He is one of my favourite actors of all time. He started when he was in his 40s which is incredible. He has achieved such huge stardom and is such a fantastic actor. At any age, I actually think you learn and develop your craft which is such a beautiful thing about acting.

Taylor Magazine: How did you deal with your new-found fame and when did you realise things were evolving for you?

Amy Jackson: Honestly, it was after my first film. I had never experienced anything like that and been part of such a colossal industry. Movies are an escapism in India and once I saw the response from the audience to my first film, it had such an impact on me.

Taylor Magazine: Working such long hours on set, it must be nice to unwind. Talk us through your dream day off…

Amy Jackson: First, I would go outside. As soon as I wake up, I’d take a walk and be in the countryside. I’m obsessed with my animals so I’d have my dogs with me, go and see my horses, then have a nice Sunday roast and watch a movie at the end of the night. A chill out day!

Taylor Magazine: How do you keep up a healthy routine when you’re working and travelling a lot?

Amy Jackson: I take my resistance bands everywhere! Sometimes I’m really jet-lagged so I’ll be wide awake but I can’t be bothered to go to the gym at 4am, so I’ll just do a little work out in my room while watching a film. I’m a huge movie buff so I research lots of different films, particularly Korean or Chinese films.

Taylor Magazine: On that subject, what’s your all-time favourite film?

Amy Jackson: Hmm… I love the Godfather, Goodfellas, Scarface. Classic films mainly, I’d absolutely love to watch those back-to-back on a rainy day. Completely binge!

Taylor Magazine: Congratulations on your engagement and your pregnancy! What advice would you give on how to really make a relationship work?

“It’s the honeymoon period at the start, and then you have to learn, adapt and be willing to allow that other person into your life and accept their flaws. It’s not a fairytale and you have to deal with that together.” – Amy Jackson

Amy Jackson: I do have a bit of advice on this… purely from my own experience! George and I have been dating for four years on and off now. On and on, and then off and off. It takes that amount of time to understand a person. Also, make sure you don’t have an ego – that is a huge part. You’re still learning about each other in the first couple of years, but once you do know each other and you’re willing to take that next step with that person because you know them fully, that’s when it’s a real partnership. We still have our little tiffs, which are usually about nonsense but that’s good and it’s healthy. It’s also healthy to talk about these things and have good communication. That is the key to anything.

Taylor Magazine: Have you started wedding planning?

Amy Jackson: Of course, I started wedding planning five years ago! I was showing George my Pinterest board a couple of weeks ago for the wedding, and he was like, ‘This was pinned in 2016!’ So yes, I’ve been planning this for a while. It’s changed a lot because what you desire changes. I’ve been looking into the best options for wedding photography Charlottesville, venues, dresses, etc. but I didn’t realize how much there was to plan – even if I’ve been thinking about it for 5 years! Although he’s given me the reigns with the planning side, I still want him to be a part of it.

Taylor Magazine: When is the big date?

Amy Jackson: Next summer – 08.08.20. Very symmetrical! I’m excited for a long engagement too because that’s a really important and lovely phase.

Taylor Magazine: And travelling wise, have you been anywhere recently that you’ve really loved?

Amy Jackson: South Africa… hands down! If George was ever going to propose anywhere it was there, because it’s been my dream holiday since I can remember! We had the best time. We travelled around and did lots of different cities and the safari experience was just incredible. I also recently went to Liverpool for Ladies Day which was amazing. When I lived in the city that was our annual girl’s day out. This year I took my mum, my sister and a few of my bridesmaids. Being Scouse and being from Liverpool, it was such a huge honour to be the ambassador and represent Ladies Day.

Taylor Magazine: Where is next on your travel wish-list?

Amy Jackson: I can’t wait to go and chill so we’re planning Bali. It’ll be my first time there and I can’t wait. It’s very spiritual so I’m just going to do lots of yoga and relax.

Taylor Magazine: Tell us something no-one knows about you!

Amy Jackson: I’m going to be quite honest… I do get down and it can last for a little while. Even this morning, I was in a real pit and that’s one of the things no-one really knows because you don’t want to let your walls down or let anyone in. I think getting down is one of the main things you don’t want people to know about you. One of my main remedies is to be outside so that’s why I like that so much… to get fresh air, relax and clear my head.

“The advice I’d give to my younger self would be to take what people say with a pinch of salt. I’m a very sensitive person but I’ve learnt that in this day and age, you can’t live your life by that. Listen, take advice, but be your own person.” – Amy Jackson

Keep up to date with Amy’s latest news by following her on Instagram and Twitter.

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