India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Cover Story
November 21, 2013

Dance of the Peacock

Text by Sitanshi Talati-Parikh. Photographs by Joy Dutta. Styling by Nisha Jhangiani

Verve cover girl, British model, Amy Jackson on becoming a desi heroine

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AMY’S WAY

“It is unbelievable that I was asked to play top lead roles in films where my lines have to be dubbed!”

She’s petite for a British girl, has stunning eyes and a persistent sniffle at the cover shoot in Kashmir. When she turned 21, she felt she was growing old – and yet, she’s just embarking on a journey in Indian cinema.

The fresh-faced Amy Jackson got noticed in Hindi cinema for her role in Ekk Deewana Tha (2012), where she played a Christian girl opposite Prateik. While the movie didn’t make waves, it served to bring Jackson, a British model, to the attention of the local audience. The 22-year-old equestrian was discovered by model scouts at the age of 15, soon after which she became a Miss Teen World (2008) and Miss Liverpool (2010), seeing her modelling career track across UK and Europe.

South-Indian-cinema director, Vijay (who thought she resembled Kate Winslet in Titanic), spotted one of her pageant images on the Internet and traced her to London. She was auditioned for the Tamil film, Madras Town/ Madrasapattinam (2010), in which she played a British girl. The movie was a super hit. It led to another film, Thaandavam and Jackson is now doing Telugu films, Yevadu (due to release soon) and Shankar’s Ai. “Ever since I got the taste of acting as the leading lady, I’ve never looked back,” she says.

Jackson travels all over for her shoots but has set up home in Bandra, Mumbai. She has made friends from the fashion industry and regards the South directors as her mentors. “When I first arrived I’d just turned 17…I missed my family and friends. I’m very lucky to have a supportive family: my mum travels everywhere with me, my dad has flown over to watch me shoot. For my first ever movie, my friends organised a premiere in my hometown, Liverpool, and that was the first time they ever watched an Indian movie…they loved it!”

She finds scripts from the South to be more exciting as they offer lead and meatier roles. “While they are beautiful actresses and great dancers, I wouldn’t like to be known as merely an item girl. Maybe after I have established myself as an actor I would consider it.” The young girl who turned vegetarian overnight enjoys a dash of Indian food – minus the spice. “On a Sunday I like to chill out and watch movies all afternoon. My Indian favourites include Jab We Met, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Ghajini.” While she offers that she is currently single, she laughs, “Male attention is the same world over. Besides, I don’t see how an actress’ race or origin determines getting ‘propositioned’. I believe that things like that happen based on your character and how you portray yourself.”

India has been “life-changing” for Jackson. “India excites me. There’s no place like it in the world, and my favourite part about it, is the people. The energy; the fact that Mumbai is constantly alive and buzzing. Even if it’s 3 a.m., I know that when I look out of the window I’ll never feel alone. It’s exhilarating! It’s such a welcoming place; I love calling it my home. When I am away, I also miss the sun…after all, we don’t get much of it in England!”

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