What a year it’s been! As some of you already know I was, in a previous life, a Civil Litigation Lawyer turned Actress and Jam-Maker. Happily, and after a long stretch of hard work, a few all-nighters and persistence, I finally launched My Jam back in July this year.
And it just so happened that a few weeks later, I unexpectedly landed my big breakthrough supporting role on a major movie “Madame” by LGM and Studio Canal, with big names like Harvey Keitel, Toni Collette and Rossy de Palma starring! So I spent most of August in Paris filming on the set of Madame. And I managed to get My Jam some screen time also!
However, getting this big break was not something that I could have possibly anticipated as I walked into my local job centre in Edinburgh only a few months before. Having lived in New York for the last 5 years studying and pursuing acting, I returned to my hometown of Edinburgh which I loved and missed terribly, and I just wanted to be close to my family. I then applied for Jobseekers Allowance at my local job centre. Little did I know that a trip to the job centre would eventually lead to me getting my big break on a major movie. I’m just so thankful to my Adviser at the Job Centre, because had it not been for him I never would have gotten this opportunity. Because actually, when I attended my first interview with him, my focus was on setting up the jam business at that particular time. But he encouraged me to also give priority to my acting and to go out and find an agent immediately. And so I did. At our next fortnightly meeting I told him that I had now found an agent and he said “Great. So I expect to see you in a big movie by the time I see you next”.
And lo and behold, within a few days, I was approached by LGM Cinema through my Agent, and was offered the opportunity to audition for the supporting role of Mandy in the movie. At the same time I busied myself with setting up the jam business, and managed to launch it just before leaving for Paris to take on the role of Mandy. I took a few jars of My Jam with me to Paris.
During filming there was a breakfast table outside with an amazing spread of food laid on for us every morning where people could just help themselves to some breakfast such as croissants, baguettes, cold meats, cheese and jam. On one of the mornings My Jam went on the breakfast table for the very first time for the cast and crew to try. I have to admit though, as I handed over a couple of jars of My Jam to one of the crew members who offered to take it to the table, I do remember feeling a bit intimidated by the Pot of Bonne Maman Jam already sitting there quite smugly. And with good reason in my opinion, because it’s pretty damn good! And I hadn’t failed to notice that the Bonne Maman jam seemed to be a daily fixture atop the breakfast table every morning up until that point. Everyone loves Bonne Maman! When I did Market Research prior to launching My Jam, I asked people what their favourite jam was. Most of them said Bonne Maman. So I did have a brief moment of doubt wondering whether My Jam would be up to par alongside such a confiture giant.
To my relief and delight, they all loved it, and everyone was saying how amazing the jam was. The jam from both My Jam flavours was all gone within half an hour! With Paris being the home of Gastronomy, I was so happy and encouraged by their positive response to My Jam. I recall Toni Collette arriving on set just after it was all finished, and she came up to me and said that everyone could not stop talking about it, and that she was disappointed that she’d missed the jam.
Then several weeks later on set, I saw a tray on the kitchen table with tea and toast to be used in a particular scene. I decided to be bold at the last moment and asked the director if I could put the two My Jams out on the tray for the scene. Usually the set designer plans this some time ahead of the scene, so I thought the chances of the director agreeing to this would be slim. But I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to just ask. And surprisingly the Director said yes!