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Rising Star Jemma Moore: Why Humility, Vulnerability and Kindness Are The Most Attractive Qualities In a Human

Humility, Vulnerability and Kindness are the most attractive qualities in a human — If you are able to have a relationship of any kind with someone who is able to put their hands up and take ownership of what they have done because they were feeling scared, or threatened or sad (A.K.A vulnerable) etc. then […]

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Humility, Vulnerability and Kindness are the most attractive qualities in a human — If you are able to have a relationship of any kind with someone who is able to put their hands up and take ownership of what they have done because they were feeling scared, or threatened or sad (A.K.A vulnerable) etc. then that person is a diamond and you make sure you show them the same respect. I used to always feel like a person had to be so many things, these were pressures I put on myself or those I projected onto others. All you need are those three things as a base and anything else is a bonus.


As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jemma Moore. She is a 28-year-old Hong Kong-born actor, star of AMC Networks streaming service SHUDDER’s new horror movie HOST (currently 100% on rotten tomatoes) and Li in Tony Giglio’s ‘Doom: Annihilation’ for Universal (now on Netflix and Amazon) has announced a second season of her podcast ‘The HobbyCast’. The soon to be released podcast has two new co-hosts Amer Chadha Patel (The Third Day, Flack, The Windsors, Year of the Rabbit, Beecham House) and Carla McGlynn (Zombie Bashers, The Guards).

“I started The HobbyCast because I have always loved talking to new people of any age — from kids of my friends to old ladies sitting in cafes. I ask them what they loved to do, for me it was pure childlike joy for their hobbies, to see them engage in the moment and allow them that precious ‘me time’. Sometimes these would be heartwarming and humble activities and others would be wild, exciting and unheard of! We live in a fast-paced world and it’s easy to forget that it’s ok just to do something for enjoyment” JEMMA MOORE 2020

Last year, Jemma appeared as Rose Lin in the second season of BBC1’s Shakespeare & Hathaway’. She has featured in Warner Brothers production of ‘Wonder Woman’, in Richard Ayoade’s ‘The Double’ and Zawe Ashton’s ‘The Place We Go To Hide’. She is also known for her on-screen roles as Harriet in Tristan Shepherd’s ‘Among Sweet Flowers And Shades’ (winner of Best Short Live Action Narrative at Lift Off Film Festival Awards 2016) and Nika in Dutch Sci-Fi short ‘Phoenix 38’. She recently voiced Yokai hunter Mumyo in the action role-playing game NIOH 2 for Play Station 4.

Not only is Jemma known for her on-screen roles but is also an award-winning producer, winning Best Narrative Short at Let’s All Be Free Festival 2016 and Best African film at the San Francisco Black Film Festival the same year with a short film ‘Exile Incessant’. In 2017 she produced short film ‘All Of Me’, that premiered at Cannes Film Festival and was selected as one of the ‘Best Of Cannes’ shorts to screen with the Creative Market Group. The film also won the prestigious Award of Excellence at the Indie Fest Awards 2017, premiered at S.O.U.L Celebrate Connect festival at BFI London and was selected for the San Francisco Black Film Festival, Palm Springs Short Fest and Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival.

Alongside Caroline Ward she recently set up a production company, It Girls Productions, that values a film culture that is sincere and honest when delivering diversity and equitable practices. For every production they will commit to this making sure they are mindful in hiring, paying and communicating with all cast and crew. The pair have already created and are starred together in comedy short film ‘Stalling It’. The film hit the festival circuit this year teaming up with Festival Formula and have already made the official selection of Indie Film Fete 2.0 from The Creative Alliance Show (winning the People’s Choice Award) and the Woods Hole Film Festival. Jemma will also be appearing in ‘Multiplex’ written and directed by Jed Shepherd (Dawn of The Deaf/Salt) and ‘Behind The Mask’ written by Amer Chadha-Patel and Elena Saurel directed by Simon K Matthews.

Jemma, who lives with dyslexia, moved from Hong Kong at the age of 3 and grew up on a farm in Herefordshire. From an early age, she rode horses and competed in show jumping and eventing which she loved. At school weirdly she used to walk pigs and take them to county shows! Prior to acting in her early teens, she was scouted to be a model and made several commercials.

She went to Queen Mary’s University London to study English and drama, after which she was successful in obtaining a Masters Degree at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Whilst at Uni she was chosen to be a stunt double for Gemma Chan in the film ‘Jack Ryan’ (Kevin Costner/Kenneth Brannagh/Chris Pine/Keira Knightley). Only 3 years ago, in 2017, she became the very first international actor to win the ABC discovers competition. She was flown to the US by Disney’s ABC to meet the casting team, which led to a year-long talent deal with the company.

Jemma has a passion for kickboxing but loves all sports and has also just started playing the ukulele. Jemma identifies as pansexual and lives with her boyfriend Tom and puppy Percy in North London. She actively supports the ‘Help Refugees’ charity for which she raises money for them by hosting events.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Iwas born in Hong Kong and came over to the UK when I was around 3 years old. I grew up on a farm surrounded by lots of animals and nature and would make lots of mud pies (and make my parents eat them — pretend of course). I loved to horse ride and would compete in lots of competitions, this included many early mornings mucking out the stables and long hard days fixing fences in the fields. I used to want to be a tractor when I was really little but my mum told me that, that wasn’t a viable job so next I suggested a cheese taster, also not a viable job apparently. At primary school, I had a wonderful drama teacher called Sally Mence and she inspired me to act. Sadly she is no longer with us but she was a wonderful teacher who gave me a lot of confidence to perform. I also used to love playing video games as a kid, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mortal Kombat and Donkey Kong were some of my favourites. My brother Edward and I would also spend hours with our Lord of the Rings figurines reenacting dramatic battle scenes from the films. Because I lived in the countryside I didn’t really have that many friends living nearby (I went to boarding school so my friends lived all over the country). So I used books to escape and to go on adventures with the characters, my favourite was The Edge Chronicles fantasy novel series by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. I then used to draw and act out scenes from the books and pretend to go on adventures in the garden.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have always loved to perform for my parents, every other day I would make them sit down and watch dances to the SPICE GIRLS or make them pretend to eat mud pies from my bakery or help me hide from trolls in our back garden. I just loved to use my imagination, then one very hot day in the summer holidays, me and my brother watched Lord of The Rings and I just fell in love. I wanted to do what they did, live in those worlds, with those characters using my imagination. It was at that moment I knew that acting on screen was the only thing I wanted to do.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

When I got cast in the first Wonder Woman, I was already training as an action rider. One day Nina Armstrong who was managing us all came up to us after horse sword training and told us that that afternoon we and the horses in full costume were to go down to Warner Bros studios to audition for the producers and director Patty Jenkins. When we got there it was pouring with rain and we were all riding under a marquee, next to the Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts set and Patty Jenkins and the producers were standing in the middle. They then came down the line of horses and talked to us and shook our hands and we auditioned there and then for them. The next day Nina came up to me in the yard with a huge smile, pulled me to one side and told me that they had cast me as queen’s guard. I believe once Nina had walked off I did a wee wiggle on the spot.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I flew into Bulgaria (which by the way is such a beautiful country if you have never been) to film DOOM: ANNIHILATION with Universal I was so excited and nervous that I was too busy chatting away when I first met everyone that I didn’t even look down at what I was eating. By the time I had got three-quarters of the way through I realized that the chicken in my sandwich was not cooked properly. The whole rest of the afternoon I was super anxious, and then I started to find it hilarious. I kept introducing myself as ‘Hi, I’m Jemma, I’ll be playing Li. I ate raw chicken earlier so who knows what’s going to happen in the next 24 hours.’ And to this day me and the cast still have a giggle about it. The lesson I learned was too never take life too seriously, to own your mistakes and to ALWAYS glance down at what you’re about to eat.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

They’re all secret. Although I can tell you about one, Caroline Ward’s and my production company IT GIRLS PRODUCTIONS LTD will be pitching a comedy short-form series off the back of STALLING IT (the pilot) doing the rounds on the film festival circuit.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Imagine if the world was just grass and pigeons (bear with me with this analogy), no different types of flowers or animals or anything. We need diversity to enrich our lives and to make life more magical and worth living for.

So for me, having diversity represented in films means:

1. Less ignorance — so we do not stereotype and are mindful towards others.

2. Less isolation — so everyone is able to see themselves and feel included.

3. More empowerment — so people feel confident about who they are and what they stand for.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Be patient — You don’t always need to rush, you can take your time to be mindful about what you are going to do. As I have got older I have learned that people actually respect you more if you take a step back to really consider things. They have more trust in you and most importantly you have really had time to consider what you want.

Don’t take on too many things — It’s okay to be picky with your choices. If you take on too many things, you are unable to do them all to a high standard, it brings on more stress and you ultimately get burn out. I still do this because work comes in dribs and drabs and sometimes when I think it’s going to be quiet it just gets busier and busier. I’m always able to do it but sometimes at the cost of my own health and your health is priority no.1.

Listen — most of the time the answers to questions you’ve not even asked will come if you just listen. Listening (and that also doesn’t have to be with your ears, you can be reading books, articles etc. or reading body language) is one of THE MOST important attributes a person can have. I wish I had listened more when I was younger, to my gut, to my instincts, to what people were really saying and to my mum (she really does know what’s best sometimes).

Failure can be fun — failure has such a bad reputation, I never understand this because it is often the making of great people. I used to be so scared of failure and that it prohibited me from doing so much. Now I look forward to it, because I know there is so much growth in failure and growth is very exciting.

Humility, Vulnerability and Kindness are the most attractive qualities in a human — If you are able to have a relationship of any kind with someone who is able to put their hands up and take ownership of what they have done because they were feeling scared, or threatened or sad (A.K.A vulnerable) etc. then that person is a diamond and you make sure you show them the same respect. I used to always feel like a person had to be so many things, these were pressures I put on myself or those I projected onto others. All you need are those three things as a base and anything else is a bonus.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Get at least 7 hours of sleep at night! That is my biggest struggle and something I am constantly in competition with, everything is better with lots and lots of sleep.

Prioritize, what and who is important in your life. Know when to call it a night when you know you’ve got big meetings later in the week. Learn that good friends and family are there for life, jobs come and go.

Drink water and eat well. C’mon, we’re all bad at drinking enough water, but boy do we feel so much better if we do. I know it can be boring, but eating well really makes you feel good even if that’s having a random side of broccoli with a burger.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF. If you do burn out please, please, PLEASE resist beating yourself up for not getting all the things done or for feeling overwhelmed. Take a second, breathe, make a cup of tea and start small… maybe write five things you’re grateful for. Life is hard enough without you having a go at yourself too.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Right now I believe it is my place to champion many movements more so then create a new one. There are many that need a lot of support but here are some I am trying to educate myself more on and learn how I can use my time more wisely to help:

Black Lives Matter

Environment

Help Refugees

Transgender Rights

LGBTQI+

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My parents because they gave me everything they could (whilst sometimes sacrificing things for themselves) and raising children is HARD. They were kind, patient and have always supported me in everything I do (except for wanting to be a tractor or a cheese taster, but i’ll let that go).

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

‘If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try, try again’

My dad used to say this to me as a child and it has really stuck with me. To be creative, to be an actor, to be a human, resilience (and patience, if I may add) is the key to my success. There’s this image of two miners digging for diamonds, in one photo, one of the miners has turned around to go back home inches away from finally digging up their treasure. Meanwhile the other has persisted and will reach it because they have not given up. If you don’t try or you don’t keep going you never know what could have happened.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Jackie Chan in an old Hong Kong cafe eating cocktail buns (雞尾包) and drinking iced lemon tea! I used to love watching martial arts films as a kid and he was big-time to me and my older brother (can I invite my brother too?).

How can our readers follow you online?

THE HOBBYCAST

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-hobbycast/id1503653670

Twitter: @jemma__moore @thehobbycast

Insta: @jemma_moore @thehobbycast @itgirlsproductions

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jemmamargeritamoore/

www.jemmamoore.com

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Thank you so much for your time.

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