My mother had a profound influence on my life. She dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate than her. She traveled to do volunteer work, and during my childhood, she took me often to a nursing home in our community to help the disabled and elderly. She brought me when she volunteered with mentally handicapped children, and to the church hall where she would show a movie and make popcorn for local teens. My mother died of cancer when I was fourteen. Every day I remember her compassion and kindness, and strive for those values to guide me in my life.
I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I attended St. George’s School for Girls and then moved to a new high school, Fettes College for the next three years.
I had a passion for film and performing from a very young age.
After graduating high school, I took a gap year, and audited classes at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. After that I volunteered in Africa. When I returned to Scotland, I found an acceptance letter to Pepperdine and left home to begin my new life as a college freshman in America.
In college, I took acting classes at night, booked a few jobs and began working as an actor. I couldn’t believe I was living my childhood dream, which didn’t seem possible as a young girl in Scotland.
I found all aspects of film making fascinating, especially the nuts-and-bolts of production. I quickly learned that film-making requires dozens of contracts between producers, investors, unions, guilds, actors, crews and later, distributers and foreign sales agents among others. I realized that to become producer it would be very helpful to have a law degree. So, after graduating Pepperdine I applied to law school.
I spent the next few years attending night class at University of West LA Law School, starting with a partial scholarship, and while I knew that practicing law wasn’t my end goal, I was fascinated by everything I learned there.
By the time I graduated from law school in 2012, I had booked some more acting roles and was enjoying working as an actress, but I was also eager to produce my first film.
That October, I formed my production company, Stormchaser Films, and by January we were in pre-production on our first film.
It was my mother’s influence that inspired me to travel to Zambia when I was 18, with the hope to be of service like her. My experience in Africa was the most beautiful, enlightening and life changing experience I have ever had.
Many years later, I wrote a book based on my experiences there. My goal was to convey what a remarkable country it was and how I was personally moved by my experiences there. It was about being a naïve teenager on a big adventure who was reeling from the loss of her mother. I never imagined the book would insult anyone. I have great warmth and admiration for Zambia and her people, and was deeply dismayed and saddened that I had caused them any offense. Realizing my mistake, I immediately apologized and retracted the book.
Leaving writing books in my rearview, I returned my focus to acting and film making. I am happy to say that Stormchaser Films has a thriving slate of very exciting films in many stages of development and I am enjoying every moment of the process.
As an actress, I have a couple of movies coming out later in 2017 and am about to film the lead role in a period drama this Fall.
My other great life passion is supporting education, and the welfare of children and animals. I have served on the US board for Fettes College for several years. One year ago I was honored to become a part of the Mattel Children’s hospital board. The hospital is “designed to serve the most critically ill children with sophisticated, compassionate care in an environment that is both welcoming and healing to children and their families.” For more information on the extraordinary impact they have on children’s lives, please visit the Mattel page at uclahealth.org.
I also serve on the board of Mutt Match LA animal rescue and have been fundraising for them for nearly a decade. Mutt Match is “committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and responsible rehoming of abandoned, homeless, and unwanted dogs of all breeds.” To learn more about the inspiring work they do, visit muttmatchla.org.
I have found I am truly happiest when I embrace my mother’s message of love, acceptance and service to others – and I hope that through filmmaking and supporting the causes I care about, I can promote those values.