Opera Singer cum Actress, and star of London's Phantom of the Opera, the inspirational Harriet Jones talks to L&F about life, lessons and her exciting new projects:
A lady of many talents, can you give us a short bio of what you’re up to at the moment?
A little bit of everything! Since leaving Phantom in September, I’ve been living between Germany and the UK, and travelling elsewhere for concerts. It’s really exciting for me to be able to say ‘yes’ to different types of jobs now that I am not locked into a contract. Away from singing, I’m helping to grow a new poster company with my boyfriend called Zeat Art. We create and design art work based on the audience seating plans of theatres. I’m also designing and making leather clutch bags, but right now this is more of a hobby and a de-stress method. Although lots of people are wanting to buy them, so maybe it’s something that will grow over the next year.
You have the most beautiful voice and trained as an Opera Singer, tell us a bit about how you got into acting and which you prefer!
I guess I’ve always been into acting really … it comes hand-in-hand with singing songs and telling stories. But I suppose I didn’t really understand quite how important it was until I was rehearsing for Phantom. When you’re standing on stage in the bright lights, you’re completely exposed and everyone can see if you’re faking it.
What inspires you to seize the day each morning?
It’s funny, despite my job mainly being an evening one, I’m actually a real morning person. I’m usually at my most positive when I first wake up. The worries I’ve had when tired at night seem to have sorted themselves out while I’ve been asleep.
Can you describe your average day?
This is such a hard one, because my life is very different now to how it was a few months ago. When I was playing Christine in Phantom, I was glued to London and life was all about resting a lot, eating well, keeping fit and spending A LOT of time in the theatre. Right now I seem to be in a different city every week, so the routine has gone out the window - but one thing I can be sure of is that I will be singing every day.
Do you have a beauty, fitness or health routine?
I would say the one element of those three that I am currently in control of is eating healthily. I don’t have much of a taste for junk food luckily, and if I know I’ve had good nutritious food then I can take on the world. Oh, and sleep! I’m useless without sleep.
What would be your dream role and where?
I get this question a lot, and I never really know what to say apart from to originate a role on screen or stage. It would be wonderful to be the first one to create a character; So my dream role probably hasn’t been written yet.
You travel with work all the time, what are your travel essentials?
1) Elizabeth Arden 8hr cream. I never go anywhere without this. Especially as the weather turns cold and skin dries out. I use it on my lips, nails and dry areas of skin – it’s such a useful one.
2) Bumble and Bumble invisible hairdressers oil. I’m happy to use any kind of hotel shampoo or body wash on my hair, as long as I can nourish it after with this - it makes it so soft and tangle-free.
3) Swimwear!! I always pack a pair of goggles and a suit just in case. It’s so annoying when you have the opportunity to swim or spa, but you have forgotten your stuff.
What is your ideal holiday or dream destination?
I’m about to live it! This January we are heading to New Zealand for 4 weeks. The country has everything… beautiful beaches, incredible lakes and mountains to explore, and an obsession with the outdoor lifestyle - which suits me perfectly.
Swimsuit or bikini?
Swimsuit – and this is a recent thing. I had my appendix out a couple of years ago in the middle of the summer so I bought a swimsuit to protect my scars from the sun. The scars have pretty much gone now, but I’ve never looked back in regards to the swimsuit.
Favourite thing to read on holiday?
Something to totally remove me from reality, but nothing too gripping – I go on holiday to be an explorer and don’t want to stay still reading.
How would you describe your style?
Changeable, but probably mostly Scandi. Clean cuts, lovely fabrics and sensible foot wear – I seem to walk for miles most days.
Who do you look to for inspiration and what advice would you give to your former self?
I would tell my former (and current self) not to worry so much. There is so much in life, and especially in the acting business, which is out of our control. Half the battle is to just show up and be as prepared as possible. I try and learn as much as I can from others along the way, and not take the knocks too seriously. I’ve definitely been guilty of ‘playing it safe’ in the past, which is something I’m working on changing because the people who tend to inspire me the most have all been risk-takers.