We had the good fortune of connecting with Jo Osmond and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jo, the decisions we make often shape our story in profound ways. What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make?
The hardest decision I have had to make professionally, was the decision to leave the cruise industry and return to tv and film. The opportunities for a female actor of 4ft 4ins tall, have always been sparse to say the least. So when I was 20 I packed up my life and flew to Barbados where i joined my first cruise ship to work as an entertainment host. Finally I was working a job where not only did my height play no factor but i was working regularly, performing every day and getting paid weekly (quite unheard of in this industry). Fast forward five years, I was completely settled in my career at sea and working for Disney Cruise line when of course the phone rang. The offer was for a six month contract in London on an upcoming Universal Pictures film. The role was to be a picture double for the actor Ian Mc Shane in the film Snow White and the Huntsman. I would be unrecognisable as I would be dressed as a man for the full six months on set, muscle suit, amour, beard and everything! Was I really about to give up my five year cruise career that I was so proud and passionate about, to live a secret life as Ian Mc Shane? As conflicted as I was at the time I also knew this was a rare occurence and needless to say if I didn’t take that risk I certainly wouldn’t have had the opportunities I have had today. Snow White and the Huntsman lead to several other film contracts, including a sequel four years later and was very much the platform to my success as a creature performer. I loved my time on ships but any actor will tell you it just takes one phone call to change your life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a British actress and child size hand model now based in LA, At 4ft 4ins tall I’m often type cast in fantasy and fairy tale roles. I stunt and body double for children as well as specialise in creature work. I love what I do and have been exceptionally lucky to be able to have on ongoing career in a very unreliable industry. I don’t believe any career is easy and I’m constantly hustling (as they say in LA!). I am always learning and trying to improve on myself and my brand and I have definatly learnt a lot about the industry since moving to America, and how the dynamic is different. But different is good. Different is something I have always embraced and something I am proud to be.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There is just so much to see and do in Los Angeles, When my British friends visit I’m always happy to show them around. Pricillas coffee shop in Burbank is a hot spot! Not just for the ambience and amazing coffee but I took one of my friends there on his first day in LA. It was crazy busy but a gentleman was leaving and offered us his table, It was only Quentin Tarantino! Made my friends entire holiday! Hiking – The hikes in and around LA are great outdoor activities which offer stunning views, a favourite of mine is the wisdom tree. Beach – This seems like an obvious option, Manhattan beach is a fav of mine as I love the bike ride you can do along the coast. The Americana in Glendale – Outdoor shopping centres are really not common in the Uk (probably due to the weather), My first visit here felt so American, It’s always impressive taking friends to this mall with the swing music playing, the fountains and lights, especially around Christmas with the giant tree and fake snow, not to mention the endless amounts of retail therapy that can be done followed by some cocktails.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In 2011 I met Jamezy Newton at the auditions for Disney Cruise Line. We were cast together as Youth Entertainment hosts, placed on the same team and on the same ship. We are still the best of friends almost ten years on and he continues to cruise currently working for Royal Caribbean. No ocean can stop us from communicating on a weekly, sometimes daily basis and we have been there for each other through the ups and downs of this crazy ride in entertainment. He’s absolutely brilliant!