This month 19 years ago this article came out – with the headline “ex soapie star becomes a charity headcase” (link click-able and safe to read) and indeed this is what I became.

Now I am in the gigantic process of ending this charity head case cycle.

It sounded cute when I was in my late 20’s, now, admittedly on the edge of 5 decades (holy trucking moly – did I just say that), I did indeed; I’m not cowering away from celebrating that this being – me, Nicola Ann Jackman, born 29th August 1974 – is in her last two years of 5 decades.

The sneak peak of my story, the little more detail which I seek to share right now – is this one from my birthday month in 2003.

I’d just left the role of “Elise Buller” (the girl-next door character I played from episode 1 in Isidingo). For three years I played this role and the role of (what I thought was) celebrity in South Africa.
Let’s just say – I definitely dived deeply into the ego.
Quick pause, for an inspiring quote that lingers, longing to be shared…

“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.”

Carl Jung

Now around the time of this article (linked above), I had just come through one of the biggest shift’s of my life.

I had just had a miscarriage. Thank God – not a human death, but honestly a very painful loss nonetheless. I’d experienced a business venture epically fail. I was left psychologically shattered and furthermore a wonderful 180 thousand rands worth of debt.

I had left the local South African soap-opera “Isidingo”, intent on trying my hand at producing. I had spent a year and all my savings and made a pilot of a travel program. Failing to find funding, or a distributor, for what I can now see was for my first ever Reality TV show format, I was thrown deep into a dark and dismal place.

Worth noting that even actors don’t act so well, when they’re depressed, as that despair leaks into all your characters.

So this “charity head case” article in 2003 – was a relaunch of me – so to speak. I was following a deep calling in me, “ That if I serve humanity, I’ll rise again”.

Let’s be clear. The great self-loathing despair, for not succeeding with my dream – was still present. I recall some epic drool cries, you know where you cry so hard that you just don’t care if saliva and snot pour out of you, alongside the rivers of tears, in my apartment without furniture.

So yes, I can own it, quite selfishly, I felt a spark of light. What if I could put my troubles aside, for even a little – once a week and show up with joy – for those that actually have even more need than me.

And there it was. I launched myself around the time of my crown birthday, and became a charity head-case and shortly after The UPliftment Programme (the UP – like UP – not down) was born.

Every week, sometimes twice a week, I’d throw all my troubles aside, and show up with a little face paint, a giant heart and share joy with children in hospitals and homes. This evolved to training hundreds of others to do the same.

Looking now at this uplifting 18 year old organisation, I feel a bit like a proud Mummy, deeply transformed by this extraordinary child’s life.

So I guess as The UP has come of age, so have I and so once again in my Birthday month, 19 years later – I am publicly re-birthing myself again.

This time I’m redefining myself – with immense gratitude for all the learnings, I am releasing the charity head case model and becoming a thriving Impact Producer, with a heart for philanthropy.

Watch this space… and thanks for the sUPport!!!

See how far we’ve come with The UP here.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *