On the Couch with Joel Jackson

AAR OTC Joel Jackson photo by Rebecca HitchWho is Joel Jackson?
Actor, writer and musician. Part dreamer, part adventurer, part practical handyman and part full-time student of life. I’m quite a mixed bag of life experiences and I’m very proud of my collective scar tissue that now allows me to connect to the stories of others and inhabit them for a living.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Feel the fear, and do it anyway.

Who inspires you and why?
My sisters. To know that my entire DNA is shared with such wonderful people humbles me daily. Watching on from the sidelines as they raise a family, study fastidiously and work tirelessly to provide the best possible lifestyle and education for their kids, while I wear make up and costumes for a living, all while being absolute weapons and hilariously brilliant is really quite inspiring.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Listen more. Epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth, so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” When we allow ourselves to step outside our own sound bubble and confirmation bias, we hear the perspective of another and the more we stretch ourselves to see the world through someone else’s eyes the kinder and more empathetic we can become. That’s what acting is essentially; listening. But, I’ve found as I’ve gotten older too that the more I’ve listened in situations fraught with risk or emotion, the better the outcome – always.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Home. If I had one destination to choose for the rest of my days it would be home. It’s where the best parts of me go to soar and where the parts of me that I’ve lost in the melee of living life on the road can be found. I don’t like sitting still, not because I fear my own thoughts or I can’t stand inactivity but because our bodies and minds were made to move and to be engaged in complicated tasks. It’s in our design.

I love hearing the stories of my heritage, how hard they worked and how they were always on their feet, tinkering and creating. I owe them a wealth of gratitude for the curiosity I inherited. Whenever I go home to the farm there’s always something to build, fix or invent and most days I really do yearn to be with my folks silently working beside one another.

Cuppa in hand, dirt under our nails, facing the brisk morning or the heat of the midday sun and laughing in the face of the endless complications, but striving on regardless. That’s my idea of a holiday, hard work is good for the soul.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The sunset. There’s nothing quite like a Western Australian sunset. It’s even better in the desert, but I’ll settle for the bright pinks and purple hues of the Perth sunsets over Cottesloe or at Port Beach any day. I’ve decked out my truck with a camp kitchen in the back, so my flex is to cook everyone a damn good steak dinner from back of the truck while they enjoy a beer or cocktail and dig their toes into the sand as the sky dances with colour. My heritage is indigenous and I really enjoy holding space for visitors to experience that inimitable presence that is Noongar Boodjar.

What are you currently reading?
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.

What are you currently listening to?
Anything by Ludovico Einaudi.

Happiness is?
In the words of Johnny Cash, “This morning with her, having coffee.”

What does the future hold for you?
Writing. Performing. Laughing. Learning. Maybe a few f%@k ups, but most definitely some huge wins. I’ve been working really hard in this profession for ten years now and it’s time to put to good use that experience, passion and tireless Labrador energy

Joel is appearing in The Pool by Steve Rodgers, presented by Black Swan Theatre Company, in association with Perth Festival, at Bold Park Aquatic Centre from 9 – 25 February 2024.

Joel is also in Barracking for the Umpire by Andrea Gibbs, at Subiaco Arts Centre 23 April – 5 May, which will tour to regional WA in May and June 2024.

Image: Joel Jackson – photo by Rebecca Hitch