Hang on to your seats as we whirl through the multi-faceted life of business angel, film producer, movie buff, property guru, Three-time Jamaican president of Women in Film & TV, amateur painter, crafter, certified sushi-chef, scuba-diver and mother of 3 humans and 2 dogs that is Amanda López-Moleón
You have a rich multi-cultural heritage, how has that shaped your life?
It’s helped shape my life. Not only am I bi-racial myself (Indian/ Goan and Black/Jamaican) but I have added my Spanish husband´s nationality to the mix. This helps me to see things from three cultural perspectives and to be accepting of all races and cultures. I’d say I´m a “Woman of the World” so to speak.
What was it like to run your mother´s health-food business after your mother suddenly died when you were 25 years old?
It was tough at first to persuade my mother´s former staff to accept that the little girl they´d seen growing up was now going to be their boss. However, despite the initial challenges my brother and I won them over and expanded the business., which we later sold. I learned the importance of good communication, treating people well and learning how to become a inspiring leader.
You are your brother were known as the “Dynamic Duo” in the film industry in Jamaica – tell us about your career in Jamaica.
My initial plan after completing my university studies in Canada was to combine my film degree with my minor in Environmental Management. I had romantic notions of becoming a Caribbean-based National Geographic Documental filmmaker. However, as soon as I was asked to move to the rural mountains on the island to work on a sustainability project I realised that my creature comforts and amenities were more important to me! (very fickle, I know). So I opted for working in advertising making corporate TV commercials and music videos instead! I also produced and was Assistant Director for overseas productions who use Jamaica as a film location (such as BBC, NBC, Universal Studios, Warner Bros etc).
Which celebrities did you cross paths with?
In my career I have met the likes of Usain Bolt, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Mandy Moore, Jose Coronado, Javier Sarda, John Krasinski, Peter Strauss, amongst many others.
You´re a huge movie buff, what´s your favourite film?
There are soooo many- If I have to choose just one it has to be: The Gladiator by Ridley Scott. A fantastic combination of amazing cinematography, high production value (locations, costumes, art department) … with a riveting story about the constant struggle between good and evil, the rise of the underdog, vengeance, love, allegiance, devotion…and beautiful people set against a great soundtrack with high action, blood, guts and drama. It still gives me chills. We even gave our eldest son the middle name Maximo (The Spaniard) because of the film!
Do you have a professional Midas Touch? When your father got sick you built up his vet business to become the largest clinic in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
A Midas Touch? By no means!! Although I do think I treat people well; I am fair and calm, I make good alliances and all this helps to make my projects a success. Perhaps I have a keen eye for the right people for the job whether it be for a film crew, designers for our property projects or partners for Wednesday Wanderer events.
On a personal level, I chose an amazing husband who compliments me (another great alliance). Where I am weak, he is strong and where he is lacking, I am there to lift us, to complete us…making our family a success.
It’s something my parents taught me. They were polar opposites, from 2 very different cultures and backgrounds. Yet they each created historic businesses and had an incredible, successful marriage bringing us up to face the world.
And my mom always said, “Always make the world a better place for you having been there.”
I carry that through with everything I do.
What prompted you to set up the 250-strong whatsapp group, Wednesday Wanderers?
I was inspired by my own experience of wanting to explore and experience the best on offer in my new country. (Even though I had a Spanish husband who showed me the ‘ropes’). So I got a couple friends together and we started doing walks round various areas of Madrid. I called the four of us the Tuesday Trekkers. And we committed to keeping our Tuesdays free to tour together. Then we decided to offer other practicalities to the greater expat community – such as demystifying how to order in a typical Spanish butcher and fishmonger. We then incorporated numerous talents from so many stay-at-home expat parents we met through school to form workshops on topics ranging from nutrition, self-defense to cookery. It’s cool to learn! I’m a bit of nerd like that. And I love getting people connected and together! Community is very important.
In Madrid you run lots of cooking workshops, what food sums up happiness for you?
I’m a total foodie. I love it all…
But the Asian continent as a whole, is truly my favourite cuisine.
Indian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese…the list goes on.
What other hobbies do you have (& what do they provide in your life?)
I paint, I watch lots of TV series, documentaries and movies.
I craft with my kids (not as often as we would like).
I love cooking and travel really feeds my soul. I incorporate a little bit of wherever I´ve been to into my life or cooking when I get home. Exploring recharges me and I´m a firm believer in enjoying a trip or two alone, annually, with your partner (minus kids – it’s critical for couples)!
You and your husband run a commercial and residential property business in Jamaica, what opportunities do you see in the country?
Jamaica is a stunning country with tons of natural beauty a rich culture, vast wealth of talent and enormous potential. Tourism is becoming more refined and Jamaican music, film, cuisine and art are gathering momentum thanks to the support they´re finally receiving.
If you could wave a magic wand what would you do next in your life?
Well despite turning 50 (this May) with 3 kids I do still toy with the idea of going back to school to study Tourism and Hospitality for the sake of our villa rental business that I love. I have already got more cooking classes for myself (and my husband) lined up for this year (more Thai and starting Korean and Chinese), which also helps our tourism product in Jamaica and of course it simultaneously benefits the family, Since my kids love food also. Although, fantasy wise…. I would love to open a cooking school, or maybe a restaurant/ lounge bar of some sort. A funky little Jamaican-fusion place with a great Caribbean vibe…music and food!!
Amanda´s film quotes to live by:
Neil Armstrong in First Man…
“When you get a different vantage point, it changes your perspective…it allows us to see things that maybe we should have seen aa long time ago. “
“Every man dies, but not every man really lives”
Ferris Beullers Day Off…
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you might get.”