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An Afternoon with Jane Seymour

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 Veronica and Jane

For more than 30 years, Jane Seymour-mother of six, actress, writer, designer, painter and activist, has enchanted audiences worldwide. While these many accomplishments have kept the 58-year-old entertainer busy, they have not kept her from devoting much of her time to her lifelong goal of helping others.

During a recent interview at the Seaview Marriot Resort & Spa in Galloway Township, New Jersey, Seymour’s desire to help others was obvious while she participated in a fundraiser for The First Tee of Greater Atlantic City. This organization introduces local, and sometimes at risk children, to the game of golf. “Life is all about challenge, and the opportunity that comes from it and how you handle it,” she explains. “I mean, you may hit the best shot of your life, and then have way too much confidence and miss the final shot. Or you can just stay in the moment, accept that you are where you are, and do the best you can under the circumstances. I can’t think of a better program to mentor kids.”

Seymour herself faced challenges as a child. While striving for her own dream of becoming a ballerina in England, she was told that she had flat feet and a speech impediment. However, this did not stand in the way of Seymour, who won a Golden Globe for her role as “Dr. Michaela Quinn” on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She has also appeared in the iconic James Bond film Live and Let Die, the cult classic Somewhere in Time and the hit comedy Wedding Crashers.

However, life was not always a whirlwind of good fortune for Seymour, as she shared with me her near-death experience. While playing the role of “Maria Callas” in “The Richest Man Alive,” she was battling bronchitis and says she was given an overdose of medication via a shot that went into a vein instead of muscle. “I realized you take nothing with you, other than the love you’ve shared with other people and the difference you’ve made,” Seymour said.

A sentiment Seymour learned from someone very special in her life: her mother. “My mother had always said to me, ‘Darling when life gets tough and you think something’s insurmountable, go out and help someone else..” She has always remembered those words and has continued to live the mantra throughout her career. Even now in these troubling economic times, Seymour is setting an example and encouraging others to lend a helping hand, overcome the obstacles they face and to open their hearts.

Ironically, in 2007 Seymour was given the opportunity to compete on Dancing With the Stars. Seymour’s mother had the opportunity to watch her daughter make her dream of dancing a reality, but the experience was bittersweet. “I knew my mother was dying,” she explains. “It was really hard for me to deal with losing her, not being able to talk to her because she had a stroke. At the same time, I was far away and doing this competition, which she had insisted I do.”

So Seymour, who has also painted for 18 years and showcases her art across the country, coped through expressing herself on canvas. “I had started painting these hearts, and every time I painted them they were left open, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Gosh, that’s curious, that’s really what my mom always taught me. That’s really kind of how I lead my life.”

Eventually, the heart became a double open heart, which Seymour had made into a necklace, a token she first wore on Dancing with the Stars to honor her mother. She says Kay Jewelers saw the broadcast and loved it. “I told them this was not about jewelry, per say. This was about really encouraging people to find a way to deal with challenges in their lives, and to deal with change in their lives.”

Seymour believes it is fitting that she now has a jewelry line called Open Hearts, a quality she has always talked about. “Now, there’s a visible piece of jewelry that people can identify with,” she explains. “If you can open your heart, you can let out yesterday and whatever negative things there are there, be in the present moment and receptive to something new that may come into your life. At the same time, opening your heart and connecting with someone means that you can help other people. And in doing so, you help yourself .”

While it may seem that this remarkable woman has done it all, Seymour will tell you, she hasn’t just yet. Even with four movies due in theatres soon and the impending launch of her home furnishing line, Seymour is determined to make her Open Heart design a universal symbol of giving and receiving love. Which at the end of the day, she believes, is what it’s all about.

For more information on Jane Seymour visit: www.janeseymour.com

For more information on The First Tee of Greater Atlantic City, or to find a chapter near you visit: www.thefirstteegac.org