Jasmine Harman so ‘twisted by hormones’ after caesarean she didn’t realise she was mum
A Place in the Sun TV presenter Jasmine Harman, 44, on always being headstrong, finding true love, and fighting her way to a better life with the help of a friend’s special mother
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In her own words, A Place in the Sun presenter Jasmine Harman talks about what she’s learned in life.
My personality can be summed up by two of my earliest memories.
One was when my little brother started in the same nursery as me. It was the first day and he was crying and the teacher told me I wasn’t allowed to hold his hand. We were only four and two-and-a-half. I started howling that I couldn’t look after him.
The other was at primary school and we were changing for swimming. The girls had to be on one side of the room, the boys on the other – and we weren’t meant to peek.
But I did and saw all the little boys’ bottoms. So, I’m caring and loving, but also naughty and cheeky!
I’ve always been very independent.
My mum says I potty trained myself at 18 months old. I didn’t want to wear nappies any more. I was very headstrong.
At school I experienced a little bit of bullying because I wouldn’t back down on anything. People would say, ‘You think you’re better than everyone else.’
But both my primary and secondary schools were brilliant. Really diverse and multicultural. I grew up in an underprivileged area of East London, but I think in many ways that helped rather than hindered me.
I thought that if I work hard and am determined I can break the mould of what’s expected of inner-city kids who come from poverty and struggling families.
Moving to Portugal in my early 20s was a pivotal moment for me.
I became the marketing manager of a hotel spa and everything changed for me. I suddenly realised that I wasn’t stuck in my little area of London, I could go anywhere and I could do anything – the world was my oyster.
I learned how to stand on my own two feet and make the best of opportunities.
Out of everything I’ve done, my biggest achievement is breast-feeding.
My eldest, Joy, who is now six, was breach and so was born with a funny-shaped head and therefore her latch was no good. Plus, I’d had a Caesarean section, so I didn’t have any milk, although I’d planned a natural delivery at home.
In my twisted thinking – with all the hormones flying around – I felt that I wasn’t really her mum because I hadn’t given birth to her myself and I couldn’t even feed her.
It sounds so crazy now, but I was devastated. I did everything from taking medication to seeing a breast-feeding counsellor. Eventually I managed to do it – and did it until she was 15 months old – and I was so proud.
As I’ve got older, I’ve definitely mellowed.
I’m less stressed, less pushy and more accepting of myself. My motto is to be kind and considerate to other people, have integrity, follow your heart and be true to yourself.
I really regret not going vegan sooner.
I’d been a vegetarian since I was six years old, because I didn’t want to cause any harm to animals. They were my friends.
But it took three more decades for me to realise how horrific and cruel eggs and milk are in their production. It’s brilliant that veganism is becoming more and more popular, whether it’s for moral or just for health reasons.
My true love is my husband Jon (Boast) – a cameraman I met on my very first day of filming for A Place In The Sun over 16 years ago.
He’s been so supportive of me over the years, through thick and thin. He makes me feel like I can be as comfortable with him as I am when I’m on my own. Sharing my life with him is pretty good.
Although my first love was the Karate Kid. I had such a crush on Ralph Macchio. I was obsessed with him and convinced I would one day meet and marry him.
Without my friend’s mum Nikki, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
She has been my biggest influence. Nikki is a very smart, independent woman who has always inspired me. She’s the mother of a school friend, who I really love.
While we were at school, Nikki started her own business, a women’s gym and health club. I actually did work experience at one of her clubs when I was 14, and when I finished school, I got a job in one too.
And I lived with her when I left Portugal to return to London to pursue my TV career. Nikki has looked after me throughout my life. She has been with me for every step of my career.
My parents were always loving and gave me lots of support, but they didn’t really push me. Nikki did. She taught me that getting out of your comfort zone every day will help you achieve, even if it’s just making an awkward phone call.
She was the one who kept nudging me to send out my showreel.