Shoemaker's life showcased in film about Norfolk's diversity
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
She was abandoned on a bus in Jamaica as a toddler, has designed shoes for Kylie Minogue, sings opera and is champion of women of colour in business.
And now the incredible life of Norwich's Emily Jupp has been showcased in a short film that is part of a 'We Are One' series for Sheringham Little Theatre’s Rewriting Rural Racism project.
Ms Jupp, 39, said she hoped speaking and singing in the film would help show how people from different backgrounds and races made up the fabric of modern-day Norfolk.
She said: “I consider myself a Norfolk girl – because my adoptive family had homes and holiday homes here which I have visited since a child.
“But Norfolk can be insular because we are on the edge of the country, and not as diverse as other communities. I have experienced surprised looks when walking down a local street as a child holding my white mum’s hand. And I have had people say ‘you are very posh for a black lady’.
“But we have a fabulous mix of all kinds of people and skills in the county these days – including superb artists, scientists and writers from all kinds of backgrounds - helped by the UEA, hospital and science parks.”
After she was abandoned aged 18 months, Ms Jupp was taken to an orphanage where she was adopted by a British couple who were working there. When she was four the family moved to Bangladesh, and she went onto study drama and opera, and appeared in community theatre.
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She launched her own shoe brand, Milly J Shoes, after her brother, Dan took his own life eight years ago, and she has since designed shoes for celebrities including ITV morning host Jodie Marsh and singer Sinitta and Kylie Minogue, the latter after an appearance on The Voice in 2012.
Ms Jupp said: “I’d always loved shoes, from rummaging about in my granny’s closets for them as small child, and began designing them – not to wear but as sculpted art pieces.
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“[Kylie] has a song called Chocolate, so I made some chocolate-looking stiletto boots with the show logo, sweets and a microphone on them.”
Ms Jupp, who has a shop in Tombland called Milly J Shoes, said she hoped the We Are One films will show how people can “succeed against the odds”.
She said: “I am very lucky my background has been so diverse and my parents encouraged me not to focus too much on my race,” she said.
The films will be available to watch online from April 10 to 30 visit the Little Theatre’s website for tickets.