Julie Mango hopes to take acting from TikTok to the big screen
It’s mango time! And the sweet pickings for fruit lovers worldwide would have to be a St Julian. Juliet Bodley, more popularly known as ‘Julie Mango’, ripened in the pandemic season on the social media platform, TikTok. And already, she is fleshing out plans to take her acting talents all the way to the big screen.
Bodley told The Gleaner, “I hope to be discovered by a producer who puts me in a movie or a series on Netflix, preferably a Jamaican series about a Jamaican family living in the United States of America.”
Hailing from the parishes of Clarendon and Manchester, Bodley credits her father and uncle for her talent. Growing up, she dabbled in drama while attending high school, and joined a group by the name of Ayaedeh.
After receiving a job opportunity overseas, she left Jamaica, making seasonal visits when she grew too homesick for comfort. But the global pandemic changed everything, “The pandemic made it impossible for me to travel, and I wasn’t able to meet up with a lot of people.”
So what does this creative mind do when the world goes into complete lockdown? She opens her home to the virtual space, bringing her sweet island to her neck of the woods. There, she shares nostalgic skits that stand as cultural representations of the black, green and gold.
Riddled with satire, personality and humour, her first TikTok post was a comparative video highlighting how Jamaicans versus American conduct themselves during praise and worship. It wasn’t long before the re-enactment went viral.
Other comparative videos range from how Jamaican people give feedback at a wedding and how they give feedback at a funeral to when Jamaicans play dominoes. Her viral videos have explored topics of the resurrection, Christmas greetings across the world, Jamaica windscreen cleaners, how Jamaica children learn to count, body parts that exist in Jamaica, and many more.
“I love that I can take on different characters, and I enjoy making people laugh. Acting makes me feel limitless. I love to perform,” she affirmed, elaborating that most of her scenes are inspired by her childhood in Jamaica, as well as how things are at the moment. The one-woman show is only too happy to accept suggested content from supporters as well. Since joining the platform in December of last year, Julie Mango has garnered over 100,000 followers on TikTok, and counting. The feedback, she says, has been tremendous, with people reaching out from Jamaica, the USA and other Caribbean islands expressing delight. People in the Jamaican diaspora, in particular, revealed that Bodley brings back sweet memories of home.
Behind the scenes, it takes about an hour to act out a skit and then another hour to edit the video for airplay. Confessing that video editing is not her strong suit, she is grateful for the new skill set nonetheless.
With hopes to one day pursue an acting career full-time, Bodley would love to create an entire ‘Jamaicanized’ Bible series on Netflix, promoting different ethnic groups and reflecting on the island’s motto, ‘Out of Many, One People’.
If you haven’t yet watched a Julie Mango video on TikTok, you can expect pure comedy for the entire family. “Children can watch all of my videos because I produce clean content. The diaspora can expect to get a taste of home with every video. They can expect Bible stories done in Jamaican style,” she added.