I was so thrilled when I reached out to Jacks and Shawl about doing an interview and they agreed! These ladies are so talented as well as being extremely kind and supportive. I literally only regularly listen to 2-3 podcasts and lets just say theirs is one of those few. They make each podcast so much fun that after I finish listening to one I'm already looking forward to the next one!!Without further ado lets get started!
Mercy: Can you both share a little bit about yourselves?
Jacks: I’m from Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania. Mount Carmel is a really small coal region town and I loved growing up there. My brother and sister were the stars of the basketball teams that my parents coached, but I couldn’t even make the starting line up. My mom and dad encouraged me to get involved in my community theatre at a young age (I mean, I had to do something if I couldn’t play basketball!) and I’ve always loved telling people’s stories. I went to acting school and moved to New York City and I love living here.I’m a total bookworm and love learning as much as I can about a variety of subject; I’m a very curious person.
Shawl: I'm from Augusta, GA originally, went to the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) and moved to NYC as soon as I graduated. I've always known I wanted to live in New York City so the fact that now it's my home, fills me with such joy and gratitude. I grew up singing and being quite theatrical but really didn't get to pursue acting fully until I moved to the city. I also met my husband in NYC even though we both went to UGA (we met through mutual friends here) and have two rescue dogs and a daughter who are the lights of our lives. I really enjoy learning about people, consume a lot of television and film especially Hallmark movies, reading is my go to way to relax and really cherish the time I have particularly on the weekends being with my family. I also have the privilege of being stay at home with my daughter a few days a week and that was always a big personal priority of mine when I had children, I wanted to have the ability to spend quality time raising them and that's been a true blessing.
Mercy: What started your interest in podcasting?
Jacks: I love listening to podcasts about a variety of subjects, am obsessed with Hallmark movies, and love chatting with Shawl! Shawl and I knew we wanted to collaborate on something together, so creating The Bubbly Sesh seemed like a natural fit.
Shawl: I also really love podcasts and have my go to ones that make me laugh or ones that I choose so I can reflect. When I found out that Jacks loved Hallmark movies as much as I did, I pitched her the idea that we should do a podcast because we both wanted to creatively collaborate on something and as she mentioned, this seemed like the perfect fit. Jacks decided to come on as talent and I produced the show solely before we came to Hallmark. I learned how to edit, created our social media, booked talent, engaged with other fans via twitter during live tweet parties on Hallmark premiere nights and tried to get us press. It's amazing to me that this profession found me and that it was born out of friendship, storytelling, passion and the need to create.
Mercy: What was your first thought when Hallmark brought you on as the official podcasters?
Shawl: 100% what Jacks says is absolutely right. We truly felt like Hallmark heroines when we walked into the New York City headquarters! I had emailed Bill Abbott and Michelle Vicary in December and basically pitched them our show or even just asked if they wanted to collaborate since they had just come out with a Hallmark official podcast. I thought to myself, what's the worst that could happen, they don't write back? But, they did! Bill Abbott set a meeting with us and has championed us from the get-go so that's been so empowering. The fact that our hardwork and talent got us here and that Hallmark believes in us makes for a great relationship. It means so much to be welcomed into the family so wholeheartedly.
Mercy: What are each of yours' top five favorite Hallmark Christmas movies?
Jacks: This is such a tough question but a great one! While it’s hard to narrow it down, I would say right now my top 5 Hallmark Christmas Movies are Christmas in Evergreen 1 &2 (I’m thinking Christmas in Evergreen might get added to that list this year), Christmas Under Wraps, A Very Merry Mix Up, and A Royal Christmas.
Shawl: Mercy! Don't do this to me! Okaaay hmmm if I must pick, ones I love to watch over again are: 1. Snow Bride 2.Christmas in Evergreen (that was The Bubbly Sesh's first recap episode before we were Hallmark official!) 3. Nine Lives of Christmas 4. Switched at Christmas 5. A Shoe Addict's Christmas
Mercy: You both acted in your first Hallmark Channel Movie this year, what was that like?
Jacks: It was so exciting! When Shawl and I got the news we were in our podcasting studio and I was so thrilled and surprised that I fell out of my chair. Being on set was a lot of fun. We had an incredible team of people working on the movie and even though we were only on set for a few days, we developed such a close bond with everyone. Love, Fall & Order was full of fall foliage and had so many cozy autumn vibes and we filmed it during 95 degree heat, which was pretty hilarious to be all bundled up when we were sweating like crazy. I loved getting to be a leaf peeper with my partner in crime, Shawl, and we totally got to rock a bull horn together and carry our Leaf Peeper sign. The Bubbly Sesh gals always loves a good prop!
Shawl: We just had a blast! It was so much fun! I'm a big fan of the show Gilmore Girls and Love, Fall and Order felt like a sort of Gilmore Girls type setting. I felt like a leaf peeper would be in the town of Stars Hollow so for me, playing a quirky, upbeat character like that was thrilling and sort of a dream of mine. Plus, we got to be a part of a Farmer's Market scene and if anyone listens to the podcast that reads this, you know that I live for a festival or any event in the Hallmark movies. And to top it all off, I got to do it with my friend and co-host, Jacks?! Icing on the cake. Additionally, since we've been interviewing regularly so many Hallmark actors and actresses, it was really nice to see what they had been talking about in terms of the set feeling like a family. The group of people on and off camera were truly delightful. I felt like I've become friends with several of them and from being a working actor, I know that's not always the case especially when you have a small part. It was a very special experience and one that I will remember forever.
Mercy: Hallmark movies (especially Christmas one's) have become traditions for so many people/families. Why do you both think they appeal so much to so many people?
Jacks: Hallmark Channel is my happy place. I know I can put on a Hallmark movie and feel good. Hallmark Channel Christmas movies get people in the holiday spirit and it’s something the whole family can share in together.
Shawl: I think Hallmark has this unique way of making people feel in all honesty, loved. It's a true source of comfort for those that might be going through a hard time or feeling down and conversely, if you are in a good place, it just adds to that happy state of mind. I know for me personally, I'm always watching the news (my husband works in news so it's on in our house a lot) and with the political climate we are in and various challenging things going on globally, it's really nice that I get to turn on Hallmark Channel and feel all the feels and not feel the weight of the world around me. Not to mention, the romance. Not to sound cliche, but, I mean, who doesn't love, love? Love makes the world go around. I think with the Christmas movies they are extremely special because they serve as feel good escapism, they are beautiful to look at and have so many nostalgic moments that people reflect on. It's also incredible to me that there is a network out there where any generation from my family can watch. From my three year old to my 82 year old Dad! It's really wonderful that they provide movies that can be generational viewing.
Mercy: What do you each like to do in your free time?
Jacks: I love visiting my hometown to see my family and my friends that live back home. Once a coal region girl, always a coal region girl! My sister and I have a board game company called Bundle (we even made a Countdown to Christmas game with Hallmark Channel this year!) so I love playing games - escape rooms give me so much joy! I’ve also recently become obsessed with going to magic shows - I get such an adrenaline rush from it. I also love playing with my cat Moriarty. My boyfriend and I adopted him after I met him when he was training for Kitten Bowl and he is just the best!
Shawl: I really enjoy walks in our neighborhood park with my husband, daughter and dogs. I also
love family vacations especially when not only my nuclear family but when my whole family gets to go. I feel really lucky that we get to visit with our families so often since they live in the South. I also really dig a good binge watch, curling up with a good book usually a fantasy romance, fiction or re-read of Anne of Green Gables (my favorite book series and ultimate literary heroine), supporting animal rescue/advocacy and having a solid phone chat or girls night with good friends. And yes, sometimes I deep dive on cute animal videos on Buzzfeed...don't judge me!😉
Mercy: Favorite Christmas Tradition/s?
Jacks: Going to mass with my family
Shawl: Being with family, eating peppermint chocolate bark and watching a movie together that night.
Mercy: Favorite Christmas song?
Jacks: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and All I Want For Christmas is You
Shawl: All I Want for Christmas is You (Mariah is a goddess) and It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Mercy: Favorite Christmas food?
Jacks: My grandma’s mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and potato salad. (Can you tell I love carbs and potatoes?)
Shawl: Bring on the dessert! Christmas cookies, pie, peppermint and chocolate bark, sticky paws, here for it all. I have sweet tooth, what can I say?
Mercy: Favorite (non Hallmark) Christmas movie?
Jacks: It’s A Wonderful Life
Shawl: Love Actually and The Holiday
Mercy: Favorite Christmas Memory?
Jacks: The first year my boyfriend and I started dating, he was going back to England for Christmas and I was going home to Pennsylvania. We were only dating for a few months so he hadn’t met my family yet, but he found my sister’s contact info online and sent her an email that he had a gift for me that he wanted to have under my family’s tree on Christmas morning. The gift was old fashioned type writer and was huge and heavy, wrapped in glitter wrapping paper that got all over my sister’s clothes when she was taking the train home. It was hilarious because there was so much effort involved in getting that package back home to Pennsylvania, including my mom carting it around in her car, and then my dad helping me get typewriter back New York again. We all took photos documenting the journey and made a slide show sent to music, which was hilarious. It was also such a sweet, romantic gesture that took me by surprise.
Shawl: My favorite memory is bringing my daughter home for Christmas for the first time. Since she was born in October, she was only 2 months, but having her be a part of all of our traditions was so special and her "first Christmas onsie" was too cute for words. Plus, as a new Mom, I appreciated all the family TLC. When she was one year old, I was really looking forward to taking her to see Santa at the Augusta Mall because it was going to be her first time really seeing him and boy, was she not happy. 😂 But, don't worry, Santa still delivered her presents.
Mercy: White or Green Christmas?
Jacks: White Christmas - bring on the snow angels!
Shawl: Well, I always wished for a White Christmas, but I grew up in GA so that never happened so I'm used to Green Christmas, but cue: "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas...."
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Shawls' Social Media