Jane Seymour is not only an acclaimed actress, but a wonderful artist, brilliant jewelry designer, phenomenal mother of six and inspiring philanthropist. Jane’s mother taught her to always have an open heart no matter what life brings her way, which inspired Ms. Seymour to co-found the Open Hearts Foundation. This year the Open Hearts Foundation is honoring three amazing people who embody what it means to have an open heart and give back to others at the annual Open Hearts Gala at Jane Seymour’s home in Malibu on Saturday, May 9th.
With the Open Hearts Gala nearly upon us and Mother’s Day less than a week away, Jane Seymour was kind enough to join me for an interview to discuss how her late mother Mieke Frankenberg has inspired her, how she inspires her own children and the Open Hearts Gala.
Candace Rose: How has your mother inspired you in your personal life and your career?
Jane Seymour: “My mother was very inspirational, and not just to me but a lot of my friends as well. She became almost like a surrogate mother to a lot of people I knew. She really was a very wise woman. She survived World War II as a prisoner of war in a Japanese concentration camp in Indonesia for three and a half years, and having survived that she decided that she wanted to go and have a life, so she found a way to ultimately be able to forgive and move forward. She used to tell me and my sisters that in life there would be challenges and it didn’t matter how big the challenge was, but your natural instinct would be to close off your heart and keep it to yourself; but if you could somehow open up your heart, accept what had happened and somehow reach out to help someone else, quite often from your unique perspective having been through something that they shared, that purpose and ultimately love would come into your life. That was the way we grew up, that was the way our friends responded very positive. My mother lived that way her whole life.
One day I was painting and I came up with this image of two hearts that connected that both happened to be open. I thought how wonderful it would be for me to have a necklace like that and to have something to touch and feel that would remind me that I had to keep my heart open to a lot of different circumstances as change would happen in life and as we know that’s the story of life, it’s all about change and how you handle it.
I wore it when I did “Dancing With The Stars” (a single necklace) and then the people from Kay Jewelers saw it and said ‘What’s that?’ I said it’s a great message, and I’ll design you some jewelry but the most important thing is to get this message out there. It’s just so exciting to me now because really get it. People understand what it means. We have a foundation so we’re able to raise money and awareness for various different charities and people who have opened their hearts.”
Candace Rose: You’re a wonderful mother of six children. In what ways do you try and be an inspiration to them?
Jane Seymour: “I think the best way to be an inspiration is not to tell them things and tell them what to do, but to let them find themselves, but hopefully walk the walk. If you want them to behave nicely to people, be polite, work hard, have a passion for things, make healthy choices, you’ve got to do it yourself. There’s no amount of telling them that doesn’t work.
I think the other thing that’s really important when you’re a mother is always be available to listen because people want to be heard, and people are very often not heard. I think especially in this generation everything is so quick – next, next, next. There’s not time to actually be able to listen to the silence in a conversation. I think it’s really important to hear what other people have to say, to be heard and to listen well.”
Candace Rose: What is the Open Hearts Foundation and what can you tell us about the Open Hearts Gala?
Jane Seymour: “Well, the Open Hearts Foundation is a foundation that honors people who have opened their hearts and taken the challenge and used it as an opportunity to help others. What we do is we highlight their story, their cause, and we also have a presenter that is usually well known to the public that is also in some way linked to that cause and that issue. It’s about story more than anything, but the money that comes in goes to the charity.
At the Foundation this year we’re going to have three honorees. We have a 16 year old girl called Eileen who is a young singer and she had open heart surgery since she was born. Her most recent was eight months ago and she started an organization called Beating Hearts at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She goes and she helps kids who are going through what she went through.
Paul Stanley who is the lead singer from KISS was born with a bad ear physically and in terms of the way it worked. He needed surgery and decided he wanted to help with a group called Mending Kids where these surgeons donate their time free of charge. They do the surgeries that are necessary to mend these kids.
Last but not least, we found someone through our online search – we found so many it was so hard to choose! The lady we chose was Elle (Febbo) and she was a foster kid. Her mother gave her up to the foster care system. She couldn’t handle her anymore. She went through a lot of foster homes, but at one time she came across someone from Big Brothers Big Sisters who completely changed her life, and so we tell her story and how she is not only now a philanthropist and a public speaker, but also on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Ventura.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much, Jane. Where can we go for more information?
Jane Seymour: “You can go to OpenHeartsFoundation.org and you can see what we’ve done in the past. We’ve honored Glen Campbell, Robin Roberts, and many, many more people. We always have wonderful musicians who donate their time at the event, which is going to be on May 9th this year at my home in Malibu. This year we have Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol, which is going to be fantastic. If you want to submit a story for us to read for the future, go to KeepAnOpenHeart.com.”