Sharing Stories – by Peidra-Ann James

We love hearing stories of people chasing their childhood dreams. Peidra’s story is no different. From a young age, she’s loved being behind the camera of the big screen. In this Global Postcard from Jamaica, Peidra shares her tips and advice on embracing her diabetes and chasing her career. 

Film is an art that grows with each video you make. My passion for this art started when I was a child: my father made home videos of every moment of my life growing up. Each time I saw a memory captured by his camera, I was excited to watch the end product on a CD. My passion grew from there, so by the time I was in high school, I wanted to produce my own talk show for children. 

During my freshman year, I did just that for my church’s Children Sabbath when I directed, edited, and produced my first video. Throughout my high school years, I produced many videos for various classes, and even for teachers, just as a hobby. A few months before I graduated, my teachers convince me that my passion could be my career. I’m grateful for that moment because working in media has been the greatest fulfilment in my life. 

I have won several awards as a top student at the Northern Caribbean University, but I’m truly proud and thankful to God for attaining the three trophies I won at the Lignum Vitae Film Festival earlier this year. It was for Best Cinematography (for a documentary I produced called Old School Wheelz), Best TV Commercial (Called Gucci Men) and Best PSA (for a class assignment called Do Not Text and Drive). What made it even special was the fact that two of the judges were famous cinematographers I look up to the most in the industry. 

To be honest, living with type 1 diabetes can be a challenge, especially in a hectic environment such as a film set. However, I make sure to inform some of my crew members and those in charge about my condition before the day of the shoot. There have been times when shoots are really long and I go hypo so I have to bring along snacks or something sweet to have during breaks. I appreciate the people I work with because they check on me once in a while to see if I am ok and they might break for an hour so everyone can eat and I don’t feel left out. 

Not everyone is that understanding, especially when pressed for time or it’s a live broadcast. I just make sure that I test myself very often and take my injections each time I eat. I’m now so used to it that I’m not even scared of telling anyone I have type 1. Recently, I even made a video about my life in order to educate others about life with type 1. Balancing life and diabetes took me a few years to learn and each day I’m still learning. My advice to anyone is: do what you love and never restrict yourself to the endless possibilities that are put before you. You are your only limit.

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