Actor Amy McPherson is flying out to Hollywood to pursue her career as a screen star. And it is all thanks to her determination and entrepreneurship in setting up an ice-cream shop in the tourist honeypot of Hawkshead.

Bury-born Amy had wanted to be an actor as long as she remembers. 

‘From the age of about four years old, I was always performing shows for my parents and loved going to the movies. I just decided I wanted to do this,’ she recalls. 

After an itinerant childhood following her parents work, including a year in Brittany, the family ended up in the Lake District when Amy was eight. 

She took part in productions at Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale, Stagecoach in Kendal and Act Up North in Manchester. 

When she decided to seek professional training in London, she decided she didn’t want to rely on the bank of mum and dad and decided to start her own business, aged just 18. 

‘I went to Italy on holiday and had gelato. When I came back, I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice to set up an ice-cream shop,’ says Amy. 

Great British Life: Amy outside her ice cream shop in Hawkshead. Amy outside her ice cream shop in Hawkshead. (Image: Graham Binns)Amy and her mum Cheryl went to the gelato training school in Irlam to learn the Italian way. Then Amy rented a former bookshop in Hawkshead and set about transforming it. 

Her father Andy did the building work and she kept other costs down by recycling what she could and buying what she needed on Ebay, before opening in 2016. 

‘As soon as the doors opened, I knew I had done the right thing. It was busy from the start,’ she says. 

In fact, the extra creamy, thicker Italian style ice-cream has been so popular that Amy’s mum and dad, Cheryl and Andrew, gave up their business of candle-making and extended the gelato brand by opening an outlet for it in Windermere. 

And the Hawkshead outlet was so successful, Amy was able to employ staff, enabling her to live in London and attend the Identity School of Acting and the National Youth Theatre. 

It wasn’t long before her acting career took off. In 2019 she auditioned in London for the part of the lead character’s daughter in a Games of Throne prequel being filmed in Belfast. Amy got the part in Blood Moon starring opposite Naomi Watts, as her daughter. 

Great British Life: Young Amy dancing in the family kitchenYoung Amy dancing in the family kitchen (Image: Amy McPherson.)

‘She was amazing, such a talented and professional actor. I was a bit star-struck to be honest, but learned so much from watching her work,’ says Amy. 

The programme was set 5,000 years before the global TV sensation and the showrunner was Jonathon Ross’s wife Jane Goldman, known for her work on X-men: Fist Class and Stardust. It was allocated a $35 million budget. 

‘It was an amazing experience. I had been a die-hard fan of the original show, watching all the seasons. The prequel had a very sophisticated story line, and I know fans would have been really happy with it, because I was happy with it.’ 

But after the pilot, it was cancelled by makers HBO, supposedly because of concerns over it not having enough plot to sustain a series. 

Great British Life: Amy as Matta in the sci-fi television series PandoraAmy as Matta in the sci-fi television series Pandora (Image: Amy McPherson.)

Amy, now aged 27, was obviously disappointed, but not for long. On the back of Blood Moon, she got a US agent and management team, then landed another starring role as the lead-actor’s wife, alien Matta, in the US streaming Sci-Fi action movie, Pandora. 

Then just as her career was taking off, the pandemic hit. 

‘There was a lot of uncertainty, with no auditions taking place. A lot of people were scared about the future of the industry or whether they would ever work again. I went back into ice-cream mode.’ 

But the lockdowns in the UK were also a threat to tourist-driven industries. 

‘I was concerned about losing the ice-cream business, because without it, I couldn’t afford to continue to act. It gives me the flexibility to attend auditions and steady income. Creativity is a luxury, and thanks to the staff the shop gives me the ability to devote time to auditions,’ Amy adds. 

The shop is open from April to September and the way the lockdowns were timed meant her revenue stream was maintained. 

Back in the film world, 2023 was fallow due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes in Hollywood. Although towards the end of the year Amy was auditioned for a big movie project with an A list cast. 

Great British Life: Amy opened the shop to help fund her acting training.Amy opened the shop to help fund her acting training. (Image: Graham Binns)

‘In the end I didn’t get it. I was heart-broken. But there is more to come, and someone will say yes eventually,’ says the ever-optimistic Amy. 

So off she goes to Los Angeles for a couple of months, living her dream in West Hollywood. 

‘It’s a very different lifestyle with sunshine and 80-degree heat,’ she says on a freezing cold day in Grange-over-Sands, where her parents now live. 

She will be living in an apartment, riding the freeway and going to parties and roof-top bars to network. 

‘I want to fine tune my American accent and employ an acting coach to learn the American way.  I love learning new things. Everybody said I wouldn’t make money making ice-cream, everybody said I wouldn’t be an actor. I have proved them all wrong, and I am doing both,’ says Amy. 

And does she see any link between her two lives? 

‘Well, not everyone likes mint-choc dip flavour ice-cream, but some people love it. Actors are just like ice-cream in that respect,’ she adds.