Jasmine returns to her place in the sun

IF YOU remember Jasmine Harman from her days at Barringtons in Vale do Lobo, or as one of the voices on Kiss FM, you may be forgiven for pointing at your television screen and yelling “I know her” while watching UK Channel 4’s househunting programme, A Place in the Sun – Home and Away. Jasmine left Portugal two-and-a-half years ago to become one of the show’s presenters, but on a recent shoot for the programme came back to the Algarve, and The Resident’s Louise Pimm met up with her while she was filming on Albufeira’s Praia da Oura.

The Resident: How does it feel to be back in the Algarve?

Jasmine Harman: Brilliant! I’ve always had a soft spot for the Algarve. Being back is like coming home, however, there are some things that the UK does better and I can’t live without – I had to bring my squeezable Marmite with me!

T.R: I read that you replied to a website advertising for presenters. Was it really that simple?

J.H: I was lucky. I was in the right place at the right time, but I think it helped that I spoke to the Brazilian researcher in Portuguese. The fact that I could speak another language, I think, helped me to get an interview. I had four screen tests before I was hired and started presenting two years ago. The experience I got from presenting on Kiss FM put me in good stead for being in front of a camera.

T.R: It must have been a complete change of lifestyle. Has it been easy to cope with becoming a celebrity?

J.H: It has been a massive change. I’m never at home and I’m in a different location every week. The filming for the 35 shows takes nine months. The crew (cameraman Jon Boast, sound recordist Tim Pitot, producer/director Amy Gelber and associate producer São Correia) and I only get one week off every three months. I love the travelling, but there are times when I would like to go home and do my own washing up! I don’t think of myself as a celebrity. As the expatriate community in the Algarve is so small, I’m more well known here. I don’t get mobbed when I walk down the street and it certainly hasn’t changed me.

T.R: What do you think makes people want to move abroad?

J.H: The majority choose to move away for better weather, but, in my opinion, that’s the wrong reason. The novelty soon wears off; there is nowhere that you can guarantee sunshine all year round. In my opinion, anyone can make a go of it abroad, as long as they have a positive attitude and good frame of mind. Many don’t realise they will have to work and learn the language. If you don’t, it can be a struggle.

T.R: What is the process of finding properties for the househunters?

J.H: We have researchers in the UK who find the properties, and then we select the three that fit most closely with what househunters want. Portugal is notoriously bad for red tape; if the househunters want to buy one of the properties we show them, we give them the names, numbers and contact details of professionals who will deal with that side for them.

T.R: Is it easy to find properties that match the househunters’ requirements?

J.H: Sometimes people are unrealistic, but this time it’s been very easy. Colin and Sue Woods are looking for a holiday home, and we’ve found some really nice properties.

Sue Woods: I love Portugal, Colin loves Cornwall.

Colin Woods: But since coming over here, I might be persuaded. We might get the best of both worlds, sell our house in Manchester, buy in Cornwall and holiday out here. Who knows?

T.R: Which parts of the Algarve have you looked at for Sue and Colin. Does it make you want to move back?

J.H: We looked at a house in Albufeira this morning (Monday, May 1), we’re in Vilamoura on May 2 and in Loulé on May 3. Although I love it here, I wouldn’t move back to live. With work, it just wouldn’t be practical. Maybe in the future I’d like to have a base here, but there are no plans to move back at the moment.

Watch out for this episode of A Place in the Sun – Home and Away later this year on UK’s Channel 4!