I had the opportunity to chat with actor, dancer and choreographer Jenna recently from Toronto.
As a child, did you want to be an actor or did it fall into place through other activities?
I discovered my passion for performing at a young age. I was painfully shy as a kid, so overcoming my stage fright took work. I originally wanted to be a Musical Theatre performer, my favourite musical being Chicago, but soon found out that singing was not for me. My mom signed me up for dance, and acting classes and I loved them. Upon graduation from High School, I made the decision to focus my energy on dance, rather than acting. Now that I have graduated from college, however, I am swinging back into the acting side of the performance industry.
Who inspired you to follow your dream to pursue acting?
When I started discussing my goals for my acting career, every single one of my friends was on board to help me out. They’re always willing to be a reader for my self-tapes, or to help me rehearse, give advice, and even drive my butt out to auditions! It’s much easier pursuing a career in a demanding industry when you have a great group of friends to help you every step of the way. The love and support I have experienced from them has definitely been a huge inspiration for me pursuing this career.
What challenges have you faced in the entertainment industry? What has been your most rewarding experience?
Battling my self-doubt has been a huge challenge; one that I struggle with on a consistent basis. There are so many wonderful, talented actors in the industry, and I find myself constantly thinking, “Do I even have a shot? Everybody in this room is way more talented, and better looking than I am.” I just have to be vigilant in reminding myself that the only competition I have, is myself, and not to compare myself to others successes, or failures.
In regards to rewarding experiences, getting the opportunity to develop and “play with” a character makes this whole industry worth it. Being on set with a group of passionate and talented individuals, who are all in the zone with a singular goal in mind (to make great art) is a huge rush.
What is your favorite type of character to play?
I love playing characters who are manipulative, and a little on the bratty side. I recently got to play the lead in a Sheridan College film called “Michael Klein is Dead”, where my character Sydney Summers was a major manipulator. She was a blast to play! Working with the director and other lead actress to fully develop Sydney was such a rewarding experience.
What market do you currently work in? Are there other areas you would like to work?
I’m currently focusing my energy on acting on film. But I am also hoping to gain some more experience behind the camera, both in directing and writing. I would love to create my own content.
What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?
It’s okay to suck, it takes time to hone any skill! I use to worry that if I ever had a terrible performance, it would mean that I was a terrible actor. It felt as if my credibility as an actor was hanging in the balance of one performance. I never realized I did this until an acting teacher called me out on it. I still struggle to stay out of that mindset, but when I stop worrying about the outcome, my performances are so much better for it. Also, not taking things personally. There are so many factors that are out of our control, it’s best just to move on to the next thing.
What fuels your passion?
The ability to have an impact on the audience. To be able to make them laugh, cry, and think is very powerful.
Tell us something about you that most people would never guess
I am a proud Hufflepuff! I’m also developing a deep passion for baking, thanks to the baking shows I’ve recently been binge watching.
If you were to do it all over again, would you do things exactly the same? Do you have any regrets? Successes that make you proud?
I sometimes daydream what my life would be like if I had focused on acting and dancing more intensely at a young age. However, I then remind myself that I might not have met all of the fabulous people in my life, if I had made different choices. My experiences have made me the person I am today.
I’ve recently booked a role on an upcoming pilot called The Eidolon. I’m super thrilled to be on board, and I can’t wait to begin filming this summer.
AGENT: HERO ARTISTS
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Written By: Darlene Morrison
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