We had the good fortune of connecting with Belle Eykmans and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Belle, how do you think about risk?
Risk, though terrifying sometimes, is an essential part of success. Risk has played a significant part in my journey but not for about 27 years of my life. I grew up doing exactly what society expected of me; graduating high school, going to college, majoring in something “practical”, graduating college, and getting a job that paid me decently. I wouldn’t change those decisions for anything but there was not a moment in that journey that I felt like I took a risk. I felt like I was simply going through the motions of what I was “supposed to be doing” and after a little while, it wasn’t giving me the reward that I was craving. Fast forward to 2020 and the pandemic sparked a bit of an existential crisis in me, similar to a number of people in the world. I decided to quit my 5 year long corporate healthcare career and try something more creative that I think had always been calling to me but was too scary to acknowledge. That decision led to many other discoveries within and before I knew it, I was leaving the comfort of my home, family, and friends in Milwaukee, WI to pursue a career in film and television. I had no clue what I wanted to do, only knew the names of my future roommates, and didn’t have any job lined up. Had I not taken that risk, I never would’ve made the new friends I made, found success and passion in the best job field, or found my true home.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My career thus far has been a fast paced learning experience that I have loved every second of. It sounds cliche to say but I have learned something from every job I have worked and every person I have worked with. My career has consisted of mostly production assistant work with sprinkles of specialized assisting in camera, photo, talent wrangling, and wardrobe. I also balance my PA work with background acting and acting classes. The biggest challenge I’ve experienced is just the simple fact that everything was/is new to me. I’m a woman in my late twenties who grew comfortable knowing a lot of answers so it can be tough when I have new things to learn all the time. However, tough is also exciting when it’s something that I’m passionate about. I’ve relearned how to ask questions, ask for help, and just plain get over myself!
What I want the world to know about me is that I’m definitely not done learning and I may not be THE best but that I’m trying MY best and I’m going to do whatever it takes to be the best team player, coworker, friend I need to be and you can bet I’m going to do it with a smile.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A week vacationing with Belle in Los Angeles looks like this: We wake up, not too early because it’s pretty chilly in the morning, and grab a coffee and breakfast at Republique Cafe. If the line at Republique was a bit too long we would venture to the Harry Potter themed coffee shop, Nimbus, for some magical caffeinated delights. Once we’ve filled our bellies with coffee and pastries, we would visit the Griffith Observatory. Visiting the inside and seeing a show is one activity but my most favorite thing in LA is to simply sit outside the Observatory in the shadow of its brilliance and pair it with extraordinary views of the city. While we are in the northwest area of LA, we would pick up tickets for the Warner Brothers Studio Tour and hop in a golf cart to see the filming locations of all our favorite shows and films. After that, we would grab dinner at a sushi place nearby because I’ve never had a bad sushi meal in Los Angeles. We would fill our bellies just enough so we wouldn’t be too full to laugh at the always hilarious lineup of comedians at the world famous Comedy Store. Since that’s enough excitement for one day, the next day we would be sure to visit my other favorite spots. The Original Farmers Market for lunch. Enjoy a flight of wine at Malibu Wine and Beer. Thrift shop at any of Goodwill, Buffalo Exchange, or nearby thrift stores in town. We would grab our dollar bills and appetites and head to Hamburger Mary’s for a drag show and dinner. Stop for a treat at Wanderlust ice cream shop. Have a nightcap at Blue Collar. Lastly, for late snacks and vibes, Canters Deli. Vacations with Belle are activity heavy vacations!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Honestly, I owe so many people a shout out. A lot of my journey is because of the support and risk of others. First, my parents, Eddie and Mary, and my siblings, Emma, Erika, Zach, and Scott: When I made the decision to move away from our amazing family and life in Wisconsin, there wasn’t a shred of disapproval from any of them. I’m so grateful for their constant support and encouragement even though, to be frank, it really sucks being away from them.
Brett Klinker is the person whose pitch sold me on moving to Los Angeles. He told me about his job and his life and it was one of the most life changing conversations I’ve ever had. He simply pointed out to me that working in this industry isn’t the unreachable dream that I always thought it was. It’s very attainable and success in that dream is whatever you want it to be. Mini shout out to my brother, Scott, who connected me with Brett.
Another person I owe a great deal to is Ashley Hempel. Ashley Hempel is a fellow Wisconsinite that without even meeting me, gave me the chance to work as a brand new production assistant at the production company she works for. Because of the risk that she took on me, I have made connections with so many others in the industry that have provided me with ongoing opportunities and given me all the well-rounded experience to be successful.
The final person I would shout out would be, Cameron Jones. I met Cam through Ashley and though Ashley got my foot in the door, Cam continued to open that door for me again and again. I have had some of my favorite jobs and met some of my favorite people because of (and including) Cam. His continued choice to take a risk on me is something I will forever be grateful for and appreciative of.
Jeremiah Kibbs Ric Serena