We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Cruz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Over time I have realized that it is immensely important for people to have a work-life balance. I spent so much of my time around acting and film: taking classes, watching webinars, looking for auditions, and anything else that needed to be done to the point where my work blended into my personal life. There was no longer a distinction between the two. I was burnt out and acting felt like work, I didn’t feel any joy from it anymore. I realized I needed a break, and that’s not a bad thing! A lots of times people tend to forget that they are humans, not robots, that need to rest and recharge. I’ve heard many people say, “I’ll rest when I’m old or dead” or “I’ll rest when I make this much money or when I retire.” I’ve seen friends take things to help them stay awake so they can keep working through the night. It’s not healthy! I’m not saying don’t hustle or work hard, yes do. But also set aside time for family, friends, and you. Stop working after 5pm or 6pm, discipline yourself to have a life outside of work/acting/film/business/anything work related. Life is short, don’t just spend it working all the time. Enjoy the down times. Your body and mental health will thank you for it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m proud of myself for not giving up or feeling discouraged the first time I auditioned for anything ever. I was in 6th grade, and I auditioned for the school play, it went horribly (I had stage fright). But strangely it didn’t discourage me, in fact it fueled me to try again and do better. When it didn’t go well the second time, I took a drama class to help get over my stage fright. Then in 7th grade, I auditioned for my third play, and I finally got cast!
I’m proud of myself for standing by my dreams and fighting hard for it the past 10+ years (middle school to now). I know my 9-year-old self who wrote, “I want to be an actress when I grow up”, in the yearbook would be enormously proud of everything I’ve accomplished so far. It hasn’t been an easy journey, it’s been full of a lot of rocks laying around in the road, and it won’t get any easier going forward. All I hope for is that I never give up on it because now this is no longer only about me. Through me, I get to give a voice to people and stories that are being ignored. I get to show little South Asian girls and boys that they are important, they belong in the American society and the American narrative, and they can truly be whatever they wish they want to be when they grow up. I never saw anyone who looked like me in film or television when I was little. The very first person I saw was Mindy Kaling in “The Office” when I was in middle school, and she was the reason I started watching the show. Ever since, I’ve watched practically everything she has been in or produced. It would be a while till “Slumdog Millionaire” would come out and sweep the Oscars. Then a long, long time until Aziz Ansari, Hasan Minhaj, Lily Singh, and Priyanka Chopra. A few names, but not enough representation. South Asia has a variety of people living there. The American public is not knowledgeable about the different kinds of people and religions that come out of that region. So, now it’s my turn to represent the part of India that an incredibly low amount of the rest of the world knows about, Christian/Catholic Indians. I want to be their voice on camera and show the rest of the world that people like us exist.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a huge shoutout to my mom for accompanying me to auditions and some film shoots. Thank you to my mom and dad for being so supportive, which took time but once they saw how hard I was willing to work for this career and what I have gained, they came onboard. Thank you to my brother who is always there to give me advice and help me understand how to better handle the business side of the entertainment business.
Thanks to my friends for cheering me on, and patiently (and kindly) listen to my venting (all the time).
My agents at Big Fish NW Talent and PureFlare Agency for giving me a chance, seeing my potential, and being supportive powerhouses who always have my back.
Also, a huge shoutout to my acting teachers. I’ve learned so much from each of them that I will always be grateful for. I especially want to give a shoutout to Margie Haber, Robin Dale Meyers, and Diane Charles (all from the Margie Haber Acting Studio). They pushed me to not only be a better actor, but also a better person who has more empathy towards the characters I play (whether the character is good or bad). A huge thank you to Diane Charles, I started with her intermediate class, and she made me feel comfortable to be myself and be vulnerable. She also believed in me when I couldn’t and encouraged me to not give up when I was feeling at my all-time-low. Robin taught me it’s okay to have boundaries and it’s important for me to take time for myself.
Other: https://www.instagram.com/orchiddaydreamsfilm/ https://www.facebook.com/OrchidDaydreamsFilm https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bound-a-crime-thriller-feature-film?create_edit=true#/ https://www.instagram.com/catherinapictures/ https://www.instagram.com/lastdogonearthfilm/
David S. Hogan Photography Small Worlds Photography “Orchid Daydreams” “Bound” “Mind Over Matter” “Snap” “Thriftbooks”