We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Orcsik and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jessica, what do you attribute your success to?
Everyone needs to have a home away from home. A place that they feel safe to explore their creativity and share their thoughts and feelings. As an Australian living overseas creating a sense of family has and will always be the number one priority behind building the AAFTA brand here in LA. Heath Ledger used to have a house here in which actors would stay and feel like they have a home away from home. He’d share his time, space, energy and heart to any Australian regardless of where they are on their journey and help them feel apart of a community here in LA. Despite its huge population, Los Angeles as a city can sometimes make you feel more isolated than ever before. Heath made sure people never felt alone, undervalued or unrepresented. This is what AAFTA does and so much more.

Successful people share certain attributes in common… Grit, Passion, Goals, Lifelong Learning, Confidence and Communication Skills. Understanding that our personal experiences, values and beliefs shape us and the artist or creative we become. AAFTA uses these resources to create opportunities and platforms to build careers here in LA. Teaching artists about the craft, creating content, networking in the industry, and most importantly their purpose. The discovery of independence, self worth and value. The truth behind what draws so many of us into the arts in the first place.

AAFTA’s brand success is in large due to understanding myself. Who am I as an Artist… What do I believe? What do I stand for? How do I want to change the world? I have never seen my life as anything other than an adventure. One that has broken me down, built me up, challenged me and taught me gratitude. I’m not perfect. I’m not imperfect. I’m just me. Had someone given me the same opportunities and platforms to do what I love, as AAFTA does for so many artists on a larger scale perhaps my journey would have been very different. Still… Considering where I am today I wouldn’t change a thing.

For AAFTA it’s helping artists and creatives realise their power and influence to generate real change and growth in our industry and culture. Leaving this world a better place and having a whole lotta fun in the process. Isn’t that what life and most of all acting and the arts is all about.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I was born to two actors in Australia and spent my entire life in this business. My mum won major Australian awards, my father runs a very established acting school in Australia, and so literally my life was in the media and on sets from the moment I was born. My aunt was also an actress here in the USA starring on Daytime show “Another World” and even earning an Emmy nomination, so finding my place here in LA, I feel was inevitable.

However unlike my parents or my aunt, my journey has not been easy. Especially as an artist and creative. On one hand huge expectations were placed upon me to deliver to this high standard of success that my legacy had already established; and on the other people felt I should be made an example of because they assumed that I had things easy. There was always a reason I didn’t fit in the “right” spot at home in Australia. Making the journey of self discovery a very tough and often isolated road.

When I finally realised what set me apart, everything changed. I discovered that vulnerability and my story helped inspire so many artists and creatives just like me. I realised that I could use that voice to be an Ambassador for change in this industry.

Being an Ambassador means more than just walking the red carpets, or being a public speaker at events. It’s more than being able to handle the endless media that’s thrown your way, or doing social media posts… Being an ambassador means being the change you want to see in the world. It’s standing up for the things you believe in. Being vulnerable. Standing in this arena we call life and let everyone see you and hear you; continuing to show bravery amongst the adversity and judgement. It’s doing the work regardless of the results. It’s recognising the importance of the role we play as storytellers and that the work is bigger than ourselves. It’s recognising that we give a voice to many people unable to use theirs. It’s demonstrating positive values, compassion, honesty and tenacity. It’s understanding that flaws make us human and sharing my fears with the world in turn gives people unconscious permission to share theirs. It’s continuing to show how art can heal the world and be a representative of hope, love and change.

This is who I am. This is who AAFTA is. This is what I am most proud of in my artistic journey.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take them out to Cinnespia to watch classic movies or ride the bull at Saddle Ranch. I’d take then to Aromas Cafe in Studio City and down to the Santa Monica Peer to play some arcade games. We’d walk to the Hollywood sign and along the streets of Hollywood… and of course who can’t go past those studio tours. Learning the history of this incredible movie making business.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My partner Robbie Ryde. Not only is he my partner in AAFTA, he is my partner in life. Without his generous spirit and hard-work, AAFTA would not be where it is today. He saw the potential in me as the creator, and most importantly he saw the potential and importance of an organisation like AAFTA. From student, to teacher and now creative director… AAFTA was a huge part of his journey into becoming the man he is today. Throughout all the obstacles we have faced, including Covid, Rob represents the heart and soul of how AAFTA can change lives. I am forever grateful to have found someone so special to share this journey with.

Website: www.aafta.us

Instagram: @aaftala

Facebook: @aaftala

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.