We had the good fortune of connecting with Jhana Parits and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jhana, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I always thought I had a good work life balance until I had a baby, then I realized that what I thought was balance wasn’t balance at all. I used to always fully immerse myself into my work, and was constantly working nonstop, taking on any project no matter how busy or drained I was, always rescheduling any commitments pertaining to my personal life for my work, I also took on a lot of projects in fear of losing out on opportunities and/or future work, in fear of being replaced if I declined a job. Once I became a mom not only did my entire perspective regarding work change but I also realized that my work is actually not my life, my work is simply my work, and life is not meant to be worked it’s meant to be lived. As cliche as that sounds it’s so true. Even though I still sometimes have a hard time saying no, I am not prioritizing my work over my life. I am way more picky about the jobs I take on and how much time I spend working vs how much time I spend just living. I think it’s very important for your physical and mental health to have a good work life balance because it can get overwhelming when you’re working too much or even when you feel like you’re not working enough. It’s important to take that time for yourself, even if it’s for something simple like going to the beach, reading a book, or having lunch with a friend. Even though I have way more on my plate now than I used to I feel like my balance has improved, it’s really all about making decisions for yourself. I think it’s important to put yourself and your well-being first before anything else, and that’s the real balance.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a Production/Set Designer and Art Director but before I got here I used to be a Photographer lol. I used to photograph any and everything and I did that for a very long time, I think almost 7 years. From there I transitioned into art direction for film/music videos. It’s funny because I was working on set before I even started doing art department, I used to do bts photography and then some wardrobe styling with a friend of mine here and there but styling was never my passion I just did it to do it, once I found art I knew that was for me. Today I work mainly on music videos but I’ve also done a few feature films and commercials. I actually just wrapped a Nike campaign which I’m super stoked about cause that’s one of my favorite brands. It’s when I get jobs like this that I look back at my journey and realize that I really had to grind to get where I am today, I’ve done the hard work, and not saying the work I do now is easy but I’ve built up a pretty solid portfolio over the years so it’s easier for me to demand more from production now because I don’t necessarily have to take jobs to prove myself anymore, and that makes my job a bit easier. I can request more assistants, more funds, more time etc. which is something I didn’t have the power to do before. There’s been plenty of challenges along the way though, when you watch a music video you don’t understand the amount of work that goes into it. It’s stressful, it’s physically and mentally demanding, it’s not easy and each job comes with its own challenges, and sometimes things that happen on set are out of your control and you just have to problem solve and roll with the punches.
I end up learning something from each job though, I learn how to do things differently next time, how to be more efficient and effective. A lot of times on these jobs we’re doing something we’ve never done before, for example, we just shot a music video where we had to build a bathroom stall, I’ve never had to build a bathroom stall before so my team and I got had to figure that out. And even though it came out looking amazing, next time, I’ll know how to do it better.
I don’t really see me overcoming challenges as something I’m overcoming if that makes sense, I just take on the challenge and make it happen, I think what gets me excited and motivated or what makes me “overcome” the challenge is the end result, the feeling of seeing my work on a big screen or plastered all over a major city is so rewarding to me. I come from a very small city in Sweden so these jobs I’m getting and artists and brands I’m working with was always to big to even dream of. You know how they say that dreams come true, I honestly couldn’t even have dreamt about what I’m doing now. It’s crazy when I think about it. I just want every little girl and boy to know that you can do whatever it is that you want to do as long as you work hard and stay focused and motivated and of the most important thing is doing something you love. No dream is too big to achieve. Not even when you’re from a small place like Sweden.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is funny because when I first moved here I used to get so excited about any friends that would visit and I’d have every day planned for them but the longer I’ve lived in LA the more I’m hating showing people around because I’ve seen everything a million times. I’ve also changed so much that a friend visiting me 5 years ago and a friend visiting me now would have 2 completely different experiences. If we forget about the fact that I’m a mom with a 9 month old baby, if I had a friend visit I would take them to see Venice beach/Malibu, a cool museum like the Getty or a current art exhibit somewhere, we’d definitely go to brunch, there’s so many good spots in LA but one of my favorite spots is Escala in Ktown, a hidden gem! They have a live dj, amazing vibes, bottomless mimosas and great food of course! It’s like going to a day party and I always have a great time there.
One thing I love about LA is that there’s always some event or something fun that’s going on, and I love a spontaneous vibe and going with the flow. But again, I’m a mom now so I don’t have the luxury of being as spontaneous anymore.. one day I’ll get it back though.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I don’t know if there is one specific person who deserves all the credit but instead there’s multiple people. Throughout the course of my career I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing producers, directors and creatives that have believed in me and my talents and that is really why I am where I am today. It started with a producer friend of mine who hired me to do one small job and it just took off from there. Any Director who has ever trusted me to execute their vision or any producer who has hired me or really anyone who has ever referred me for a job are the ones who have contributed to my success because it has always led to more work. So I hope those people know that it doesn’t don’t go unnoticed. At the same time I owe a lot of my success to my team because they’re really the people who make me shine and really help me execute the vision.