We had the good fortune of connecting with Jillian Armenante and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jillian, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I have eliminated the vernacular of giving up from even being a possibility in my world from a very young age. In a profession such as acting where the likelihood of succeeding is already so slight, the only option is to endure the financial, emotional and job-related hardships that come as part of the long term career. It has helped me to adopt the Stoic philosophy which teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions. In other words, the ability to drive forward by any means necessary is controlled in the mind and attitude of the self. I find this helpful in order to conquer all the setbacks and challenges that a life in the arts can unexpectedly present. The discipline of studying the way of the Stoics helps create the fortitude of longevity through an uncertain time where pretty much any random thing can take you out and throw curveballs into your longterm career plans. Remaining in a mindset that, in a constant and unrelenting way, keeps you working toward your objective in spite of health challenges or financial setbacks. In other words…there is no option to give up but only to keep going.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an actor, and a scrappy one at that. I believe what sets me apart is the way I came up into this business, through the trenches of very poor theatre! My most formative years were during the grunge era of Seattle where my friends and I had a 2800 square foot loft in which we produced forty-eight original scripts a year for the better part of a decade with little or no money. For that reason, I have a very well rounded knowledge of my craft. I have taught myself and practiced almost every element of production and that all feeds into me and my abilities as an actor. With that same scrappiness, I taught myself film production, editing as well as lens sizes and music production, and became an award-winning filmmaker as well. Life is accumulative with knowledge and relationships as most artists work in tribes. The group dynamic is invigorating to me. I got the career I have today by my accumulated experiences, by never taking no for an answer, and rising above rejection. It has not always been easy, by any stretch of the imagination, but I overcame my worst challenges by simply persisting. I may feel like a bloodied warrior on occasion but if I have any say in the matter, I will die with my boots on.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Gosh, I have so many best friends from a life in the theatre! But generally, I would probably gather everyone we knew in common in my back yard and make a fabulous meal and reminisce. I’d buy some fabulous meat from Standing’s Butchery on Melrose and cook it on a salt slab or make some homemade chow in my pizza oven. Maybe we drink a little bit too much, laugh, tell stories then we’ll eat fire, get naked and plop into the jacuzzi. After we can sit around a fire pit and maybe shoot each other with Nerf weapons. Then in the morning, I would make a killer breakfast with mimosas and too much bacon. I would then hug them and look them dead in the eyes and say “I love you and can’t wait till we meet again!” I find the psychological Olympics of my backyard far outweigh any fun out there in the real world!
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?
Although my mom is no longer with us, I’d love to shout out to her! My mom Peggy was the youngest of a huge Irish/ Scottish family and at a very young age her three older brothers were away fighting WW2. Going to the movies helped her escape into the world of Hollywood and in turn, survive the stress of all of her brothers being away at war. My mom and I watched our way through the incredible films of the late 1930s through the early 1950s and she would fill me in on the life story and scandals of all the actors. We had so much fun when I actually started making movies and TV shows because we were able to take her childhood fantasy and make it a reality. She supported me in every way to help achieve my goals of being an actress. I miss her so very much but now it seems I have created an actress in my daughter, Hazel Armenante. I can only hope that I encourage her as well as my mom Peggy Dugan Armenante encouraged me!