We had the good fortune of connecting with Joaquina (Jojo) Gentil and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joaquina (Jojo), what do you want people to remember about you?
At first , I chose to study acting and performing arts because of the human factor that is key to it. Nevertheless, I started to realize that that’s only the door to something bigger: the encounter between humans, and the blossoming of unique creativity. As I plunge deeper into the world of directing , writing, podcasting and even producing I realize how I do not really care about recognition. But I do want the people I work with , and our audiences, to feel what it is to prioritize the truthful connection between human beings, and work towards having everyone involved, exploring and expanding their gifts using the frame of the work as an excuse. I want them to remember how it felt to be in tune with each other , and to create magical circumstances- life itself, out of thin air, out of each other, finding out how there is still hope to be discovered in humans. I want to be remembered for bringing people together, and for moving them. Even if it is only a few. For starting projects that will shift things around, and make people want to breathe, cry, laugh , move but overall : feel. Simple. With Warmth and kindness, and a bit or fieriness too. And remind them that it is okay to be emotional, it is okay to fail, to restart , to explore, to change and to want to expand. At the end of the day we are all imperfect , and that is the beauty of it.
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 trained to be an actress in Argentina , France and LA. It is weird because the training I received has allowed me to see a bigger picture. Today, I have a podcast , called ” On that Note Mortals” , I help other podcasts set up, I have a theatre company in Europe called “All One Theatre” , with whom we are going to be doing our version of Twelfth Night in a Festival in Fontainebleau, France in February 2021 ( if covid permits it) , and I am currently writing projects, and making plans to start producing and directing more of my own content with close friends of mine here in the US. I am always looking for editors, music producers , sound technicians , lights technicians, people with interest to produce, etc. Because I love expanding my network and collaborate with new creatives. For example , in my podcast “On That Note Mortals” , we have our creative episodes, where we debate life topics ,and share experiences submitted by the audience , and then come up with songs / poems etc related to that topic. We also invite people from the industry , to share their hustle, their journeys and knowledge , a bit like Shout out LA. As I said , Life is weird. I believe my past experiences and training have given me the curse and gift of wanting to create all the time. The curse is : creative processes take time and can sometimes be frustrating. The gift is : it makes me want more: explore more , expand more , get to work with different people more. It makes me want to get curious. I admire a lot of my colleagues and friends , and their creative abilities, so as I see them act/ move/ sing etc , I think about the different scenarios and scenes , and things I could create with them to make 5 more minutes of magic happen. It doesn’t matter if it is podcasting or in a scene , or for a play I am writing or for a youtube channel or short film. I believe my past experiences in school , especially in France gave me this capacity of visualize in my mind how things should sound or move and fall together. And if not, FONACT , the school I went to in France , gave me the capacity to at least explore with what we have , even if it is a bare space and two people and find out as we go, how the project will turn out. How to listen , be present, engage and collaborate with other creative minds in the collective imaginary world. As you can see I get excited about devising projects. Projects of every kind. Sometimes they include me acting , something which I also love as well as singing. I thought when I started this path that I would be a singer ,a dn that is how I started acting. The Theatre taught me how to listen. Really listen, and accept vulnerability as a strength. It makes you empathetic to the world that surrounds you. Screen acting is another language, more internalized, your immediate thoughts are everything. And well, singing comes from the soul, the vibrations take over every cell of our body and work in ways, I believe , we do not understand as logical beings. It takes over. Music was always a part of my life since I wass a kid. I used to sing in choirs , and with my dad who plays the piano. There is something really intimate about my relationship with music , which I believe , supports my craft as an actress, and feeds it. I used to be hired by friends to write the melodies for their tracks. There are a few songs going around on spotify with my vocals on them. But music goes beyond songs. How we walk, and talk and portray ourselves has rhythms. We make music all the time and do not notice it, this is why I also say it is key for my acting , and directing and even writing side. The music of each character , their rhythms , or of a particular scene informal me of many things, and in a way is what engages the audience. On another note, the path and journey of creatives, especially actors is challenging. Time management is everything. And being efficient within the time slots that you have addressed for certain things is even harder. I think the key , at the end of the day, is to balance things out and give yourself a break if you are beating yourself. Or to step up your game when you know you don’t want to do something. Discipline is key to every creative/ artist, since we have more freedom when we have a frame to work within. Something that keeps us grounded. I think today that is the most challenging part for me. In my past , I have encountered other types of challenges, from being doubted for being Argentinian, to dealing with my own insecurities and defense mechanisms, to being away from my loved ones and roots for the past 4 years, and spending holidays on airplanes to make it on time for rehearsals on the other side of the globe. There are different challenges, from little ones, to more massive ones. I believe having to look at myself, and accept what I saw was the biggest of them all. There is a level of acceptance and kindness one has to have with themselves when being an actor/actress. It is too easy to get lost, confused, hurt and takes things personal. My motto is : go deep in the work, but be kind to yourself, always. We all fail and mess up. That is how we end up excelling.. And never forget to live life with a bit of humor. Life problems are acting problems so… keep that splash of humor simmering behind those eyes, and I like to tell myself that I can face problems as problems, or as an exciting challenge. I like the latter to be honest. And last but not least : people will want to define you, box you, tell you what you should be or what you are. No one can decide that except for yourself. I got told I would never be able to play major english speaking roles; I got told I should only do one thing because otherwise you will never do anything, I got told I was only a singer , not an actress , and the opposite as well. I also got told I should seriously consider directing, or producing . What people don’t understand is that when you are a creative, and artist, you are more than just one thing. Your art feeds other forms of art and life , and how you live your life and the different things you do, or the different things you expose yourself to, will feed your art. You are never only one thing. And I do live by that. I intend to continue to expand my vision and my art, from my podcast , to my future play , to maybe a future film. Will I act in them ? maybe, maybe not, But the decision will be mine.
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.
I love LA. I would take my best friend to experience the different scenarios of LA to start with . From a hike to the wisdom tree, to seeing the beaches from Malibu to Marina del Rey. I would probably take them to Abbott Kinney for groovy drinks and a good time. Or some of my favorite rooftops : Mama Shelter on Selma and Wilcox , The Perch in downtown, or EPLP for some fun. For my nights out and partying : The Victorian in Sta Monica; No Vacancy, and I would probably force them to an hour or two of karaoke at Powerhouse in highland and Hollywood boulevard just for my own amusement. Maybe for a more chill dinner I would take them to Laurel Hardware, or Gracias Madre. I would insist on a hike, it is one of my favorite hobbies here in LA. From the wisdom tree , the different Griffith Park trails, Runyon at the early morning or at dusk. I would eventually convince them that they have to see a museum or two , and take them to see LACMA and probably the Getty, ad the views there are beautiful too. they cannot come to LA and not eat In’n Out, or go to Venice. So I would probably do that too. One of my best friends came to LA before covid 19 strikes , and on her first day I took her on a sailing boat all throughout the coast . The sun set and we ended having drinks with friends enjoying the beautiful view of LA as a welcoming gift. It was memorable ,and I highly recommend it. If the weather is nice WE ARE GOING TO THE BEACH.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shout outs to , The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, that gave me different mentors, and the space and support to grow confident with my craft and different abilities. And also to FONACT – Fontainebleau School of Acting, who helped me take a first step into the unknown. They were the reason I left my hometown , Buenos Aires , Argenitna , for good, and taught me how to work in an ensemble, follow my instincts, be wild, epic and big with confidence, and trust my gut. I dedicate this to both institutions as in them are my biggest mentors, and both of them are home.
Instagram: my personal instagram is : https://www.instagram.com/joaquitax/my podcast instagram is : https://www.instagram.com/onthatnotemortals/ my theatre company’s instagram is : https://www.instagram.com/allonetheatre/
Other: IMDB : https://www.imdb.com/name/nm10494249/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_4
Daniel Adhami Aurelien De Bonnefon