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

Hi Krista, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Balance, hmmm…what does that mean again? LOL. I’m a perfectionist, so naturally, I am highly self-critical and create a ton of unnecessary stress when pursuing my career goals. I pride myself in my work ethic and determination, but often, after I accomplish a goal, I never take the time to decompress, reflect and appreciate all the hard work that went into it. Instead, I check it off my list and move on to the next goal. I’ve been this way almost my whole life. Nothing was ever good enough, or I wouldn’t allow myself to be happy if I wasn’t accomplishing something. Then covid hit, the industry shut down, and I was forced to face my unhealthy mentality. I found myself incredibly agitated, bored and unhappy because I couldn’t audition, be on set, and collaborate with other creatives. I couldn’t do anything I loved…so I thought. I forced myself to meditate, and the concept of balance kept coming up. How can I create more balance in my life, outside of my career? I have an amazing husband, wonderful friends and family, so many untapped skills and hobbies to explore that often take a back seat to my career. I didn’t realize how attached I was to my work, never leaving my phone out of sight in fear I’d miss an important call or email, and stressing over all the missing opportunities while I was on vacation. I was so structured with my work, that I was lacking balance in my life. I love structure, but I needed balanced structure. I compared my 12hr work days 7 days a week to the average worker, 8am-5pm with weekends off, and even though that never happens in the world of entertainment, I can strive for those standards as best I can. Now my weekly schedule supports a work/life balance where I can make progress towards my career goals but also relax with my husband, hang with friends, and try new hobbies. It is also important to me that I start each work day reminding myself to have fun and enjoy the process, even though I have chosen a difficult career with a LOT of rejection. I value constructive criticism, but there is a balance between obsessing over a mistake or regret, and learning from one. That will always be a work in progress for me. In the past, my negative self talk would last for days, even weeks, but now at the end of each work day, I can honestly say, “I had fun today!”

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love telling stories. As a kid, I always wanted to hang around old people because they had the best stories! I had a wild imagination so I would write my own plays and perform them for my family at parties. I’m sure it was torturous for everyone, but they obliged my persistence. I was a very creative kid, in school plays, Odyssey of the Mind, but I was also athletic and had a talent for gymnastics. By twelve years old, I was homeschooled and training for the 2008 Olympics. I loved the floor exercise because I felt like I was performing my own story. In 2007, I accepted my full scholarship to UNC – Chapel Hill where I also studied dramatic arts. I ended up graduating with a One-Woman show, headed to NYC. I am most proud of writing, producing and performing my play Off, Off-Broadway because I wrote it during a very difficult time in my life where I was transitioning from being an athlete my whole life, to the next chapter. I was 10 surgeries deep, battling an eating disorder, and trying to be an actor when I didn’t even know who I was. The vulnerability required to perform my show, shaped the foundation for who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do next. I left NYC for LA to pursue a career in TV and Film. Everything clicked when I got to LA. I worked my ass off for it to “click”, but nevertheless, it clicked! I loved the energy of the city, I fell in love and got married, and one job lead to the next. Here I am today, with a ton of goals yet to accomplish, but appreciating all the big and small victories that lead me to this point. It wasn’t easy. But nothing worth doing is easy, right? I think the hardest part about being an artist is that you are constantly told no, but you never know the reason why. You could be the most talented, beautiful, hardworking actor EVER, but they wanted someone with blue eyes and yours are brown. You can’t get caught up asking yourself why you didn’t get the job, otherwise you’ll find yourself in a downward spiral of negative BS, and still standing in the same spot. Instead, use that energy to create your own projects. Write, direct, read, and grow your repertoire of skills. I never thought of myself as a writer, but now my TV pilot is being pitched to studios and my short is fully funded and shooting this year! Be your own advocate and have fun! To wrap up my story, I hope my art inspires people the way my community has influenced me and continues to help me grow.

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?
I LOVE to hike and camp because I am all about a good physical challenge, beautiful views and getting off the grid to relax and enjoy one another’s company without the distractions of having cell service. First, I would start off with a few local hikes that show off the cityscape and ocean background: Runyon Canyon (because it’s the best views of the city, then Wildwood Canyon in Burbank to grasp the massive scale of Los Angeles, and then head to Malibu to hike the coast as the wind blows through your hair and fresh salty air fills your lungs. Then, I would take a road trip to Yosemite National Park, hitting Sequoia on the way back. These parks are both so unique and incredibly breathtaking, you will want to stay all summer! When we arrive back in they city, we would definitely have to refuel at my favorite sushi spot, Sugarfish, and then treat ourselves to a double scoop at Salt and Straw! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to my husband, Abe Stewart! He has been a huge inspiration in my life. I remember the day he quit his full time job to pursue his passion in the music industry. We had been dating for 6 months and just moved in with each other over the Christmas holiday. We were writing our goals down for the New Year and one of his goals was to work in music full time. I had just given up my full time job to pursue acting, so I said he should go for it too! I have never seen someone work harder to build a name for himself than my husband. His dedication to his craft is undeniable. When he’s not working with an artist or perfecting a specific project, he continues to grow his repertoire of skills with tons of research, tutorials, and practice. I love watching him create. He is so talented, I am amazed at how his brain works because I have no musical or singing talents! But I always appreciate when he includes me in the creative process and asks for my feedback. I often end up learning something new and having a greater appreciation for music. Watching him achieve his goals and continue to set new ones, has taught me to never stop growing in my field. Being an artist, we often don’t have any control over who hires us, but we can control how many opportunities we give ourselves to be creative.

Instagram: @kristajasper

Image Credits
Fab Fernandez Brian McConkey Jonny Marlow

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.