We had the good fortune of connecting with Selena Schoups and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Selena, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I grew up far from Hollywood, or at least from the glamour of it. I’m from a very rural town near the Bay Area, where there were a lot of agricultural farms and livestock ranches. My father worked in tech in Silicon Valley and my mother worked in healthcare but she had a passion for horses, especially Arabians. So they bought an old five-acre mushroom farm where they could buy, breed, and raise Arabian horses. Even though my parents intended to sell their horses, my mom fell in love with every one of her foals and eventually we wound up with almost 40. But they never hired any ranch hands, Instead they assigned me and my two siblings lots of manual labor disguised as chores. There was always something to do and it was physically taxing work — cleaning stalls, hauling hay bales, dragging water hoses, cleaning and filling horse troughs — with little more than the pride of accomplishment as a reward.
But, looking back, it gave me a relentless work ethic that still drives me to this day. After having that kind of work be my daily staple during my formative years, everything else I attempt seems relatively manageable.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
As a Talent Manager, I make a point to invest wholeheartedly in the career of every single one of my clients because I see longevity as the ultimate goal. I’m not the type to churn and burn through trends, and in a business where diversity has become such a high priority, I am proud to say I have always focused on building a diverse and talented roster. I think I am probably one of a very few reps who still enjoys and develops new actors. There are relatively few things that make me as happy as that very first TV/Film booking for a new actor. I think I probably get as happy at a new actor booking their very first co-star as I do about a series regular booking, because its the very first step in a wonderful adventure that is their career.
And while I can say it has been rewarding, it definitely hasn’t been easy.
I started from the bottom in the entertainment industry. I held multiple internships where I schlepped coffee, sorted headshots, cued up tapes, completed countless script breakdowns, logged numbers. I worked at Universal Motown in the Promotions/PR Department, at Spyglass in the Development Department, and at Betty Mae Casting until I got my first paying job as the receptionist at Gold Liedtke and Associates (now called TalentWorks). It was there I got my first experience with the day-to-day magic of talent development from some of the best in the business.
After I moved on to Stone Manners Agency (now called Artists & Representatives), I realized I wanted to be more involved in the developmental aspects of actors’ careers, so I transitioned to talent management at James Levy Jacobson, named after the three founding partners: Miles Levy, Randy James, and Ken Jacobson. I worked as an assistant to one of the partners, which meant that I got to learn the art of talent development with up-and-coming actors while he focused primarily on his bigger-name clients.
And it was a lot of work, it was like being thrown into the deep end of a pool, even if it was a pool with a great reputation and tons of legendary business contacts. But after seven years there, I gained enough experience and know-how to build a solid foundation for myself. It cemented the skills I needed to go out on my own and I just celebrated my ninth year as the owner of Marque Entertainment last November! Through it all, I was able to take the good and the bad from my vast industry experiences and use it to shape a company I am so proud of.
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.
My favorite spots in the city… I love people watching… so really any place that I can do that and be low key and casual and incognito while doing so. I also tend to find places I love and go to them over and over and over again. Aroma Cafe in Studio City is a long time favorite of mine. A little gem in the middle of the Valley, great food, GREAT people watching but very casual quiet vibe. Firefly Restaurant in Studio City is also a favorite, great ambiance, INCREDIBLE food and drinks. Front Yard Restaurant at the Garland Hotel is a newer favorite, really fun atmosphere and amazing food, it’s a place I love to take clients and friends to celebrate wins. And for a quiet coffee shop I LOVE Marie Et Cie in Valley Village… it combines a French Cafe with a crafts shop and has the cutest little patio area… I tend to stay mostly in the Valley when I can help it, so most of my go-to places are nearby.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve had so many wonderful mentors in the business over the years that it’s hard to narrow it down! But I think the person who had the most lasting impact overall was the late, great Ken Jacobson. He was one of the partners at James Levy Jacobson, the talent management company I worked at for many years. He, along with the other partners in the company, was a pioneer in that area of the industry, and he helped launch the careers of Hilary Swank, Ben & Jon Foster, and countless others. More than that, he embodied all the things I still aspire to be, both as a manager and a person, because he lived his life with passion, integrity, and grace. And we all know qualities like those can be a rare occurence in this business. But I watched him react to some of his biggest wins with humility and his biggest losses with incredible dignity and integrity. Having Ken as a role model gave me the courage to bet on myself and the confidence to approach the business in my own way, no matter what others were doing. For that, I dedicate my shoutout to Ken Jacobson with love and gratitude.
And I also have to give special shoutouts to Felicia Fasano (a badass casting director and my Italian fairy godmother), Bonnie Liedtke (the coolest, most loyal and supportive mentor in the biz), and Harry Gold (the iconic talent agent who gave me my first paid gig in the biz).
Other: imdbPro: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2755540
B&W Photos by Davida Williams Color Photos are Self Portraits on a Timer