Welcome to the VIP Ignite blog, your source for tomorrow’s talent today.
Hear real life stories of models, actors and musicians breaking down barriers, launching careers, and sharing their stories of overcoming obstacles and finding real success.
They will activate the winner in you by revealing the path with their best tips and advice.
Deneen: Hey everyone, my name is Deneen White and I am the host of the VIP Ignite live blog.
This is a special series of interviews being held during quarantine for the Coronavirus.
Our purpose is twofold for the series.
First of all, we want to create inspiration.
Second of all, we want to aid in the planning and building of what’s needed to continue pushing forward in a career as an actor, model, or musician.
Today I am here with Jenna Solich who lives right near right outside of Chicago.
I’m so excited to share her story with you!
Jenna, how is life in Chicago right now?
Jenna: Hi everyone!
It’s on a standstill, just like many other cities.
Everything is pretty much shut down.
Streets are quiet, neighborhoods are quiet, so is the city.
I’ve looked at photographers taking pictures of downtown and it’s just quiet.
No one’s on the street.
MAKING OPPORTUNITIES DURING A LIMITED QUARANTINE
Deneen: Oh wow.
What are you doing to keep busy during the quarantine?
Jenna: Tuning into a lot of VIP coaching calls, reading books, Netflix bingeing, working from home.
Deneen: All the good things.
Well Jenna, since you mentioned it, how much are you enjoying the VIP Elite Talent Academy and all of the training that we’re offering right now?
Jenna: It’s going really well!
Everyone’s been really positive and quick to answer questions, but the coaching calls have been really informative.
We just had one with Jym Benzing this morning about the modeling industry, and it was great to just be able to talk with him and get insight on some things.
Deneen: So for anyone listening, Jym Benzing is a huge casting director in New York City.
He is the head casting director for Estee Lauder.
We didn’t just have a coaching call with someone who teaches you about modeling, but we’re talking about one of those industry experts.
I was on that call today.
So I have a question for you.
Can you talk a little bit about the question that you asked Jym, and a little bit of the advice that you received?
Jenna: I asked him towards the end of our call if he had any advice about my current representation being with a boutique agency in Chicago.
I just haven’t really gotten a lot of work with them in the last year.
So I wanted some advice as to what he thought about trying to get representation elsewhere.
And he listed a couple of the other agencies in the city.
Right now I’m exclusively signed with an agency, so I can’t seek representation in Chicago unless I leave them.
But he definitely said that if you feel like you can invest in going to other markets to visit, try to attend open casting calls if and when this pandemic and work from home order is lifted.
Deneen: It’s coming, I promise.
Spring is coming.
Jenna: But otherwise, just keep sending your book out to as many agencies as possible to try and get representation elsewhere.
And then other markets.
Deneen: I have a question for you as a model.
What did it mean to you to be able to ask someone like Jym Benzing a question and have them see you face to face to answer your question?
Jenna: It was great, and he was kind enough.
Just him saying, “Maybe you could send me your book or your images and I’ll take a look” was just really encouraging to feel.
Especially from someone who is so well established in the industry.
Obviously he’s on these calls because he wants to be, but to take that extra time out of his day to maybe look at my portfolio is great.
It means a lot to get feedback from him.
Deneen: That could be huge, right?
A huge opportunity!
The whole world is shut down, but you’re going to have a huge opportunity.
How could I be the most excited one?
Show me your excited face right now!
It’s a little overwhelming, right?
Sometimes you’re wondering, “How is this real life?”
Is this really happening?
Jenna: I’m thinking, shoot, I hope all my pictures are on point.
Deneen: That’s an amazing opportunity.
Again, other people are chilling and watching Netflix while you’re having major casting directors take a look at your photos.
That’s really exciting to me.
I hope it’s as exciting for you.
Jenna: Hopefully we can work on a game plan of some sort.
It’s good advice, to keep pushing forward.
KEEP MOVING WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY
Deneen: That’s phenomenal.
The word for 2020 has been momentum, and it’s amazing to me how people like yourself are being a part of the VIP Elite Talent Academy.
We’re doing two online classes a day and while everyone else is sitting at home hoping and praying, people are thinking, you are in momentum.
So can you talk a little bit about how that’s helping you?
Is it helping your mental state?
Is it helping you be more helpful?
How is it uplifting you?
Jenna: I think it’s really great to have this community where everyone’s sort of working to achieve the same goal.
Obviously we’re in different niches, whether it’s acting or modeling or singing, but we all obviously want to find success in the industry and it’s just nice to be able to communicate and see everyone on the video calls.
We know that we’re all there moving towards a purpose, a bigger purpose, and not just feeling isolated completely from the world right now.
Deneen: I know for me, I’m a huge introvert, so I was thinking, “Oh yes, I have a reason to stay home.”
But I’ve been thriving in our sense of community also because it’s an amazing opportunity for all of us to get together and learn and bond in an even stronger way, even though we have to give the elbow bump even on our calls.
But for me, it’s been amazing and I hope it’s been just as amazing for you.
Jenna: It’s nice now too because I don’t have my two hour commute every day.
So I have a lot more time to invest in doing things that I want to be doing, like watching previous coaching calls, staying in shape, walking the dog, and just doing things that are good for my mental health and my overall wellbeing.
I’m trying to work towards this end goal, sort of.
Deneen: That’s awesome.
So since you’ve been watching a lot more of the coaching calls, what has been your favorite challenge so far?
Jenna: I honestly haven’t done a lot of the challenges.
My number one right now is to get my vision board done, mostly because I feel like that’s something visually that I can just wake up and see every morning and see that this is what I’m working towards.
This is what I need to do today to try and move one more step towards this instead of getting distracted by Netflix and just laying on the couch eating chips all day.
I want to see that every morning when I wake up and when I’m going to sleep, and just have that sort of there as momentum and inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing right now.
Deneen: Can you give us a sneak peek?
Paint a picture with words!
What are you going to put on your vision board?
Jenna: I think my biggest thing is that I want to live a creative life.
I want to be able to wake up and feel passionate about the work that I’m doing, whether it’s modeling and doing e-com work or going to casting calls, to land commercials or a TV show as an actress.
And I just want to feel proud and excited about what I’m doing.
Because for me, nine to five sitting at a desk looking at numbers every day is just death.
That’s not the kind of life I want to live.
Just creativity, being able to express myself, and being excited every day.
Deneen: That’s fantastic.
So just to jump off your point, you’re a part of the coaching and you want to create that vision board to get out the nine to five grind, which I think a lot of our listeners are going to understand.
I totally feel you on that.
How do you feel that being a part of the VIP Elite Talent Academy is helping you to fulfill the visions on that vision board that you’re going to be working on?
Jenna: Talking or being able to ask Mr. Benzing questions today was great and knowing that he might be able to give some feedback is great.
I’m taking that, in the meantime, and reaching out to different photographers and just saying, “Hey, I know you can’t really do a whole lot right now, but when this is over, let’s set up a shoot and continue to build my book.”
I’m studying monologues and getting comfortable, because I’m already comfortable in front of the camera as a model.
But it’s different as an actress when you have lines that you have to deliver.
It’s just different.
It’s getting into the character and making sure mannerisms and facial expressions are all on point as well.
Those are just some things that I’m practicing and working towards.
We had a call with Havilland.
Deneen: Yes, Havilland Stillwell, who was Fantine in Les Miserables on Broadway.
She also played in Fiddler on the Roof.
She does a lot of different amazing shows all the time.
Lots of movies.
Jenna: I really liked that coaching call!
I didn’t participate or have a monologue prepared, but just being able to see other VIP talent being able to practice or give their monologue and then have her give immediate feedback and then see them apply it was great.
Watching them doing the monologue a second time and seeing the switch and how much different it was from the first time to the second time based on her feedback was really encouraging.
She was so positive.
Just everything she said was amazing.
PUSH YOURSELF TO TRY SOMETHING NEW
Deneen: That’s awesome.
Did you have the opportunity to get on the variety hour and watch everyone do their monologues the third time?
Jenna: I didn’t.
Deneen: For all of my listeners, what we’re doing is every Friday night at 8:00 PM Eastern standard time, we’re having a variety hour.
So every day people like Jenna who are a part of the VIP Elite Talent Academy come to this event.
What we’re doing is we’re having a variety hour so that you can then show your craft.
Last week we did a lot of work on monologues, so we had the opportunity to see people perform their monologues after workshopping with Havilland Stillwell.
We saw people singing original songs.
It was really cool!
So Jenna, you have to be on that this week.
This week is going to be awesome if you have time.
Jenna: One of my things on the to do list is to keep working towards having a song ready.
So even if it’s just a cover song to participate in the show, that’s something that I want to do.
Deneen: That’s awesome.
Myself and all of my readers are very excited for that moment.
I think the best part about it is that so many people are missing open mic nights.
I know I miss going out and seeing live music every once in a while.
But the cool thing is that you’re amongst the community of people that are supporting you and cheering you on.
So it may be nerve wracking, but it’s kind of nerve-wracking in a good way.
I’m surrounded by people who love me versus people who are completely cold.
Now I have something to look forward to on the variety hour!
Jenna: And you can hold me accountable for it.
Deneen: So you listeners, you never know what you’re going to learn here on the VIP Ignite blog.
Overall, are you excited to be a part of the Academy?
Are you happy that you made the decision to join us in that?
Jenna: I am!
It’s taking me a little while to get onto a schedule and just get familiar with our Facebook group, but now that I know where to look for the events and fill in my calendar, I’m getting a lot more.
I have more ability to participate and just get on those calls and connect with everyone else who’s a part of the Academy as well.
Deneen: It’s fantastic.
It’s a lot!
I admit, I know we throw a lot out there, but the awesome thing is that with every call you’re getting stronger and I love it.
I’m so excited about your goal of singing the song on the variety hour.
That just makes my heart so happy.
So Jenna, what are you most looking forward to over the next couple of days being a part of the Academy?
Is there a call you’re looking forward to, or are you excited about some homework that you’re working on now?
Jenna: I think getting that vision board up somewhere where I can see it every day when I wake up and when I go to bed, trying to figure out which song I want to do for the variety hour and practicing, and figuring out which monologue I really want to hone in on, and hopefully getting on that next call with Havilland for some feedback.
Well those are some great goals you have.
It sounds like you’re going to be keeping yourself very busy over the next week or two.
You guys keep us busy so no excuse not to be!
FIND A ROUTINE AND STICK WITH IT
Deneen: How much has it helped your mental health?
For me, knowing that I have to get on calls at certain times each day has helped me tremendously because I actually have to get up and be ready.
Is that helping you as well?
Jenna: So the first week of the stay home mandate was really hard.
I found myself sleeping in a lot later.
Not eating as healthy and just feeling really down.
But in these calls, like today knowing we were going to be on the phone with Jym Benzing, I did my hair and I put makeup on.
I might only be dressed professionally from the top to my mid section.
I’m still in my pants, but it makes you get up and stick to a routine.
Deneen: Which is awesome.
I think sticking to a routine is a huge part of momentum because what you systemize, you’ll continue to do because it becomes a habit after a while.
Jenna, I want to thank you so much for taking time during your stay at home mandate in Chicago to interview for the blog with me.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, and thank you so much for sharing your insights and I can’t wait to hear what happens as a result of the call that you had today.
It’ll be amazing.
Jenna: Thanks for having me, I appreciate it!
Deneen: You’re welcome, Jenna.
Have a wonderful rest of your day!
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