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Daily Inspiration: Meet Jodi Marks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jodi Marks.

Hi Jodi, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in Burbank, California and found a love for music at a young age. I started singing in church and in elementary school got the theatre bug when I started to do the musicals they would put on. I eventually joined my middle school and high school show choirs and fell in love with different genres of music.

Growing up, I always secretly wanted to study theatre but as time came to choose a college, I was afraid of what my family would think because I have heard them say being an actress/singer wasn’t a stable profession. Hearing this definitely made me wonder what I was gonna do with my life and I made the decision to go to the University of New England in Maine to study Animal Behavior/Psychology.

During my time at UNE, I really tried to not focus on music but focus on my education. I actually even joined the women’s rugby team and worked in an animal behavior lab. I will say I would never change that time in my life for anything because it made me the woman I am today. However, if you truly love music and performing you know how hard it is to stop. I caught myself watching old tapes of performances. I felt like I was missing a part of myself and knew I had to leave UNE and pursue my dreams. So I left and transferred to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. By going to AMDA, I felt like that part of me that was missing came back. My love for music and performing grew. I got my BFA in Musical Theatre and couldn’t be happier.

After graduating, I have been able to book gigs in many productions across Southern California. Unfortunately like most artists in 2020, my career was put on pause for a second. However because of this, I was able to partner with P3 Theatre Company to host my own virtual show called Breaking It Down With Jodi Marks. Through this show, I have been able to give the black community a voice and allow us to tell our own stories. I really hope that this show can educate and inspire everyone to take an active stand for what is right.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Definitely not! Growing up, I thought I had to please everyone and that led me to put my dreams on hold. I was terrified of the unknown when it came to my career. So when some of my family and friends would say that being an artist wasn’t a stable profession, I picked the safe route instead. However the safe route led to me feeling like I wasn’t being true to myself which ended up being worse. Having to tell my family I decided to transfer from UNE was one of the scariest things I have ever done. I still remember my mom being so mad and coming to UNE to help me ship stuff back to California. She would tell my roommates and other students that they could take my winter stuff because and I quote “she won’t need these things anymore!” and mind you to this day she still asks me what happened to my North Face winter jacket and I have to remind her she gave it away to one of my roommates. Love you mom. I will say it did take my mom and family awhile to come around to me leaving UNE. I even transferred and auditioned for AMDA without my mom knowing because I didn’t want it to be another disappointment if I didn’t get in. Once I got in and my family saw me in productions is when I really saw them start to come around and accept that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. My mom and dad became my number 1 cheerleaders and it feels amazing to finally be open about what I want. Now that’s not to say that times haven’t been hard and I won’t face that unstable feeling that so many have told me comes with being an artist but I’m happy to say I’m finally living my life the way I want to.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Before 2020 I really focused on musical theatre and loved every second of it. However because of 2020 live theatre was shut down and this led me to try to be creative in other ways. One way I was able to do that was by partnering with P3 Theatre Company to host a new Facebook live show called Breaking It Down With Jodi Marks. I am very proud of this show and what we have accomplished. The black community has been hit hard in 2020 and I really wanted this show to bring awareness to that and give the black community a way to have their voices heard. I really hope this show can help educate people on topics that most people shy away from because they are either scared to ask or don’t want to come off as rude or racist. I am happy to say season 2 will be coming in 2021 but for now, if anyone wants to watch season 1 they can go to my website or P3 Theatre Company’s YouTube or they can listen to the podcast version anywhere they would normally listen to their podcasts.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was the shy girl until you really got to know me then I was the jokester trying to make you laugh any chance I got. Besides music and show choir I was really into sports. Growing up, I felt like my mom had me try everything from gymnastics to ice skating until she finally put me in basketball and I fell in love with the sport. I have always liked being a part of a team. I love that feeling of accomplishing a major challenge and overcoming it with friends I either called my teammates or my cast.

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Image Credits

Stephanie Girard J. Demetrie Photography

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