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Life and Work with Jessica M. Legrair

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica M. Legrair.

Jessica, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started and most importantly became consistent with using my creative mind at around 3 or 4 until I was a teenager. My Dad would set up his camcorder (80s/90s child) and I’d turn into the biggest ham – hosting family Christmas decorating, dance videos, anything to use my big mouth and entertain. He got a new one and gave it to my siblings and I to use. I’d direct and create short films, music videos, anything! I had a blast! I’m grateful my parents played a huge role in letting me play. Really using my childhood to… be a child. I was in drama club in high school and fell off a bit once I was a senior in high school as I focused my attention elsewhere – sports, friends, boyfriend.

Fast forward to 26 and a move to North Carolina during a drunken night with my friends I thought ‘I should move to LA. I have no boyfriend. No kids. Nothing tying me to this place. I’m going.’ In less than a year, I’d saved money as well as money I earned from selling my big furniture, and took the road trip out west with my Mom and sister along for the adventure.

I’ve been in this place I’ve grown to call home since 2013… I’ve been blessed with some great commercial and print spots, my own productions, short films and two plays the last four and a half years that I’ve been actively pursuing acting and writing as my career.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
If only it was a smooth road! Like mostly anyone on a career building journey, it’s been challenging and fruitful and worth it all. Even during the difficult times… in hindsight, haha.

In the beginning, I was working full time as a retail manager and auditioning or booking, working on my own content and staying physically active. After four years of doing that, I was over my full-time job. I felt it was getting in the way because I was putting so much energy into that, and my creative and active side were taking a back seat here and there. I wanted to quit, and in 2018, I did that. It felt right. I ended up choosing being homeless for a few months before staying with some great friends. And it still felt right because I was acting! I was doing yoga, hiking! I traveled with a good friend and spent time in Ohio with family and friends. I had the freedom to do as I pleased and things were well. Even amidst not having my own place and consistent income. That lasted for seven months, then auditioning slowed way down which meant no acting gigs which meant I relied on Postmates, a part-time job I was hardly getting hours at, and my parents from time to time.

That really took a toll on my mental and physical space. In fact, this year has been a huge learning and growing experience through the many challenges I’ve faced and eventually overcame. Over halfway through the year and things are slowly but surely coming back together for me in great ways. I went back to working full time, re-learning and applying work/life balance. It’s been great. I feel great. And I’m genuinely happy again. I’m getting back to having my own place again (having your own place is a rarity out here – haha), and I’m working out consistently again.

I have zero regrets on my decisions that eventually wore on me. I grew SO much. I am much more grateful. Not that I wasnt before, but the mindset is different. I view life and material things differently. I needed that. I’m glad I did it. I put my all into career building, and while I didn’t get where I wanted, I made great strides.

My advice, ironically, is you can’t always take advice from other folks. A lot of the times, you have to listen to what your body is saying. It tells you. That gut feeling, your intuition. If you quiet yourself, you’ll receive the answer you’re looking for when you least expect it from a place you least expected, but it will be right on time. Trust yourself. Trust your body. Even if the road is bumpy, and you felt it to be right… that road was a learning road you needed. Not all paths are smooth. We have to stop avoiding bumpy paths because we are hindering our growth taking the easy way.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m mainly a commercial actress. Working on opening a door for tv and film. I’m also a spiritual person, which has afforded me the insight I use on this journey. I have several ways in which I want to help people and the world (which would be a HUGE dream come true), but for me now, it’s finding the way in which to do that. Trial and error, which has been a lot. I’ve not quite figured it out, and it’s frustrating, but I’m trusting my process. Sometimes.

I am proud of the person I’ve become which I use as my brand. I am all about love and compassion. A lot of people that others hate and despise, I’m one of the few that can find some compassion in seeing a human who is extremely lost. I certainly dont agree with heinous or inhumane acts, and side against it — while still having a part of my mind and body think ‘this person is lost. Disturbed. What can be done for society that this won’t happen again.’ I’m still learning and figuring it out, but I have to start with myself and building that if I want to share it with others. And spewing hate is not the way. I’m one of those people who is hardly affected by a nasty attitude someone has. It took some time, but their attitude toward me has little to nothing TO do with me. I’m not going to get worked up by someone who had a bad day or is going through a difficult time and allow it to taint my life for the day.

I’m grateful for my move to N.C. and LA because I spent a lot of time alone which allowed me to learn me. Which brings about self-growth and being ‘woke’ as we like to call it. It all ties into my creative side; life experiences! I believe that having an acting career will afford me a platform to teach and show. I’ve learned these last few years, that’s part of the reason I’m pursuing it. Until then, I do what I can with the little tree stump I have to stand on. I think the saying is, ‘do what you can where you are or with what you have’. If I wait until I get where I want to be, I could be waiting for longer than I want. Why not act now?

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
The amount of growth and work that has happened to actually remove barriers that hinder female leadership has been tremendous. It’s inspiring and motivating to see women as Shonda Rhimes, Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union, Eva Mendes, Tracee Ellis Ross, the list goes on!

It’s particularly special that they are women of color paving their own way! Every single one of them inspires me in different ways, doing similar work. I am grateful for women such as them who are a light and proof that we can knock down barriers and that they exist in the first place because we allow them to.

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Image Credit:
Jynelle Sumera, Brittany Forrest, Alondra Cuadra

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