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Meet Jamie Ballesta

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Ballesta.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jamie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I moved to LA a year and 24 days ago. I moved from my long-time home of San Francisco with a partner, excited to start a new journey in my life and in our life. I am an actress. I’ve been acting since I was seven years old, originally inspired by my community theatre’s production of the Wizard of Oz, which my grandfather took me to see. I remember in kindergarten the day we all auditioned for a play and the young girl who was cast in the lead role of Madame Butterfly was too frightened to take on the role, so I asked for it, and I got it. That was the moment I knew what I was meant to do.

So here I am 19 years later, still working to pursue my dream and this career in a brand new city, away from my family, my friends, and all that is familiar to me. It wasn’t long after moving here that I became single and living on my own as well, in a city that is yet unfamiliar to me. In the midst of all that was going on, I discovered a lot about myself. One that I had an issue with alcohol. We disagreed heavily and it was through trial and error that I came to discover how much better off I am without it. Two, I had to re-learn what it meant to be independent and strong for myself.

Being an actor, we have to study ourselves a great deal- our experiences, our motivations, what we know about the world around us as well as those in it, and how we fit into that picture; how a character fits into that picture. I’m not the same character I was 19 years ago, and I’m definitely not the same character I was even five months ago. I’m learning how to shift in and with my environment and I’m learning how to be comfortable and accepting of the skin I’m in. It has been the absolute hardest and most rewarding things I’ve undertaken. I look forward to what’s yet to come.

Has it been a smooth road?
As I said, I struggled with my alcohol use compounded with going through a breakup while trying to overcome an eating disorder with body image issues while working to navigate the acting world and discover who I was as a newly single and now independent woman.

These are heavy issues that truly allowed me a chance for self-reflection and recovery. I never lost sight of my dreams and goals but I was heavily affected by these things. I resisted the urge to fold inward and give up altogether because I met incredible, like-minded individuals who taught me how to be strong and supported me through the thick and the thin.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an actress which is probably one of the hardest careers I could have chosen for myself. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life or finding another career path nearly as rewarding. I am most proud of my perseverance in this field. It can become so discouraging to go on audition after audition and hear “no,” constantly waiting for the “yes,” but it really is a complete learning experience. I discover something new about myself as an actor every single time I go into an audition or a callback. I think it’s fundamental for us artists to see the value in every performance we give, even if it didn’t yield the results we had hoped. Maintaining one’s tenacity is the key. My favorite project to have worked on yet was filming the pilot episode of 13 Reasons Why and being lucky enough to have a speaking part and working with an incredible director – Tom McCarthy

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I hope to continue to grow as an actor and continue making discoveries – both personally and professionally. Every experience I have had in life thus far, both good and bad, feed into what I can bring to a character. I hope to expand my resume and take more acting classes from the talented artists I have yet to meet. That’s what excites me most- the prospect of learning even more.

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Image Credit:

Ariel Flores Jr. (@arielfloresjr); Nick Quiroz (@nick.quiroz); Efren Zapata (@zfren_)

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