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Meet Jenna Edwards of #Createyourlife

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenna Edwards.

Jenna, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I often say that I was a “walking statistic” growing up. By the time I was 18, I should have dropped out of high school, had children, been married and living in poverty. Instead, I had a strong mother who stood up for her life with the help of my now-stepdad. She never hid her struggles and together, they pursued their dreams, openly and honestly. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota with lots of contrast, parents played in a rock band while the town itself was quite conservative. So, when I made my move to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of acting, I knew the business end of show business and had a really good understanding of the struggles that came with being an artist.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I booked a role in the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and thought my dreams were going to come true, the sky was the limit.

Then, about a month after the episode aired, I was hit in the farmer’s market crash in Santa Monica where 10 people died and over 60 of us were left with injuries. I suffered severe PTSD. I could read, I stuttered when I talked, I couldn’t remember basic words and I was having horrible, thrashing flashbacks daily. I couldn’t audition and I thought my career was over and that I was going to have to live with these terrors everyday for the rest of my life.

But, I have always been an optimist and a fighter. I was abused as a kid, had an eating disorder, felt like I was going to be trapped in my small town forever and I overcame all of that. So, set out to overcome my PTSD and create the life I had always dreamed of. It took me many years before I could work again and many more than that before I didn’t have a flashback, but now I am completely healed and happy as ever.

I truly believe we can all overcome our circumstances in order to create the life we want to live and I am on a mission to be an example of that. Currently, I achieved a life-long dream and became a #1 best selling published author and am about to embark on a year-long road trip with my amazingly supportive husband and our fur-baby, Zoe. We will be living and working in a tiny teardrop trailer while traveling across the US. I will complete my first full book (the best-seller was a compilation of stories) and show people that they don’t need to be young or retired to take a trip like this. It just takes some creative thinking and problem solving to create the life of your dreams.

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?
Not at all.

My upbringing was one that on the surface looked like I would not be successful. Abuse, poverty, teen parents, eating disorder, not feeling like I belonged.

PTSD (Which manifested in daily flashbacks, panic attacks, stuttering, inability to read, constant crying, not sleeping, I ended up snapping and having to go to the psychiatric unit in the hospital because I didn’t sleep for 8 months.)

Breaking into the business without any contacts certainly had its own challenges.

I struggled to find my true, authentic voice and am just this year really owning who I truly am as a person and artist. (In fact, a few years ago, I wouldn’t even have called myself creative and up until this year, I NEVER would have called myself an artist.)

I became successful in the indie film world as a producer and it made me sort of begin to squash my artist side and the person I truly am on the inside.

#Createyourlife – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As a brand, I strive to show people that there are creative solutions to obstacles they might be facing, inspiring them to work to make their dreams into realities.

I am known for my productively positive approach to problem-solving. I believe that we must acknowledge where we’re at and then come up with ways to move forward toward our dreams.

My business is stories, helping others to share their stories through hosting my podcast and sharing mine through writing. In my Create YOUR Life Facebook group I strive to focus on the practical applications of the Create Your Life course (on Udemy) which is setting goals that help you work toward your dreams, breaking those goals down and taking small steps to making them happen everyday.

I am proud to say that as a personal brand, I strive to be an example of someone who really walks the walk in creating her life and making dreams into realities in a very practical and positive way while making sure I am aligning with the person I want to be in the world.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Wow! I’ve had many. But, I’d say (and it is going to sound cheesy – but, I’m a cheeseball) that my proudest moments are when I can overcome a personal block in order to move toward the life, I want to live and when the work I put out in the world inspires someone else to go after their dreams.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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