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Meet Trailblazer Jackie Koppell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackie Koppell.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m originally from New York, and I like to think that even though I live in LA, I’ve kept plenty of my NY sass. I grew up in a political family, so politics is in my blood. Because of this, I’m pretty sure I disappoint my parents on the daily with my life choices. I’m (mostly) kidding! My parents are incredible and super supportive. Mom & Dad, I promise it’ll all work out.

After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in History, I eventually made my way to Los Angeles as a proud cliché: “actor, writer, producer.” Shockingly, Hollywood hadn’t been waiting for me. Did you know, there are a lot of white girls with brown hair in this town?! Weird, I know. One would think my history degree- you know, the one where I learned to analyze the past in order to be better prepared for the future- would have taught me that showbiz is hard!

Frustrated with how little control I had over pretty much any part of the business, I decided to listen to the adage, “use what you know to get where you want to go.” I love making people laugh (I trained with Upright Citizen’s Brigade and Second City.) and I really understand politics. Plus, I love The Daily Show, John Oliver, and Stephen Colbert. Political satire seemed like a great focus and fit.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Ha! How honest do you want me to be? I can assure you that not one part of this road has been smooth! You need a thick skin, a balance of patience and aggressiveness, and an unwavering belief in yourself. Truth be told, I’ve periodically wavered, but knowing that I have a unique skill set that supports what I’m committed to–using entertainment to empower and educate people–has helped me stay the course. Stubbornness has its benefits! I’m really proud that I’ve stuck with it and I’m so excited for what’s to come.

My advice to other women in any industry, and especially entertainment, is that you need to be passionate to succeed. Life can get hard, and disappointments sometimes come far more often than the successes. Grit and that stubbornness mentioned above can help you through it! Surrounding yourself with friends who support you and your work is also so important. They’ll make your life so much richer and fuller, no matter what you’re accomplishing.

We’d love to hear more about Newsy News.
I’m the creator of Newsy News, a smart comedy brand that focuses on political satire and funny content that has something to say. My upcoming discussion series, (working title: “Let’s Talk”) is especially exciting because it’ll provide people with the opportunity to listen and participate in a political conversation that’s respectful fun (yes, fun!) and informative. The first event took place a few months ago and featured two pastors – one conservative and one liberal.

Attendees, as well as those watching the live stream, commented on how the tone of the evening was entertaining, informative and refreshingly constructive – not angry or judgmental. #winning

What makes my work unique is due in part to the fact that I’m a woman. Politics, comedy, and political satire, in particular, are dominated by men. While more women are running for office, and we have Samantha Bee, there’s still a lot of progress to be made. If you don’t see women in certain roles, or hear about issues from a woman’s perspective, it’s a lot harder to imagine them as a possibility for women in general. So I’m out to empower women – let them know they have a voice, their voice matters, it’s valuable, and they should use it. And I’ll entertain people along the way!

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
Now that we’re finally talking about the issues women face, it’s highlighting what so many have known for so long: that women are a force to be reckoned with, but as a society, we’ve been slow to recognize this.

Things are starting to change. We’re seeing so many women running for office and winning, women demanding equal pay, and women overall are stepping up to support and amplify one another’s voices in new and exciting ways. It’s way past time for women to have not just one seat at the table, but many. (I mean really, we’re over half the population!)

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Tia Campbell Peterson – for the photo of me in the red blouse & blonde wig w/ another gentleman

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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