EP 93: Jenna Walasek (autogenerated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it, episode 93.
[00:00:05] All right. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Jenna Walasek, are you ready for this Jenna?
[00:00:14]Jenna Walasek: [00:00:14] Hey, I am ready.
[00:00:16] Dane Reis: [00:00:16] Oh, right.
[00:00:17] Jenna is a professional dancer, Pilates instructor, and most recently new business owner. She has started an entertainment and production company and wireless still in the early stages. She is excited for the future. The right creative we’ll supply talent to shows events, parties, TV, film, whatever entertainment needs you have. We can supply the right creative. Jenna recently moved back to Adelaide Australia after seven years of living, working and performing in L a.
[00:00:49] Jenna. That is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, filling the gaps, who you are, and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:01:04]Jenna Walasek: [00:01:04] Okay.
So. I’m an artist originally from Adelaide, South Australia, but I’ve been living in LA for the last seven years and I just moved home. When COVID hit and things started to get kind of weird in LA. I thought it was best to get out and head home. so yeah, I’m a pro dancer. I work in fitness. I’ve been working in fitness, uh, alongside my dancing since I was about 19 years old. So a little while now.
Um, and I’ve just started my own production company. So that was something I started working on late last year. And now that I’ve moved back to Adelaide, it’s kind of all systems go. So yeah, that’s really exciting. Um, So, , in my career, as a professional dancer, I have done so many different jobs, which I feel so blessed and so grateful for.
[00:02:00]I’ve managed to travel all over the U S and do a bit of traveling here in Australia as well.
So, yeah, it’s been a really fun ride and a really mixed bag of different experiences and opportunities.
[00:02:15]Dane Reis: [00:02:15] Yeah, brilliant. And let’s move on to this section here. And Jenna, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone.
[00:02:27]Jenna Walasek: [00:02:27] Okay. So this is actually something I had up on my wall while I was going through dance college. So I got my bachelor of dance performance,
um, almost straight out of high school at Adelaide Centre for the arts here in Adelaide. And it’s a quote that says, what would you do if you knew you could not fail?
[00:02:49]And I used to. Open my eyes to that quote every morning. And I found it really motivating. And I’ve reflected back on that. So many times during my career. In moments when I’ve been auditioning or
kind of felt nervous about something I’ve just kinda thought to myself, right. If I knew that I couldn’t bow right now,
[00:03:11] What kind of like. Gusto. I put into this or what kind of confidence would I have?
So. , I would say that’s one of my favorite quotes and it’s really helped me along the years for sure.
[00:03:22] Dane Reis: [00:03:22] Yeah, I love that quote and
you know, it applies to everything that we do because just about every job, every gig that we. Have we are just putting ourselves out there into the universe, into the hands of others and say, all right, this is me. , that’s what it is. We just got to take the leap day after day after day.
[00:03:39]Jenna Walasek: [00:03:39] Yeah. You’ve really got to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
So, and it is that fear of rejection and failure, like, especially in auditions where your putting yourself on the line. And, um, you know, sometimes you’re in a panel in front of a panel full of people or dancing in front of other dances and.
[00:03:58] Yeah, it can be really daunting. So having that mindset,
like, you know what, I can’t fail here. I’m just gonna go for it. It does allow you, I think, to push those boundaries, whether you’re in an audition or in class, or just career wise in general. Just, you know, trying to eliminate that fear factor.
[00:04:18]Dane Reis: [00:04:18] Yeah, absolutely. And let’s move on to this next section in Jenna, of course you are an entertainer. I am an entertainer, and I think that you would agree this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries, either of us have probably ever experienced. And
you know, you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like.
[00:04:44] you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.
[00:05:11]Jenna Walasek: [00:05:11] Wow. I think there’s been looking back,
you know, there’s lots of obstacles that I’ve overcome on different levels and. I think. You know, starting off on maybe like a smaller scale there’s issues constantly with body image and being the right law and the right fit for a job and trying to sort of mold yourself to fit whatever job you’re going for. I think that’s kind of been a constant obstacle, no matter.
[00:05:38] You know what job you’re doing, or as jobs come up, trying to
kind of fit yourself in, um, But the first thing that popped into my mind. Uh, for a key challenge, and this is something I went through kind of recently. Uh, so I’ve got my Visa to live and work in the United States. And that was a real challenge going for that visa in the first place. So when I first did.
[00:06:04] This process, this was like eight years ago now. And then after three years, I needed to renew my visa to continue working in the States. And then three years later, again, for the third time I needed to renew the visa. So by the time I was doing it for the third time, I thought, you know what? I’ve got this, I’ve done this before. This is going to be smooth sailing. And boy was I wrong?
Um, I went through a six month battle trying to renew my visa. Uh, so this happened in 2019. And it was a really difficult time. Um, Because I’d left work and bookings and a life in LA to come back to Australia for what I thought was going to be a three week renewal period. And then it turned into six months.
Um, that was a big challenge for me. That kind of happened quite recently, but, you know, I kept fighting and pushing and, um, Yeah. I just had to kind of stand in the storm for a little bit there and I eventually got through it, but in a, it did make me realize. Uh, just how determined I can be in getting things done and achieving things. And, and also I think humbled me because I’d been through the process a couple of times before.
[00:07:20] Visa renewals. And,
um, you know, I know a lot of artists go through this when they do want to work overseas and , you know, try living in different countries. Uh, to better their career. It, it did humble me in kind of going okay. You. That wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought, but, um, it did make me realize how much I wanted to be in the States and continue on that path that I had been on. And.
[00:07:43] Yeah, it was a real fight, but I managed to come out the other side and then ended up going back to the States with my brand new visa. So yeah.
[00:07:54] Dane Reis: [00:07:54] Yeah. Those visa obstacles are no joke. I have so many friends that. Are they happened to be a lot of Australia, France, or UK friends that. Have to do the exact same thing again and again, and you’re right. That application process is. Brutal.
[00:08:11] Jenna Walasek: [00:08:11] Oh, yeah.
[00:08:12] Dane Reis: [00:08:12] I mean,
I mean, the binders that have to be created that you have to submit is crazy, but
[00:08:18] you know, if you want it and it’s so good that you said that you discovered,
you know, this has solidified, yeah, I do want this. I want to be in the States. This is where I’ve built so much of a career and I got to go for it.
[00:08:30]Jenna Walasek: [00:08:30] Yeah, definitely.
[00:08:32]Dane Reis: [00:08:32] Wonderful. Well,
[00:08:33] let’s move on to a time that I like to call your. Spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:08:54]Jenna Walasek: [00:08:54]
Well, so I had always danced as a kid and, uh, I remember, um, I was kind of getting a little bit more serious, like going through my teenage years. And then when I was 17 years old, I went and saw Christina. in concert at the Adelaide entertainment Centre. And I remember being in like the nosebleed section, like way up, so far from the stage, but.
[00:09:18] I was just glued to her dances, the whole show. I don’t even know if I watched Christina. I was just so fixated on the dancers. And I remember that moment of sitting in my seat and watching the show and just being an aura of them and thinking to myself and I was only 17 at the time. But I remember thinking I need to be doing what they’re doing. I want to be performing like that. I want to, I’ve got to live where they live.
[00:09:47] I’m going to be surrounded by, well,
well, it lists surrounded with, I’ve got to put myself, you know, in that world. And yeah, I have never forgotten that moment where I was just sitting there thinking, yeah, this is what I need to be doing.
[00:10:01]Dane Reis: [00:10:01] Yeah, I love that.
[00:10:04] Jenna Walasek: [00:10:04] Yeah.
[00:10:05] Dane Reis: [00:10:05] don’t even know if I watched Christina. That’s so funny.
[00:10:11] Jenna Walasek: [00:10:11] Yeah, I was just, yeah. So in all of the dances and,
you know, it’s just that energy and that feeling that you get. And I remember that that having that feeling inside, like, like, Yes, this is, this is what I need to do.
[00:10:23]Dane Reis: [00:10:23] Yeah, absolutely. And let’s piggyback on that real quick. And let’s talk about your number one.
[00:10:30] Booked it moment. Walk us through
[00:10:33] that day, the auditions and call backs. If they happen to be a part of it.
Well, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book? Did moment.
[00:10:44]Jenna Walasek: [00:10:44] I feel like I’ve had a few booked at moments.
Um, You know, that I’m so grateful for, but the first thing that popped into my mind, maybe because it was a recent job that I did. Was dancing on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Uh, so I didn’t actually audition for that gig, which was a blessing. Cause, yeah, auditions can be rough.
[00:11:06] I was lucky enough to just a direct book, which was awesome.
So, Yeah. So for that job, I was dancing for a band called Saint motel, and they’d been on the Jimmy Kimmel show before, but hadn’t used dancers and this time around, they were using dances. , that was a really awesome gig and awesome time. We had rehearsals with the band and then, uh, the day that we, we shot, it was like a full day call.
Um, And it was just a, such a cool experience to be on set. And, uh, working for TV. So we had some blocking and some dress rehearsals earlier in the day, like camera blocking and things like that. Um, and then, yeah, we got to hang out in our own trailer and, you know, have hair and makeup done and get ready for the show. And it was just such a buzz and that day, I remember thinking to myself, like,
[00:12:01] I’m so lucky to be here.
Like this is awesome. I wish I could do this just day in, day out.
[00:12:07]Dane Reis: [00:12:07] Yeah, I love that end.
[00:12:10] What was the experience like once you did the actual performance, did you remember it? Were you, did you have a moment to relish in it for them for any length of time?
[00:12:19]Jenna Walasek: [00:12:19] Ah,
I, I feel like I have these moments on stage all the time where I get off stage and it must be the adrenaline, but I’m always like what just happened. I’m like, did that, that just went so far as, like, I went into like a, this like awesome bubble for those, you know, few minutes or whatever. And, um, you know, came out the other side, but the awesome thing about doing a job on TV is that it’s recorded. So you can watch it back and go, Oh yeah.
[00:12:45] That’s me like that’s. That’s what was happening and you can
kind of relive it all over again.
[00:12:50] So, yeah.
[00:12:53] Dane Reis: [00:12:53] Amazing. Well,
Well, let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And. We talked about it a little bit, and it’s a weird time. We’ve got this global pandemic going on. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:13:13] Jenna Walasek: [00:13:13] , I’m trying to be as positive as I can about the entertainment industry and.
Um, you know, really hoping that things can be back up and running as soon as possible, but. Uh, personally for myself, you know, things have been pretty quiet here in Adelaide, but I was lucky enough to be back on set last week, actually.
Um, I shot a commercial for spend the shoes. So that was really cool. Uh, being able to be back on set and. Back dancing in front of a camera and back working with a crew. Um, so I really enjoyed that last week. And then I also did a bit of. Judging for a dance competition called get the beat last week as well. So that was really awesome.
[00:13:57] Yeah. Felt really good to be working back in the dance world again. ,
um, , apart from that, the projects that I’ve been working on have been mainly to do with this new business that I’ve started called the right creative. So at the moment, um, I’m still building content for the website. we shot a, like a hip hop concept video a few weeks ago, and I’m actually editing it myself, which is a new skill that I’m learning. So I’ve been working on that, um, getting some costuming together.
uh, we’re currently. In the process of building Adelaide’s first champagne skirt. So that’s exciting. So I’ve been working on that. And, uh, yeah, hopefully it’ll be ready soon. And the audiences of Adelaide will be able to see it and enjoy it at their functions and parties
[00:14:54] Dane Reis: [00:14:54] yeah, beautiful. I And let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightening round.
[00:15:04] I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:15:14]Jenna Walasek: [00:15:14] I’m ready.
[00:15:15] Dane Reis: [00:15:15] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:15:21]Jenna Walasek: [00:15:21] Woo. One thing, holding me back this. Wasn’t always
like, I don’t really remember feeling like this too much. Like I’m thinking back to my early years, but when I did leave high school, I went to uni straight away and started studying a. Communications degree because I thought it was the smart thing to do. Um, so I think that was holding me back initially. I thought, Oh, there’s a dance career. Like the smartest option. And.
You know, like stable and financial and all those adult-like things, but, um, um, that only lasted six months. And then I decided, no, I need to dance. So I, I, I quit that course. And then I transferred into my BA dance performance.
[00:16:01]Dane Reis: [00:16:01] Yeah. Great. And the second question, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:16:09]Jenna Walasek: [00:16:09] Ooh. So recently I received some advice from this woman called Katie, want to Johnson, and she actually runs a company called carbon 38, which I’m an ambassador for. And she said to be shameless, which I really loved and really connected with. And it’s so simple, but. I think I relate to this mostly with starting this new business, just having the guts to go and get what I want. Just be shameless about it. Take the risk.
[00:16:38]Dane Reis: [00:16:38] Yeah, absolutely. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.
[00:16:52]Jenna Walasek: [00:16:52] I think something that is working for me now and had started to work for me, pre COVID as well, was a bit of a shift into only doing jobs and working with people that are positive experiences.
And I really made that decision to, you know, not take on work just cause, you know, I needed it. If it wasn’t going to be a positive experience. Um, So, yeah, just making that decision to let go when a certain job or person isn’t aligning with me and not feeling guilty about it, because I feel like how you feel is worth more.
[00:17:31]Then an awesome gig or,
you know, a fancy gig that you book. So, yeah, that’s something that has really worked for me lately. Just shifting that mindset and going with what feels right and feels good rather than. You know, just going after any old gig type thing.
[00:17:46]Dane Reis: [00:17:46] Absolutely. I can 100% relate to that. ,
you know, cause it’s easy to get caught up in the grind and be like, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I want to do this and that. And the other thing, and then , I mean, there’s a. The whole idea that you can kind of burn yourself out doing that. But then also there does come a point where you’re like, look, I’m busy, I’m making great money. I’m doing stuff in the industry, but there’s a lot of the stuff that.
[00:18:06] I can’t really be bothered doing, cause it’s not really fulfilling me in a way. And I also
kind of had that epiphany, you know, a handful of years ago that was like, you know what, I’m going to just do stuff.
[00:18:15]That I want to do that I feel inspired to do and
what ended up happening.
[00:18:19] But I found at least is that more of that work started coming my way because I was freeing up some of my time because I was turning down the things that I wasn’t as passionate about. I knew that weren’t going to be. positive experiences necessarily surely. They put money in your bank account, but.
The, the experience itself was not something that was really all that thrilling. And as soon as I started cutting more of that out of my life, I found that it got replaced with that positive stuff.
[00:18:45]Jenna Walasek: [00:18:45] Definitely. Yeah, I think it’s such a smart move.
You know, you make room for what truly aligns with you. So you have to be picky sometimes even though, you know, we’re all fighting for work in this industry, I feel like it does pay off to kind of.
[00:18:59] To have that mindset and be picky with what is going to feel good for you.
[00:19:04] Dane Reis: [00:19:04] absolutely.
[00:19:06] And the fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you have found is helping your career right now.
[00:19:20]Jenna Walasek: [00:19:20] I think that social media is a really powerful resource these days. And it can really help you. Book jobs connects with people network. It’s almost like. Another version of your resume or your show reel online, which is so easily accessible to people from all over the world. So,
So, yeah, I’d say that’s a resource that I really focus on and I am focusing on at the moment and driving energy into, because I just feel like it’s. It’s the easiest way. These days to kind of quickly tell people what you’re doing and what you’re about. And yeah. I just, I think people are booking more and more jobs just from their Instagram these days. So it really pays to keep your social media up to date and fresh and. and.
[00:20:12] looking good and reflecting you because you never know, who’s looking is watching and who might want to book you or use you for a job or,
you know, connected with you in different ways.
[00:20:25] Dane Reis: [00:20:25] Absolutely. And I’m so glad you brought that up as well, because I really truly believe, and I’ve thought this for a long time, now that your Instagram, for instance, is your running resume and.
, I mean, you were in the LA market, so they’re very much deep into Instagram being a really serious marketing tool, but other markets in the world are. Behind that. And the fact is it’s going to catch up and it’s going to be there. So you best get on top of it as quickly as possible. If you’re not already, regardless if you. I think it’s silly that people put so much stock in your social media following and what your social media looks like. The fact is producers and casting directors are asking for it. They want it. Because they want to leverage your audience.
[00:21:11]For their company for their gig, whatever it might be, so they can get free marketing. And that’s really what it boils down to. And if they can get more free marketing from someone because they have a more established following, they’re usually going to take that person over someone who has. No social media following.
[00:21:28]Jenna Walasek: [00:21:28] Yeah, definitely. Which then I guess there’s positives and negatives to it as well. Cause sometimes people with more followers might book the job.
Um, you know, venue, which, which is kind of sucky, but I mean, I’ve also had people contact me needing dancers and who I recommend and they’ve said, or can you send me their Instagram?
[00:21:46] So. I’m like. Yeah, sure. And actually I did a little bit of a. An Instagram,
I guess, uh, tweak , the other week, right before I booked that commercial for spenders shoes, I thought. I know that they’ll probably look at my Instagram. So I made sure that I uploaded a video of me dancing that was like quite recent and then put some things on my story, ready for them to see. Cause I thought.
[00:22:10] I have a feeling, they’ll go and look at it. So I need to show them like, put my best foot forward here and show them,
you know, just in case that influences their decision on booking me
[00:22:20] and it worked.
[00:22:21] So I booked to the job, so yeah.
[00:22:25]Dane Reis: [00:22:25] Absolutely. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:22:43]Jenna Walasek: [00:22:43] Ooh. I think I would pretty much keep it the same. But I would definitely not stress over some certain things that I definitely stressed about in my early years. That really didn’t matter in the end,
like. Things like how flexible my feet were or how good my point was. And, you know, things like that, where I raise, I feel as a younger dancer, you really just. You stress out about things like that. Or you worry about, you know, certain things of your, of your body, like yeah. How flex, where your feet are. And then if you are going into the commercial dance world,
[00:23:17]That’s really not going to be at the end of the time. So, yeah, there’s definitely things I look back on and I go, wow. Yeah, that, that didn’t ever affect me in my career. I should never stressed about that.
[00:23:31] Dane Reis: [00:23:31] Yeah, absolutely. I think we all have a handful of those things that we could have just forgot about. And left to the side and we better be
[00:23:38] Jenna Walasek: [00:23:38] Yeah. Definitely.
[00:23:41]Dane Reis: [00:23:41] And the last question. What is the golden nugget knowledge drop it. You’ve learned from your successful career in the industry. You’d like to leave with everyone.
[00:23:52]Jenna Walasek: [00:23:52] this might sound a little bit cliche. But it’s something that I feel like I’ve managed quite well throughout my career, which I’m quite proud of. Um, is just staying true to you. I always used to say, I don’t care if it takes me longer to get where I want, as long as I did it the right way. , I’d say don’t compromise yourself to book the gig, take your time and build your career in a way that you can be proud of.
Um, because the industry can be cutthroat and. Sometimes it really is all about like being friends with the right people, but. Uh, you want to be creating art that you’re feeling good about and that’s feeling true to you. You know, not some mask you’ve had to put on just to add to your resume. So, yeah, that’s definitely A A golden nugget that I’ll leave you with, but also, um, I just looking back on the auditions that I’ve been to over the years, I’d say don’t feel uncomfortable. Uh, Or if you feel uncomfortable in an audition, like feel free to leave. Which is probably like a bit of a strange piece of advice because people wouldn’t usually say this, but especially in LA where there’s so many. Um, Different like. Types of dancing and different styles of dance that . Uh, fall under different umbrellas. Um,
I mean, I know there were times where I stayed at auditions knowing full well, I wouldn’t be proud of myself doing that movement on stage.
[00:25:22] Um, and I stayed anyway and looking back on
like, Oh, I should’ve gone and got a coffee instead of. Audition. Um, But yeah. Um, I think we’re like we’re taught to stay and keep it quiet and not stand up to those providing opportunities for us. But. This kind of relates back to like staying true to who you are and no matter what the outcome, if like you’re at an audition, you know, you know, full well that you don’t want to be doing that movement on stage or wearing that costume or et cetera, et cetera, which. There is a lot of that kind of.
[00:25:56] In LA that like really pushes boundaries.
Um, , I would say stay true to you in, in that area as well. And if you feel uncomfortable, then just leave.
[00:26:03]Dane Reis: [00:26:03] Yeah, I think that’s incredible advice. Incredible. And to wrap up this interview, Gena, it is time to give yourself a plug.
[00:26:13] Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:26:20]Jenna Walasek: [00:26:20] Wow, you can find me on Instagram.