Meet Jessica Lauren, a Chicago dwelling actress/motivational speaker and the blogger behind NoRealJewelry where she encourages people to overcome their fears and pursue their passions! Read more about how her hardworking nature (and exhaustion of rejection) has gotten her to where she is today! Don't miss the advice she has to give, Jessica is one of our biggest inspirations!
WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW?
I am the blogger behind lifestyle an inspirational blog NoRealJewelry.com. I’m also a motivational speaker and actress.
WHAT'S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE TYPICALLY LOOK LIKE ON A WEEKDAY?
I naturally wake up between 4am-5am (I know, I’m that super hyper morning person lol!) The first thing I grab is a devotional I love the book by Sarah Young called “Jesus Calling”. It totally sets the tone for the day by reminding me to be present at all times and seek out opportunities to love and help others. Once I spend a few minutes reading that and praying, my day goes into lightning speed mode. A typical day could involve learning lines for a call back, going to auditions, taking photos and editing them for the blog, scheduling content, and going to my hospital gig. (When I’m in town I act for medical students at Northwestern University and Rush University. Yep, you guessed it, I get paid to act like I’m a patient so that medical students can practice their bedside manner. Dope, right? I always get sleepy between 7pm-8pm so I sneak in a nap and then get up again to cook dinner, finish up some projects or go out with my friends. For the most part I am in bed by midnight. Now that I’m writing this, I’m realizing how much more sleep a sista needs. Ha!
SO YOU ARE ORIGINALLY FROM DETROIT, WHAT WAS IT LIKE MOVING TO CHICAGO?
Omg! I was 17 when I left Detroit to go to college so I was totally excited and so darn scared at the same time. It was especially difficult to leave at the time because my Mom had just given birth to my youngest brother Spencer a month before I left. I cried like the biggest baby but after some time I adjusted to college life and had the time of my life.
Now my move at 21 to the actual city (my school was in rural Illinois) was an entirely different experience than my move to college. I graduated from the acting program at Northern Illinois University and got an agent in the city right away; which was nothing but good because getting an agent is hard to do. With only $700 to my name I got my very first apartment and started working at a preschool. I think this time around I realized that I was in the real world and for some reason that idea scared me to my core. Trying to manage adulthood at 21, in a new city without family or friends was tough. I wasn’t living in the best neighborhood or making a ton of money. I wasn’t booking my dream acting gigs like I wanted to, so I fell into a year long depression. It was horrible. I felt so alone and I let myself kind of wallow in that depression because I had no clue how to get out. I started going to church and I even spoke to a counselor or couple of times and slowly but surely got out of my funk. I met so many wonderful people, and made a ton of friends. I started book gigs and was able to move to that deluxe apartment in the skyyy lol! It was a tough transition but by God’s grace I made it work!
TELL US MORE ABOUT BEING AN ACTRESS! IS THIS SOMETHING YOU HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO?
I think I’ve been singing, acting and dancing since I came out of the womb! I come from a very talented family so creativity was always encouraged from day one. Acting just came to me naturally and I just stuck with it.
WHAT INITIALLY INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BLOG, NO REAL JEWELRY? WAS THERE A CERTAIN EVENT/MOMENT YOU KNEW YOU WANTED TO DO IT?
As much as I love acting it can wreck havoc on your self-esteem. Rejection is the name of the game when it comes to acting. I have heard literally a thousand no’s. After about 10 years of hearing no’s I got a little beat up by it. So I started to think, “Jessica you have the power to give yourself a “Yes” So with my hotel points, I got a MacBook Pro and started NoRealJewelry as a way to “book” myself. With the blog, I didn’t have to wait on a Casting Director to cast me, I could cast myself as a model and do my own shoots. If I wanted a hosting gig, I could shoot a video and post it on my own site and not have to audition for it. The power to book myself was the reason I started the blog. I was tired of leaving my fate in someone else’s hands. I took back my power through NoRealJewelry.
ARE THERE ANY OBSTACLES THAT YOU HAVE HAD TO FACE IN YOUR CAREER? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
My biggest obstacle has always been me. “Am I good enough? Will my readers like this article? Should I just quit while I’m ahead? Jess you can never become an entrepreneur.” Pushing through those thoughts and doing the work has always been an on-going battle. I know that what I’m doing is what I’m called to do, so I just push through it!
HOW DO YOU REPRESENT THE TRAIT HARD-WORKING?
I just don’t quit. I have a hustler’s spirit and I have never been afraid to get my hands dirty.
ASIDE FROM BEING HARD-WORKING, WHAT ARE YOUR THREE OTHER PERSONALITY TRAITS THAT DESCRIBE YOURSELF AND HOW SO?
Encouraging, Passionate, Strong
- Encouraging: I get a lot of joy in rooting for people. We all need a cheerleader in life and I’ve been blessed enough to cheer some amazing people on!
- Passionate: I pretty much go hard in everything I do lol!
- Strong: I’ve been through a lot and I’m still standing because of this God-given strength that I have
WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION AND WHY?
My mom. She has worked so hard her entire life and never complains. She is so full of faith and always knows the perfect thing to say. If I could be half the woman she is, I’d be happy.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND GOALS? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS FROM NOW?
Right now my hopes and goals are surprisingly shifting. My one and only dream my entire life was to be a full time, successful working actor. That’s literally all I’ve ever wanted. However, since I started this blog and was able to have total control over my creative life, I’m loving it! Not only have I been able to create the work I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve been blessed with a beautiful tribe of women and men that I get to encourage every single week through my newsletter “The Sunday Jumpstart”. In the newsletter we talk about how to overcome fears, take leaps of faith and how to incorporate a lifestyle of gratitude to squash our anxieties. The emails and texts I get about how much those little newsletters have helped some of my readers are insane! (In a good way of course, lol!) Here I am thinking I’m writing a little 600 word email and God has used it and my other platforms to help people and that is what I am discovering is my true calling.
If I had it my way, I’d blog full time and create workshops and conferences where the main focus would be to encourage folks to overcome their fears and pursue their passions.
WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO ANOTHER YOUNG WOMAN ABOUT WORKING HARD AND FOLLOWING HER DREAMS?
Protect your dream. I’ve made the very innocent mistake of telling my dreams and goals to people that were full of fear in their own lives. They discouraged me from taking leaps of faith because they had never stepped out of their comfort zone before. I let their fear swallow my dreams. So if you have a dream, guard it with everything that’s in you. Share it with a select trusted few that will nurture your dream.