Los Angeles based actress Neela Jolene has been entertaining people since she could walk. Happiest on set, this high school graduate, is juggling college and acting work all while keeping things in perspective. Neela Jolene took time from her hectic schedule for an interview about where she’s been and where she is headed.
You started out as a dancer. How did you transition into acting?
My parents put me in a dance class when I was 2 years old, and I never stopped taking dance classes after that. As I got older, they could see I loved being on stage every chance I could get. I started taking musical theater classes in 3rd grade and by the time I entered middle school I had done about 10 shows. My parents then decided to put me in a performing arts middle school because of my love for the stage. In middle school I started doing competition dance, competition show choir, and more musical theater shows. The pandemic started at the time I was starting high school and I was not able to perform on stage anymore which was very hard on me. The pandemic shut down many businesses including my dance studio, and I took it as a sign to switch my focus to acting which I had been dreaming about. I used the down time due to the pandemic to start a professional acting career. Since then, I’ve been blessed with lots of opportunities, and I’m working hard every day doing what I love most.
Do you think your time in pageants has prepared you for the entertainment business?
Absolutely. In many ways. Competing in pageants is similar to competing for acting jobs. The competition is fierce, and the odds of winning are very low. You need to be in it for the love of the journey, because focusing on the destination/win most often leads to disappointment. Pageants and the acting business are also similar in that they require many of the same type of skills. It takes talent, hard work, intelligence, confidence, great communication skills, the ability to use a platform for good, etc. to succeed in either pageants or an acting career.
Tell us about your newest project.
I don’t have anything big in the works right now and the writer’s strike is not helping. But fortunately, I am still super busy doing Dhar Mann episodes for the @Dharmann YouTube channel. I’m about to film my 27th episode next week so that is very exciting to me. I’m also hoping that the @Brat YouTube channel decides to do another season of its “Junior’s” show so I can continue my role as Grace. I loved playing Grace in that show.
How do you draw inspiration for your roles?
Tough question. I basically just try to put myself in their shoes. Every role is as unique as every person, so I give their circumstances and personalities a lot of thought.
What was your favorite memory from all the projects you’ve worked on so far?
I have so many great memories from all the projects I’ve worked on it is hard to pick one. I am the happiest person whenever I am on set, so I always have tons of fun filming. I guess if I’d have to pick one, I’d say my favorite memory is meeting a guy on set who has now become my boyfriend. We are both actors and we motivate each other to keep following our acting dreams no matter how hard it is.
You have a video of a lot of your skills from surfing to skiing to target shooting. Which is your favorite and why?
I am a very adventurous person and I love trying anything. So far, I’ve spent most of my free time either surfing, skateboarding, off road riding, wakeboarding, snow skiing, rock jumping, target shooting, or traveling. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of free time between college and career work, but I hope I will be able to try more adventurous things in the future. I’ve grown to love surfing in the ocean, skiing in the mountains, riding quads in the desert, hiking in the wilderness, and wakeboarding in the lakes. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be surfing. Surfing is super challenging, and I love a good challenge.
Fun Question– As a director if you could direct any actor in a film who would that be and why?
I would love to work with any of the talented women actresses who have successfully played superhero type roles. Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, etc. It would be a dream come true to do an action-packed movie with them.
Do you have any new projects coming out and if so, what can you tell us about them?
I actually landed a lead role in an independent film called “House of Karma” so be on the lookout for that. It is an unusual genre, being a comedy horror flick. The filming is complete and in its editing stage, so hopefully we get to see it soon. Be sure to follow me and I will post news as soon as it is released. Links to follow me are at https://www.beacons.ai/NeelaJolene