Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
My name is Jake Jensen and I am a professor, writer, producer, actor, and now radio host with Power 98.5. As a former NCAA Division I collegiate tennis player I learned early on how to work hard to achieve my goals, learn from losses, and challenge myself to be the best version of myself that I could be.
After college I continued my education by earning a master’s degree in exercise science and a PhD in Sport Psychology while also pursuing my interests in acting and other aspects of the entertainment world. While it was and is not easy to always find a balance between my many interests and pursuits, it has been amazing to me to see how they have all come together over the past few years and helped me to have opportunities that I never thought were possible.
I am currently co-hosting a radio show, In the Actors and Athletes Studios with Steven Cuoco and Jake Jensen, on Power 98.5 (power985.com) where we discuss topics related to anxiety, mental health, mindfulness, and more. I get to use my experience as a certified mental performance coach (CMPC) as well as athlete and actor, while Steven brings a wealth of knowledge about mental health, working in the entertainment industry for many years as a publicist, radio host, and producer.
I look forward to our show every time that we co-host our show as it has allowed me to bring my diverse interests, experiences and background together to reach a broader audience.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
What qualities that make me unique from anyone else in the industry is the varied interests, expertise, and knowledge that I bring to everything that I do. I used to feel the need to separate the different interests and pursuits of my life, and I have come to realize that they all make me who I am as Jake Jensen.
I am a tenured professor of Sport & Performance psychology at California State University, Northridge, as well as the sport psychologist on staff with the athletics department at CSUN. I am also a working actor, producer, and radio host. I believe that all of my experience teaching, working with a diverse student population, has allowed me to relate and work well with a variety of people. I feel like I can use my background as a competitive athlete as well as my training in sport psychology to manage anxiety, stress, and the many highs and lows of any career(s).
When I’m auditioning for different acting roles, I realize that I don’t have as many credits or experience as some other actors who have been doing it for much longer than I have. However I also bring a wealth of experience, education, and knowledge that helps me to identify with different roles, characters, and people.
My acting training and classes have also helped me not only as an actor but also as a professor, sport psychology consultant, and producer. It’s been very rewarding to see how my varied education, work experience, and passions have informed each other and made me better at everything that I do.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
I was on set of the film King Richard with Will Smith and Tony Goldwyn in the Fall of 2020. I had originally booked a role on the film and was supposed to shoot in April, 2020. Then the pandemic hit and all production was shut down.
During the summer I got a call from my agent telling me that my role had been dropped from the film and I was devastated and really down for a few months. Then towards the end of the summer my manager called me and told me that they had a smaller role in the film for me and that they were going to be shooting again starting in the Fall.
I remember being on set in the room with Will Smith on the phone, and my character talking to Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) about Richard William’s daughters, Venus and Serena Williams. It has been such a dark period with Covid, I had been so disappointed having my original role dropped from the film, and now here I was on set of a huge movie, in the room with actors that I had looked up to for years, and I had a speaking role in this film.
It was an amazing feeling and experience and I truly felt like I was doing what I was born to do. Although my scene didn’t make it into the final edit of the film, I will always cherish that moment of shooting and for the first time realizing that I was a “real” working actor.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The biggest challenge that I had to go through was actually with a student of mine that I had at the university. She was a graduate student and after the first night of class she asked if she could come to my office and talk about her master’s thesis. About 15 minutes into the meeting, she jumped up onto my desk, started crawling towards me and told me that “we couldn’t deny the attraction we had for each other.” I told her to get off of my desk and that I never have relationships with students of mine.
I reported the incident to the university office over sexual harassment and they ignored my complaints. Over the course of the semester this student turned into a full blown stalker. She would follow me home after class, she started sending me daily emails and notes under my office door with explicit sexual fantasies she had for me, she would come to all my classes ands it in the corner, she would follow me around campus, and threaten me if I didn’t give her more attention.
I kept reporting this to the university, and they didn’t do anything. She even sent a death threat to one of the other students in the class who acted as my unofficial bodyguard after class. Finally after about 5 months of this she came to my office door. I had the door locked and I heard her crying outside the door. She then slipped a piece of paper under my door with bloody handprints of hers on the sheet with the message “I will have my hands around you forever.” I was scared and stayed in my office for about 3 hours until I was sure that she was gone.
I then took the bloody handprints and went straight to the LAPD who immediately got a restraining order against her and brought her in for questioning. To this day I am not sure why the university never stepped in and did anything, but I am grateful that since the LAPD got involved that I have had no additional contact or threats from this former student. I am actually just starting to write a film about the experience and it has been cathartic to start writing about in and sharing the story with others.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
I would love to meet the writer, director and actress Greta Gerwig. I have so much respect for her talent in so many different areas of the industry and am a huge fan of her work.
I would love to meet Robert Redford. My acting coach has encouraged me to watch many of his films which I have been doing over the last year. We also both have connections to Utah as I grew up close to Park City Utah and the Sundance Film Festival. I would love to meet him and just absorb all of his experience, insights, and talent.
I would love to meet Steve Martin. I have been a fan of his for years, but I recently saw the play that he wrote, Picasso at the Lapin Agile in LA. It was brilliantly written and made me an even bigger fan of his.
Drop your social media links.
jakejensenmedia (same handle for Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter)