Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
I am Jaclyn Aimee, I am a Filipino-American actor based in Los Angeles. I also write and produce projects. I thought that I wanted to become an actor because I loved performance, making people laugh, and getting all the attention (obviously) – but now I know that the reason I do what I do is because I want to help audiences heal on an emotional level. Laughing, crying, empathizing, even feeling angry – these are all forms of expression that help us to heal emotions inside of us that are sometimes trapped in our bodies.
I have often considered myself the outcast of my family; I was the weirdo, the eccentric and loud one. I felt like no one understood me ever. That feeling stayed with me until I discovered acting on stage for the first time. Not only did I find it freeing; it was extremely cathartic. I felt seen, actually seen, for being myself. This sense of expression meant a lot to me, and I ended up feeling passionate about this. Now I know that I want to inspire others to express themselves so they don’t have years and years of suppressing their own emotions. I want them to feel free to be themselves.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
The qualities that make me different and unique are that I have a specific sense of humor. But I do my best to take everyone into consideration – I believe that laughter is healing. I always want to get to the root of people and their behaviors, knowing that their reactions or behaviors toward me are not a reflection of myself, but of how they’re feeling on the inside. I was born in America and raised in a very Filipino household – I have both freedom and the immigrant mindset on my side. I have been in therapy for years now, which is a huge stigma in old school Philippines, and I do my best to really try and bring mental health and self-awareness into my Filipino family and friends’ lives (sometimes without them knowing). I want to make a difference on a large scale – whether it’s helping someone get through a tough emotion or giving a word of encouragement. I believe a little goes a long way. Also, KINDNESS OVER EVERYTHING. Being nice is different than being kind. Always be kind to one another. That’s something I truly want to embody throughout every single stage and aspect of my career.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
When I was in high school, I was in a production called Damn Yankees where I played the part of the female lead character, Lola. My depiction of Lola wasn’t all sex-goddessed glory. My Lola was whacky, quirky, silly. She was everything I embodied, and Lola was my vehicle to get it to the audience. I stepped onto the stage right before singing “Whatever Lola Wants,” and I had never heard laughter from an audience before in my life like I heard that night. From then on, my classmates, schoolmates, and even some parents of the students were calling me “Lola” everywhere I went. I felt like I’d reached them, like I helped heal them. From then on, I’ve been doing my best to chase this feeling, knowing I can reach people with comedy, or even drama. Actors have such a wide reach and sometimes are not aware of the impact they make on a person’s day – or life. I knew from then on, with all my quirks and weirdness, I needed to let others feel seen too. I was born to heal and to help the misfits and outcasts have a place to feel safe to express and be themselves.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to go through was being told that everything I needed was already inside of me. WHAT?!?!? You mean… not even 123981 acting classes can’t help me? Well, yes, they can help, Jaclyn. But ultimately I had to help myself. It wasn’t until the pandemic started in 2020 that I really started to grow as a person and artist. I was still in therapy (which I’ve always done via phone/video chat anyway), and thank goodness I was. I had to really let go of my old, negative thoughts and help myself believe in ME. I had to fully commit to become self-aware of all my traumas and things that kept me down, because only I had the power to keep myself in that space. Once I started to love and care for myself so much, I started to blossom into someone that was genuinely me. I wasn’t trying to fit into the “industry standard” anymore. I just wanted to be free to be myself. Trying to be perfect or what actors think Hollywood wants to see is one of our biggest downfalls – we will never reach that place, no matter how hard we try UNLESS we change our mindset and allow ourselves to just be.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Mindy Kaling – she is Asian-American and has been elevating POC actors, making HILARIOUS content, she’s intelligent as hell. Jo Koy – he has made such huge strides for the Filipino-American community, he’s funny AF (seeing a theme yet?), and I can tell that deep down he really cares about uplifting the unseen. Judd Apatow – I have been a HUGE fan his work for years, his writing is so natural, conversational and just so REAL and relatable and HILARIOUS. (BONUS PERSON: TAIKA WAITITI – cuz hilarious and Marvel. Period.
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