1) Why did you decide to get into this industry?
Film is a unique, and seemingly serendipitous at times, opportunity for me to do multiple things that showcase my skill set and nourish my soul. I’ve been a visual artist since I was old enough to hold a pencil, have dabbled in performing arts for much of my life, and have been a freelance professional makeup artist for several years. When offered the chance to work on my first film shoot–a female-directed music video for a band of bad-ass women–I jumped at the opportunity, and immediately felt like I was in my element on set. There’s also something incredibly rewarding about collaborating with fellow creatives, being a piece of a bigger puzzle, and then months later enjoying the fruits of your collective labor when it’s released for the world to see.
Photo: Me doing last looks/touchups on a 2016 music video shoot with artistic director Lauren Bruno of Shape Agency looking on.
2) What’s a defining moment in your life?
That’s a tricky question for me. My life has been full of defining moments, some tragic and some fortunate. It is this unique combination of factors that has molded me into who I am today, for better or worse. Losing a child in 2008, followed by ending an abusive marriage the next year, is ultimately what forced me to reassess everything and take the leap into a creative career. Another big one was my first film shoot. It was the first time I remember feeling so competent and engaged in a work environment.
Photo: A photo taken by Sandy Allen of nowilaymedowntosleep.org in the hospital the day before my 5-month-old died in 2008 due to complications from bacterial meningitis.
3) What is your biggest concern with the future?
My current goal is to generate a comfortable enough income to spend more time traveling and adventuring, less time worrying. Stability, both financial and emotional, is sort of a holy grail for artists, entrepreneurs, and single mothers. Given the state of the economy, and the fluctuating nature of film work, finding a sustainable system that works for me and my family has become my primary concern for the future.
Photo: My first time taking the family on a real adventure! Long overdue.
4) What is a successful moment in your career so far?
I worked on a film this year that’s going to Cannes! That’s super exciting. I also got to spend two weeks filming an episodic series with an awesome cast and crew of friends, directed by super-talented Emily Hagins, and that premiered at SXSW which was cool. I’ve gone on to work with many of those same crew members since; it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Photo: Hanging with wardrobe and hair friends on set of the “Hold To Your Best Self” shoot, written and directed by Emily Hagins aka Cheesy Nuggets.
5) What advice do you have for other women in the industry?
We have to stick together, and within our respective roles we must try to create opportunities for other women to contribute and get involved. I was fortunate enough to get my foot in the door because another woman believed in my abilities and took a chance on me. I try to do the same for other skilled ladies whenever possible, and am forming wonderful alliances with women in my local film community.
Photo: Women in film! BTS on set of Cold Open by Emily Hagins. Pictured here are makeup, wardrobe, production designer, and PA crew members. We always make it a point to document and celebrate working with other talented lady friends, especially when the boss – Emily, not pictured – is a trailblazing young woman.
6) What, if anything, do you collect?
I collect art supplies and makeup! It’s an expensive habit, but proves useful more often than not. Also Batman memorabilia/toys/art.
Photo: Just some pics of my mess in action.
7) What are you working on next? In addition, if people want to find out more about you, where can they find you on social media?
@jenheartsart on Instagram is where I’m most socially active. My plan is to continue doing makeup, FX workshops, design, art department, and my part-time fitness jobs for the foreseeable future, while working in the background alongside my female film friends to organize and push for Austin to incentivize industry work and support women in the arts. #cantstopwontstop