"It is so important to be a kind genuine person, because that is how good people will naturally gravitate to you."
Jessa Doll began dancing at 10-years-old and recently moved to Los Angeles from Canada to pursue her dreams. Since making the scary move, she has booked national commercials, music videos and movies, as well as choreographed a dance set for an up and coming artist.
Yes, Jessa. KEEP IT UP!
Every Ella: Hi Jessa! Tell us about yourself.
Jessa Doll: I grew up in Langley, BC with my mother and father and attended Langley Fine Arts School. During my grad year I joined a dance company in the city, which I had to commute out to the city to for 4 days a week after school.
When did you start dancing?
I started dancing when I was 10 years old, A little later than most because I was mostly training in Musical Theatre. In order for me to join a Musical Theatre troupe I wanted to be a part of I was told I needed to have a basic dance background. Which is what led me to join a dance studio.
Was it true that you were sometimes viewed as the underdog?
Because I had a bit of a later start, I had a lot of catching up to do. Therefore I definitely was never at the top of my class. I was also pretty awkward growing up and lacked social skills which never made me the popular one. Because of that I often felt like I blended or just didnt fit in. I was never bullied but was more of a personal struggle of knowing my place. People definitely underestimated me.
What pushed you to keep going?
I slowly started falling in love with dance and it was after my dance studio performed in Disneyland that I knew I would want to pursue this as a career. Working in the entertainment industry was so intriguing and inspiring to me, not to mention dancing ended up being one of the only things I became truly passionate about as a career choice. I just knew somehow I was gonna make it happen. I was never really noticed in Canada and often got lost in the competition world or blended in, but whenever I would attend conventions with LA faculty or visit Los Angeles to train, teachers would take a liking to me and notice my potential. I slowly gained a very strong support system in LA and thought I would fit in more over there.
You made the decision to move to Los Angeles to pursue a dance career. Was that a challenging transition?
Originally I did not think it would be because I had visited so many times, but it was a much harder adjustment than I thought it would be. Commercial auditions and jobs in Vancouver are very safe and cookie cutter because most of the jobs are for Disney and Nickelodeon or at least were before moving. After moving to LA, I realized it was a whole other ball game. Not only did I learn I would have to break out of my shell to be successful but also that your package (aka your looks, how in shape you are and brand) are the most important factor of booking work. In Vancouver, no one is concerned with how much you weigh or if your roots are grown out. But In LA those can be deal breakers if the girl standing next to you is 4 pounds lighter and has no roots (depending on the job) they will choose her over you, even if you’re a stronger dancer. It is the whole guessing game of not knowing what people want and that made it very easy to get in your head and become obsessive of fitting a certain mold, especially because my visa is an O-1 meaning I can only do dance work, putting a lot of pressure on yourself to be successful in order to support yourself.
What has your time in Los Angeles taught you?
The biggest thing i have learned in LA is only you control your thoughts and to never give anyone enough power to make you feel inferior or not good enough. I also learned to have a strong backbone. It is so important to be a kind genuine person because that is how good people will naturally gravitate to you, but also to be assertive and strong and not to let people walk over you. Everything you aspire to be is obtainable as long as you never give up!
What are your ambitions for the future?
My short term goals are to definitely renew my visa for another 3 years and book a international or national tour with an artist. I’m also choreographing/dancing for an amazing upcoming artist named GIA - I am so excited to see where that experience takes me. In addition, hopefully travelling to places like Greece, Bali and Australia. Long term, I would love to eventually become an agent and use what I have/will learn to help other people pursue their dreams.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Some of my credits include dancing in commercials such as KOHLS, FILA, L’OREAL. For artists in music videos such as Natalie La Rose, Jesse McCartney, O.L.A, Chiquis Rivera..etc. Dancing in movies such as Disney's “Girl vs Monster”, Nickelodeon “Rags” and “Bravetown” starring Lucas Till and Josh Duhamel.
The accomplishment i'm most proud of was choreographing a 30 minute dance set for upcoming pop rebel GIA to perform live. It was my first time choreographing a set that contained numerous songs and to set movement not only on the dancers, but for an artist to perform and feel comfortable with in front of hundreds of people!
What do you like to do for fun?
I love practicing yoga as it teaches you to live in the present moment. I also love arts and crafts/creating. As well as exploring new places!
Name one woman who inspires you.
I do not have just one woman who inspires me. I have so many amazing mentors, friends and family members that consistently inspire and support me :)
What one piece of advice would you like to give girls today?
Learn to be fully comfortable in your own skin, no one else is you and that's what makes you so special. If you can fully be at peace and proud of yourself no one can bring you down.