Jenna Leigh Miller: Social (Media) Butterfly
Beyond the Footlights is back with another Passion Piece Feature, and this month I had the joy and privilege of communicating with actress, theatre coach, and ball of literal sunshine, Jenna Leigh Miller!
Here’s a little bit about Jenna in her own words!:
“Hey! My name is Jenna Leigh Miller and I am a New York City based actress. I hold a BFA in Musical Theatre from Otterbein University. I first came across Musical Theatre on a Brownies trip to NYC, where we saw Beauty & the Beast, ever since then I was hooked! I started singing at the young age of 3 years old, at church. I truly was singing before I was talking. I lived out my “Fame the Original Movie” dreams by attending the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts as a Vocal Major. I am also the creator of Problem Solved, a Theatre Coaching for all artists, specializing in everything audition related. In my free time I enjoy cooking, games nights, Gilmore Girls, and reading as many quote books as I can.”
Y’all. If you don’t already follow Jenna on social media, you MUST this instant! While Jenna and I haven’t had the opportunity to meet one another in person, I feel like I already know her like I know any close friend just from our interaction with one another via social media. I truly don’t remember how I stumbled upon her profile, but from the moment we connected I could tell how positive, uplifting, hard-working, and hilarious she is!!! I follow both her personal account as well as her Problem Solved account, and on any given day, my feed is full of Jenna doing everything from highlighting her favorite self-tape products and audition book hacks, dancing up a STORM, and singing her face off to her making her signature chai, chilling with her blow-up pool dolphins, and doing blind taste tests of her favorite adult beverages! Her feed really is the social media experience we are all in need of during this crazy quaran-time!
I just love how real and supportive Jenna is at all times. What you see is what you get, and that isn’t something that is easy to hold onto in our line of work sometimes, so for that I admire her immensely. Because she works hard, she plays hard, and because of that, I thought it would be fun to check in with Jenna and hear about her passions and how she practices self-care! Here’s our chat:
Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?
J: I am an actress, performer, artists, daughter, friend, and human being. I am New York City based but I am currently quarantine in Easton PA, which is also where I’m from!
What are you currently doing for work, if anything?
J: I am so grateful for my theatre coaching business- Problem Solved, truly has kept me busy during quarantine! I also teach acting to younger kids with this company based out of Pittsburgh called South Hills Music Academy. And I social media manage An Actor Plans, which sells Broadway themed stationary goods! Check them out: @an_actor_plans
Tell me a little about your journey as a performer and how it has brought you to where you are today?
J: I always knew I wanted to perform. I know that sounds so cheesy but, it’s true! I did other things as a child, soccer, swim team, but it was always AFTER rehearsal or AFTER my voice lesson or AFTER my dance class. To me, my path was always lit up. I knew what I wanted to do. As artists, creativity runs through our bones. That has spilled into other parts of my life, but my Broadway dreams have been consistent my entire life.
If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!
- Performing…duh! #jennaforbroadway
- Cooking and cocktail making. Follow my #drinkswithjenna journey on Insta
- Supporting and uplifting fellow artists, that’s how I found Angela on Instagram! #artistssupportingartists
- Problem Solved, building something from the ground up is incredible rewarding
- AUDITIONING! (I know crazy) I love being pushed outside my comfort zone in the audition room, meeting new people, getting an opportunity to perform. I even love the hustle that comes with audition season.
Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?
J: I love the quote, “Love what you do, and you will never work a day in your life.” Meaning I try to fill my time with my passions. If you don’t love what you do, what’s the point?! I turned my passions into my career. So yes, all of my passions fall into the same category!
What are some things you do in your spare/down time to foster or hone those passions, so they stay just as alive as your work?
J: See, this is something I struggle with. You know how they say don’t work from your bed, because you shouldn’t mix “work” with “down time”. Well… I am currently writing these responses in my bed, p-jays still on with a pomegranate G & T in my hand. So much of my work is my downtime I struggle to find that perfect balance. But I will say cooking is a huge stress reliever for me. It’s an hour to myself to create.
What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?
J: Oh woof, BIG question! I feel like this is best discussed in a bar in Downtown Manhattan with some fancy drink that is casually flaming, but I’ll give it a go…
- Perform on Broadway. This has been a professional goal of mine since I saw my first Broadway show, Beauty and the Beast, on a Brownies trip to New York City.
- Have a home base. I am slightly obsessed with tiny homes and I feel like for an actor it’s the perfect size. And being able to drive your house whenever you have a contract sounds brilliant to me.
- Make a sustainable amount of money where I get to choose what I want I do. Whether that money comes from contracts or my business doesn’t really matter to me, but they don’t call it finical freedom for nothing. I want that freedom!
I’d just like to note none of these things I have achieved yet and I am ok with that. For me, it is more about the direction and not the speed at which I achieve my goals. I do believe in putting things out there in the universe and asking for what you want. But not at the expense of giving myself timelines I have to follow.
What does your self-care routine look like?
J: Cliché answer, but wine, face mask, and a good Netflix binge and some yummy snacks! I also find self-care is giving myself pep talks. I recently re-did my dance reel and when I was going through editing the videos 75% of them all had some sort of self-affirmation in them, “You got this Jenna,” “Show em what you got,” “You are so ready for this.” Makes me laugh watching it back, but to me that is a huge part of my self-care. If I don’t believe in myself, why would other people?
What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life?
J: You make your own schedule. So, YOU get to decide what your energy goes towards. Carving out an hour of time to sing each week is the same as carving out an hour of time to do your laundry. To me I put them on equal levels of importance.
I also say this all the time but when it comes to the performance industry but, SHOW UP. That’s my advice, show up. Half the battle when it comes to pursing your passions is showing up. Show up for your family, show up for your fellow artists, show up in your audition prep work, show up to that early morning open call, show up when preparing food for your body, show up to that dance class you have been wanting to take all quarantine. Show up for yourself.
A HUGE thank you to Jenna for taking time out of her busy, fun-filled life to answer my questions! Weren’t her responses just perfect? So candid, so hopeful, and so relatable! I can’t wait until I am able to connect with her in person, but in the mean time, catch me following her journey and growth online!
WHAT? You don’t already follow Jenna?! Fear not. There are plenty of ways to connect with her online right now! Check her out at any of the following:
Actress Website: www.jennaleighmiller.com
Actress Instagram: @jennaleighmiller
Problem Solved Instagram: @problemsolvedbyjenna
Actor Must Haves: http://www.problemsolvedbyjenna.com/actormusthaves
Have a wonderful week my friends! Keep shining!