Jackie Nova is best known for her appearance on the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and the upcoming action suspense thriller Art of Deception(Ox Films).
What was it that first sparked your interest in the world of entertainment and acting?
I am an American Dominican Latina born in NYC, raised in NJ. I’ve been a part of Performing School of Arts since I was in grade school, and I have always been a part of dance, theatre and music. Since I was a little girl I always knew that acting, dancing & singing was my destiny. What surely sparked my interest was this aha moment when my parents took me to see my aunt “Belkis Concepción- Las Chicas del Can” perform with her band and she pulled me up on stage to perform with them, from that moment. that spark, I knew I was an entertainer. Everyone was going wild over how I sang and danced- the feeling was exhilarating which is how I feel whenever I’m on set as an actress- when I perform on stage singing and dancing. While I was attending high school, I was also in Performing School of Arts during the afternoon hours where professors there pushed me to work hard and taught me that quitting is not an option. I have played the roles of Mimi as an understudy for the Broadway musical Rent. The first producer I ever auditioned for was Mr. Bill Cosby, and I was a kid, and he was nice to me. He picked me and another girl from our Performing School of Arts. Cosby said, “She’s got it.”
I was excited to have co starred on Everybody Hates Chris opposite Terry Crews and also co starred on the show Insecure. I’m also a comedian and I’ve done stand-up comedy at the Haha Café, Comedy store, Improve with Groundlings and LA Connections. I’ve worked with Dane Cook, Jamie Foxx and Andrew Dice Clay. I’ve done lots of national commercial spots in Spanish and a few in English. For the past four years, Richard Ryan and I have heavily focused on finishing our movie Art of Deception, which has put a stop on any other projects. My passion is in film, preferably where you can travel all over to shoot with incredible actors/filmmakers. I love the art of acting and becoming different characters on television and commercials as well. I’m big on athletics and I excel in gymnastics, baseball, flag football, Ice skating and rollerblading. I’m all about my family and they are number one for me. My profession and my passion is being an actor/dancer/singer in movies and television.
What do you find most challenging about working in front of the camera? Do you ever feel self conscious?
I never found anything to be challenging and I never felt self- conscious in front of the camera. Perhaps when the director calls action, I’m so deep into my character and I never notice any cameras. That’s how deep and lost into the scene I am.
What advice would you offer other females of all ages in regards to self image?
My advice about self-image is to love yourself just the way you are. I say this in all sincerity. Be you because you’re unique and special, no matter what age or size or color or shape. Let’s just say you aren’t happy with your body, well then work out hard and put the work in. Do not take the route of plastic surgery. Love who you see in the mirror and tell yourself, “I am beautiful, and thank you for making me so extraordinary”. Just love YOU! Go to a spa and get pampered if you’re feeling blue and work out because that takes away any icky feelings.
Who do you consider to be some of the most talented actresses past and present? Why?
Who inspires me as an actress are actors who move me such as:
Lucille Ball my mentor icon comedian
Katherine Hepburn, who is an icon, and I feel that I’m feisty with conviction much like her.
Frances McDormand is powerful and I admire her qualities.
Jodie Foster is admirable and I love her qualities as well.
Hillary Swank is intense and I enjoy her performances.
Reese Witherspoon is well rounded and playful, which I love.
Rita Moreno (West Side Story) musical queen and I love her.
Natalie Wood (West Side Story) also a musical queen whom I love.
All of these women I’ve mentioned have had an impact on me. I admire all of them as artists, and I strive as an artist to enlighten others just as these women have enlightened others.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the film industry? Do you think the recent events and controversies will lead to an overall more positive working environment for actors and actress of the future?
My thoughts on the current state of the film industry is that the decision makers are not as opened minded as they used to be in the past, which has made it harder for us as actors and filmmakers to break through. I do understand that for these studios, it’s all about the status quo and making the most money possible. But let’s not forget how important it is to let the artists shine and allow for new opportunities to break through. Seeing new talent on screen is very cool and audiences enjoy that. It would be nice to allow more fresh faces on the scene and to allow even more opportunities. However, it’s unfortunate that most studio heads want name actors, and even the film festivals are starting to follow the same path, not all but unfortunately, most are. Studio heads and film festivals used to want to give newcomers a shot and help artists out, but that has changed. Richard and I want to make a difference once we make names for ourselves and our movie reaches the masses, we want to help other unknown artists make their dreams come true.
I do think that with the recent outbreak of “Enough is Enough” and “Stand Up” and “Stand Together” and “No More Silence,” changes will happen, especially for us women. We hopefully won’t have to continue to endure the lack of opportunities and mayhem. I have my own stories about this and this this subject, and this is why I know most women have kept silent, as women are scared of jeopardizing their careers, but with this idea of “no more silence” we can grow stronger and less of this disgusting behavior will occur.
What would you say is the most important thing to learn in your line of work?
The most important thing to learn in my line of work as an actor is to be an impeccable listener, love to read and be open-minded.
A lot of your roles stem from your work at Ox Films. What is it like to work there?
I love working with my soul mate Richard Ryan, who is the founder of Ox Films, which is why we will always work together on more projects to come. We also will be working on other projects as well which is fundamental to our future as artists. Working with Ox Films is fun, invigorating, there is lots of talent, and plenty of knowledge to gain on a daily basis. Always new adventures pop up.
Do you have a dream role you’d most like to bring into existence?
Richard made my dream role come true because he definitely allowed me to shine as a powerful, strong and action-packed leading lady for Art of Deception. For future projects this is the track I’d like to stay on as leading lady, the powerful, ninja, action hero and bad ass roles, take charge type of character, which is a lot like who I am.
What did you enjoy most about working on that particular film?
What I enjoyed the most about working on our movie Art of Deception was the production phase, shooting on set, especially while doing my scenes because transforming into my character gives me pleasure and brings me joy. I love the gift of giving the audience an experience while they watch our movie, but also being in charge as a producer and behind the scenes is fulfilling and exciting!
What was it like to work alongside the rest of the cast?
It was amazing, effortless, always a learning experience, and it was a transcending experience working alongside our incredibly talented cast and seasoned professional crew.
What do you enjoy most about having the chance to work in action film?
My favorite genres are action, comedy, and thriller, so working on our action suspense thriller, Art of Deception was a treat and a delight every step of the way, no matter what challenges arose.
Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
“Never give up and follow your dreams” is what I was taught my whole life, without this you will always wonder.