Actress and musician Jessica Janes believes in taking risks in her life. She previously lived in Houston when she was in high school because of her dad's job, and attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts for her last two years.
She then headed for the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico, to major in musical theater. Realizing she wasn't happy, she left after only a semester. Afterwards
she lived in Nova Scotia, Canada, for a while. She felt she had some sort of roots here, so she ended up moving back to Houston to work and focus on her acting.
She attended the University of Houston for a bit as a French major, but when school started conflicting with her acting schedule, she decided to leave school because she would not have been happy if she couldn't act.
What she does? Jessica Janes is an actress currently performing at Catastrophic Theatre, an independent theater in Houston. She's also performed in shows at Stages Repertory Theatre, Theater LaB and Mildred's Umbrella. It was while doing a show called The Flu Season with Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company that, she says, she was noticed by the artistic director of Catastrophic, and was then asked to audition for them. Her Catastrophic credits include Anna Bella Eema, Paradise Hotel, Bluefinger and American Falls. She's currently performing in Catastrophic's Tamarie Cooper's Doomsday Revue (The Greatest Musical Ever). Janes has done everything from dramatic roles to comedy and musicals.
"I just love it. If I'm not doing theater or performing in some capacity, I don't know what to do with myself. I'm a busy body."
Janes says she really enjoys being a musician as well as an actress. She was formerly the female vocalist for the local band Roky Moon and BOLT.
"I like to stay involved in more than just theater because I like to be able to learn from people. By staying involved in music and everything, it's really exposed me to some really talented people. I look around at my group of friends and I'm just amazed by how talented people are, and I'm super grateful for having so many amazing artists in Houston to be inspired by."
Although Janes considers herself an actress and musician, she says she likes to keep her hands in everything. When she is not rehearsing or playing in a show, she's working one of her many jobs. She does standardized patient work at hospitals; when she's not there, she works as receptionist at a hair salon, sometimes as a barista at Café Brasil
on Sundays, a farmers' market on Saturdays, a vegan bakery, Central Bakery...she likes to be all over the place. She says she runs better that way.
"I choose to make my life difficult because I know I'd be very bored otherwise."
What inspires her? People inspire her.
"I love people. I love watching people. I love making people laugh. I love invoking some sort of feeling. There's something beautiful about getting an emotional reaction out of someone who is a complete stranger and them feeling some sort of connection to [me] because of something I did onstage."
If not this, then what? Nothing. "I would be sad. I've always been fascinated with tons of things, but nothing in the way of performing. I find nutrition fascinating, I find the human body fascinating, but I am by no means a science nerd. I was a good student, but beyond that, I always wanted to do theater. "
If not here, then where? "I've thought about L.A. I have a lot of friends out there and I do think I could do well. It would definitely push me to just film and TV." She had dabbled a bit in TV and film in the past, so she could see herself moving later on.
"I would love to get a singing contract with a cruise ship and do that for a year. Then move to L.A. and be able to work full time as an actor." But she also adds that as long as she is inspired in Houston, she will be here to stay.
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What's next? She will soon be starring in an original play by Miki Johnson at Catastrophic called Fleaven, about the beginnings of hip-hop.
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