Lacey Jeka: “Literally nobody knows wtf they are doing”

My #1 tip would be to try not to be so intimidated by people in (uh oh, she’s gonna say it!) authority. Easier said than done, but I remember starting out and being so nervous about going to castings. Now I’m older and some of my best friends work in casting and I’m like — oh, someone […]

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My #1 tip would be to try not to be so intimidated by people in (uh oh, she’s gonna say it!) authority. Easier said than done, but I remember starting out and being so nervous about going to castings. Now I’m older and some of my best friends work in casting and I’m like — oh, someone is going to go audition for them and be so scared to meet them when in reality this is the person I just watched sob while inhaling McDonald’s next to a trash can while commiserating about their love life. We’re all just people! Tips 2–5 include:


As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Lacey Jeka.

Lacey is a writer, comedian and actor living happily in Brooklyn, NY. Her writing has been featured on Reductress and produced for stages like UCB and The Annoyance Theatre. Her comedy duo is featured in the upcoming Comedy Central series, ILANA GLAZER PRESENTS: TIGHT FIVE, streaming this spring. Lacey stars in her first feature film, Rehab Cabin, currently in its festival run.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I unfortunately grew up in Orlando, FL — I apologize in advance! I moved to NY about ten years ago and I never want to leave.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was the typical theatre kid in school — it was the one thing I felt like I was really good at, and it’s where I made all my friends. I had so much anxiety going to school and without the drama department, I feel like I wouldn’t have had a reason to get up in the morning. I pursued it all the way to New York, went to a Meisner conservatory, and ended up finding comedy and writing along the way.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I don’t know how interesting it is, but I guess I didn’t realize part of my career journey would be cleaning up puke as an intern at a comedy theatre to help pay for classes. Concrete Jungle, where dreams are made!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I visited the city once when I was a teen, following up on an acting competition I did well at and any leads for jobs that came of networking there. It was the first time I ever really auditioned, and I remember getting my resume template off of a website. In the corner it said, “SAG Must Join.” I just left it because I didn’t know what it meant and thought it was just some mysterious industry thing I’d understand later. But when I went in for the audition they were like — “How are you a must join right now? You barely have any credits.” I was like, hmm okay I want to crawl out of my own skin? But I just literally didn’t have any context for this world. Now I absolutely know what SAG is, not to brag.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

My Comedy Central episode of “Ilana Glazer Presents: Tight Five” comes out this spring! I’m also starring in my first feature, Rehab Cabin, in its festival run right now.

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

You’re going to fail! Fear of failure is real but it’s unavoidable and instrumental to any kind of success down the line. At some point, the fear of not doing it outweighs the fear of doing it. Not even trying is way scarier, I think.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Representation matters in film and TV so much, reasons 1–100 being that everyone have the same opportunities to be seen and heard, but it also just makes for better and more interesting storytelling to not hear from the same people over and over again. That’s so boring.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

My #1 tip would be to try not to be so intimidated by people in (uh oh, she’s gonna say it!) authority. Easier said than done, but I remember starting out and being so nervous about going to castings. Now I’m older and some of my best friends work in casting and I’m like — oh, someone is going to go audition for them and be so scared to meet them when in reality this is the person I just watched sob while inhaling McDonald’s next to a trash can while commiserating about their love life. We’re all just people! Tips 2–5 include:

2. Know where the good public bathrooms are for in between auditions (thank you, Bloomingdales in Soho!)

3. Write things for yourself and shoot it with your peers. This is how I built my reel early on, a community for myself and also my entire friend group!

4. Literally nobody knows wtf they are doing — just go for it.

5. Remember people’s names and be kind to everyone. That’s a good rule for anybody, I think.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I think the shut down reminded us all that ultimately this job is supposed to be fun and yes, it matters but it also… doesn’t matter! Call your grandparents! Pet your dog! Eat bread! Take care of yourself first.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d love it if everyone took a break from the Internet for like two weeks. I can do this alone but I’ll have fomo knowing everyone is still on the apps without me. I don’t know if that will help the world at large but it would be great for my mental health, so everyone should do that for me please.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m lucky my parents thought I could conceivably do this for a living and didn’t try to talk me out of it — I know their support is a huge reason why I was even able to pursue this.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” lol. Words to live by and I have not yet nailed this — but I try to remind myself of it any time I don’t get the job or see someone else get the job and feel behind in my career. Social media makes that especially hard.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Miss Piggy.

How can our readers follow you online?

IG: @laceyjeka

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