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“It’s easy to forget how privileged we really are; We live in a wealthy country with so much opportunity.” With Ming Zhao & Jackie Diehl

I think it’s easy to forget how privileged we are. We live in a wealthy country with so much opportunity. This is something I would definitely have to spend a lot more time thinking on, but I would want to spend my time improving the lives of people that don’t have what I take so […]

I think it’s easy to forget how privileged we are. We live in a wealthy country with so much opportunity. This is something I would definitely have to spend a lot more time thinking on, but I would want to spend my time improving the lives of people that don’t have what I take so easily for granted. I’m talking about people with disabilities, people in third world countries, people with incurable diseases… It’s too large of a concept for me to really know how to put words to but I’d want to leave where I am and go to the people that can’t even fathom a life with the opportunity that mine has. And I’d want to change that for them in any way that I can.

As a part of our interview series with the rising stars in pop culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jackie Diehl.

Jackie is an actress and musician in the DMV area who has been both in front of the camera and behind the camera where she has helped other actors understand their craft while building on her own craft as well! She has written a number of short films for GEM Studios as well as starred in short films across Baltimore and Philadelphia. Throughout her career, she has spent time on the set of multiple movies and TV shows and has had the opportunity to learn from many talented artists along the way.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me! It’s hard to boil it down into a few words but I can’t think of how to describe it in any other way than an itch in the back of my mind. As I was growing up, I always excelled in anything that allowed for creativity — instruments, drawing, writing. I always knew that I harbored a deep fascination for understanding other people and the world around me and once I started doing community theater and taking acting classes everything just clicked; What better way to understand the world than to live as other people and to take on different lives while adding your own creative twist to each character?

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

I’m always in awe with how interconnected the world of acting is. It’s gotten to the point where I can be on sets down in Baltimore or way up in Philly and still run into actors I’ve met on other projects. Not that long ago I went on an evening cruise in DC where they needed actors on the boat for advertisement reasons and as soon as they seated me, a woman at my table reached out to me and said she recognized me but couldn’t figure out from where. Turns out she was an actor in a show I was in on Investigation Discovery! It was pretty crazy being recognized, especially a couple hours from my home.

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 went to an audition down in Baltimore and auditioned for three short films. A couple months later I got a callback for one of the films and was eventually cast. For some reason, I got confused during our communication and didn’t realize that I had a callback for a SECOND film as well, so I showed up in Baltimore thinking I was just going to a table read for the first film. When I found out I was actually at a callback for a different film I decided to whisper to the actor next to me and ask if she had any idea what film we were there for. Turns out the “actor” I asked was actually the director and writer… I didn’t get that role.

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

I’m currently working on writing a short film with some other actors I met in Philadelphia which we plan to hopefully film this upcoming summer.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

A while ago, the actor Glenn Morshower was asked to do autographs at a Comic Con for his role on Super Girl. He is close to some of the actors in the area where I’m from so he gave my friend and I free passes to get into the con and sit at the autograph table with him for a while which was quite an interesting experience because he has been in the industry way longer than me and I enjoyed spending time with him during his autographs and just learning more about his life.

Being on set is hands down one of my favorite ways to meet people. Crew and actors both — it’s an entire world of people brought together that I may never have otherwise met. When I worked on the show “Relatively Evil,” I created such a great bond with Justin who played my boyfriend and Christine who did hair and makeup. We would always fall into a rabbit hole of crazy stories and I’ll always be endlessly intrigued by the bits of their lives they’ve shared with me.

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

I don’t want to be predictably repetitive but… just don’t stop applying. You never know what a casting director is looking for. I applied to do background work on a show and ended up getting a featured role. The industry is unpredictable so all you can do is put yourself out there.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.

Personally, my mind is such a wanderer that most “self-care” routines I have are related to allowing my mind to keep on moving. I spend a lot of time reading, writing, and playing music. I also really enjoy fitness and find that engaging in any of these things all allow my mind to wander while also improving on my skills in multiple mediums which usually effects my mood for the better.

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

  1. Don’t act. I think this is one of the most important things to remember. Acting is listening and actually feeling. You’re not supposed to “play” sad. The authenticity comes from believing and mentally being in it. People have asked me before, “How do you make yourself cry?” The thing is, it’s not just about crying on cue or using a menthol stick. If you know your character and you know their life and how they’re feeling, then you will cry.
  2. Relax. The actor Glenn Morshower is best friends with my first acting teacher Lee Irving, and he used to tell us a trick he would do to make himself feel better during auditions: he would fill his shoes with syrup. He would be the only person in the audition room who knew about the syrup, which would make him laugh. Casting directors will feel more at ease if you’re at ease as well.
  3. I definitely wish I knew sooner about the importance of self-taping. In the beginning, I would try to make audition tapes with poor lighting, bad sound, no reader, other objects in the background. I have figured it out by now, but it definitely took some time.
  4. I think in general a lot of people don’t think they need acting training which is one of the biggest mistakes an actor can make. There are a lot of little tips and tricks to learn that can help you improve regardless if you think you’re naturally gifted at acting. I’ve helped run auditions before where people came into the audition room and handed me giant printed out selfies for their headshot and then proceeded to make direct eye contact with me while they delivered their monologue in front of the camera. If they had been in classes, they would’ve known their sight line. They would’ve known how to slate. They would have known to bring a professional headshot. Always take time to learn. Every teacher will teach you something new and it’s all valuable.
  5. You are just as able as the next person. I think this is the biggest thing I wish I knew sooner. There is so much that I wish I had started doing years before I actually did. For some reason I felt like I couldn’t branch out to real auditions outside of the classroom and for this, it took me years just to apply to background work. Projects need all kinds of people and I have seen so many actors get booked when they’ve had little experience simply because they believed they could do it so they made other people believe it too. The way you perceive yourself is written across your face. If you think you can’t, then everyone in the audition room will feel that. Basically, if you see something, then go for it. Life is too short. What do you have to lose?

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

“Heed these words, you who wish to probe the depths of nature: if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither will you find it outside. In you is hidden the treasure of treasures. Know thyself and you will know the Universe and the Gods.” — Delphi Oracle

I find this quote to be really revealing because it is forcing us to understand more than just data. Like I mentioned before, I am fascinated by understanding the world and other people, which all ties into my passion for acting. This quote is saying that even if you know all the data in the universe, but you don’t harbor the true understanding for what the data means, then you lack a mastery of knowledge and wisdom. This can apply to all aspects of life.

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?

Lee Irving was my first ever acting teacher and if it weren’t for what I learned through him then I certainly wouldn’t have branched out into the industry as much as I did.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start 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 think it’s easy to forget how privileged we are. We live in a wealthy country with so much opportunity. This is something I would definitely have to spend a lot more time thinking on, but I would want to spend my time improving the lives of people that don’t have what I take so easily for granted. I’m talking about people with disabilities, people in third world countries, people with incurable diseases… It’s too large of a concept for me to really know how to put words to but I’d want to leave where I am and go to the people that can’t even fathom a life with the opportunity that mine has. And I’d want to change that for them in any way that I can.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. 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 see this. 🙂

In regard to people in the entertainment industry, I have always had a huge interest with Tim Burton and where he gets his ideas from. He’s so unique that I feel like every new project he creates is such a risk because it could either be tremendously successful for just flop. I like that his projects create some type of discomfort — it’s the kind of film that can’t easily be forgotten. I’ve always been fascinated by Johnny Depp and the “Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Burton” trio. I’d love to sit down with Johnny Depp and understand how he can transform himself is such drastic ways.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can follow my Instagram @ diehlwith_it or find me on Facebook or IMDb at Jackie Diehl!

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

Thank you!

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