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Jamie Bernadette: “Never listen when told, there is no work for adult women right now”

Don’t act. Just be. Be that person in the moment. Be that character. Live moment to moment in the scene. Listen to the other person as if you don’t know what they are going to say. It really isn’t much more complicated than that. Some acting schools will try to make it more complicated than […]


Don’t act. Just be. Be that person in the moment. Be that character. Live moment to moment in the scene. Listen to the other person as if you don’t know what they are going to say. It really isn’t much more complicated than that. Some acting schools will try to make it more complicated than it is. If it’s complicated, then you have to keep going and keep learning and keep paying them money right? There is nothing wrong with practicing to keep your wheels oiled, but some schools I’ve seen them tell actors they need to be in school for 10 years. Oh my. Some schools will teach you some useful things — there is no denying that. But once you stop learning, stop going. You don’t need to stay there for years and years in order to be successful like they might tell you.


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

Jamie Bernadette has become an icon in the horror genre after leading numerous horror films that garnered her much recognition and a large fan base. Among them is “I Spit on Your Grave: Déjà Vu”, the fifth film in the popular franchise. Film critics praised Jamie for her heart-wrenching, brave leading performance in this much-anticipated sequel to the 1978 original film with Meir Zarchi returning to direct. “4/20 Massacre”, another film with Jamie as the leading final girl, has been playing on Showtime Channel and TMC (The Movie Channel) for over a year. “The 6th Friend” released worldwide in 2019, with Jamie again in the leading role. Jamie received two Best Actress awards for her performance from the Freakshow Horror Film Festival and RIP Film Festival. Jamie has been in 20 other horror films and has 47 credits in other genres in addition. Some of her most recent credits include a Guest Star on the hit CBS TV show “NCIS: New Orleans”, another Guest Star on NBC’S “Midnight Texas”, and a series regular role in the TV Pilot “Ember”, starring Lindsley Register (Walking Dead Seasons 7–10) and John Savage (The Last Full Measure, The Deer Hunter). She worked alongside such greats as Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) and John Bradley (Game of Thrones) in the recently released drama by Miramax “American Satan”. Jamie leads the cast of “The Furnace” by Oscar-Nominated Director Darrell Roodt. The film is confirmed to release in 90 countries and Jamie has received 2 Best Lead Actress Nominations so far from the Nice International Film Festival and the Madrid International Film Festival. In addition, the film has received 11 other nominations and won Best Feature Film at the Milan International Film Festival.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I am the youngest child in a family of nine. My father passed away four months after I was born, leaving my mother to raise us on her own. The times were challenging. My childhood was anything but easy, but I am grateful for what I had, which was a lot in comparison to some others in this world. Having traveled to a lot of third world countries, which widened my perspective, I am very grateful for what I did have and try to focus on that instead of what I didn’t have. My hardships brought me to where I am today and the pain I endured has led me to create art that will hopefully help others, which is the intention of my first two book releases.

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

I was thinking about acting from perhaps the age of five. I felt like I was missing out when I would see kids in movies and on tv shows. I wondered why I couldn’t audition. So acting was in me. There was no escaping it and I still can’t escape it to this day. It chose me. I did not choose it.

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

I was cast to do a very featured bit in “Vice” and ended up doing a scene with Sam Rockwell without any scripted lines and we did improv together for over 2 hours. Hardly any of it made the movie, but it was incredible to work with an Oscar winner of this caliber.

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 into an audition and they made three of us actors act like monkeys. They were obviously amateurs or doing it to have a good laugh, which wasn’t nice. Now I would leave the room.

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

I am in the middle of a film called “Homestead”, which was shut down because of the Corona Virus. I can’t wait to go back to set and finish the film. It is a horror/western/thriller that takes place in Oklahoma in the 1800s. I play the mother of two kids who has run from an abusive marriage and is now married to a new man. Strange men show up at our little homestead in the woods with intentions to harm us.

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?

It is absolutely vital to have diversity in the entertainment industry. People look up to celebrities and copy what they see on television. Movie stars become examples for the world. It is important to include people from all ethnicities so as to cultivate a sense of inclusion of all races within the culture. This will permeate throughout society and have quite a profound effect on discrimination, hopefully eliminating it.

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

Don’t go cheap on headshots. A bad picture won’t jump off the page amidst the hundreds submitted for a role.

Look don’t listen. So many people I have discovered talk a big talk but upon further investigation, haven’t done much at all. There are a lot of people like that in Hollywood.

Choose your acting name carefully. Don’t pick anything that is even close to your real name. You will have stalkers. My first name probably would have been Julianna. I can’t change it now. I have too many credits now. Start thinking about what you want your name to be way before you book your first acting credit because you don’t want to be rushed like I was because you have to tell them what name to put on the film or tv show.

Don’t listen to everything the “experts” tell you to do. Some of it makes no sense at all and isn’t true. I was told so much nonsense. I had a manager who would send me in to meet agents and he would give me a list of things to memorize to say. That would make me so incredibly nervous. Just be yourself and don’t try to impress anyone. They will see right through that anyway.

Don’t act. Just be. Be that person in the moment. Be that character. Live moment to moment in the scene. Listen to the other person as if you don’t know what they are going to say. It really isn’t much more complicated than that. Some acting schools will try to make it more complicated than it is. If it’s complicated, then you have to keep going and keep learning and keep paying them money right? There is nothing wrong with practicing to keep your wheels oiled, but some schools I’ve seen them tell actors they need to be in school for 10 years. Oh my. Some schools will teach you some useful things — there is no denying that. But once you stop learning, stop going. You don’t need to stay there for years and years in order to be successful like they might tell you.

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

Travel! When I am feeling burnt out, I take off and go somewhere and I come back feeling totally reenergized. If you can’t afford to fly somewhere far, just jump in your car and go somewhere for the weekend if you can. I love nature so I love going to stay in a cabin in the mountains or going hiking or camping or to a tropical place.

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. 🙂

There are so many ideas that I have that would affect the world as a whole, but I am going to focus on the United States in my answer because this is an idea I’ve had for a while now. I toured the Whitney Plantation outside of New Orleans while I was working on NCIS: New Orleans. It is one of only two plantations in the United States that focuses on the plantation story from the viewpoint of the slaves. I cried throughout the entire tour. It educated me so much about what the slaves went through, which I didn’t learn much of in school. I thought, “If every child toured this, we would no longer have discrimination. We would no longer have a division between races.” We have come a long way in the obtainment of this goal since slavery was abolished, but we are nowhere near where we could be and need to be and it is so very sad. A person is a person. I don’t care if they are white, black, brown, olive, purple, or green. Come on people. I can’t believe we are still talking about this in 2020 but here we are. Educating children better — more honestly — could change the world. It’s the same with the Native Americans. Our children are taught that European settlers came over and made friends with them when we know they slaughtered millions. Let’s give children more credit and be honest with them and it’ll open up their hearts and make them aware of the dangers of discrimination from a very young age.

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?

My good friend, Gino Montesinos, is an incredible actor with over 80 acting credits. He has helped me by being a mentor to me over the years. He has been generous and open with his advice and he just recently referred me to the manager I now have. He has also cared about me as a person and has looked out for my well-being. Gino is a true friend and I am so grateful to have him in my life.

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

Don’t pay any attention to the people who say you can’t do anything. Maybe they are just afraid you might actually succeed. I have lived by this throughout my career. Sometimes this type of negativity comes across subtly through people. For example, they might say, “If you haven’t made it by age 30, you have no chance.” Or they might say, “There is no work for adult women right now.” These are all lies and meant to keep you from trying. This is a cold fact to face. It’s hard to believe some people would have those intentions for you but, sadly, they do. I keep people like this at a distance or cut them off completely.

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. 🙂

I love “The Descent” and I want to have lunch with the Director, Neil Marshall.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I am very active on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I have verified accounts on Instagram and twitter so you can find me amongst the fan pages by just typing in my name and looking for the verified account. On Facebook, it’s a bit trickier to know which pages I am running and which others are running as fan pages. I have a Facebook that is not a page, but an account I guess you would say, and all my posts are public and my follow button is turned on. I have another page on there that is a page @jamiebernadettefanpage and I run that one too.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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