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Jayne Nicoletti: “There is always hope”

My second film is about my Dad who was a Holocaust survivor. As horrific as the situation was, his story is one of hope. Growing up, he always said that to me: “there is always hope”. I think we really need to hear and feel that with all of the things that are going on […]

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My second film is about my Dad who was a Holocaust survivor. As horrific as the situation was, his story is one of hope. Growing up, he always said that to me: “there is always hope”. I think we really need to hear and feel that with all of the things that are going on in the world today. Him and many others survived horrible situations and still made it out on the other side. So will we today!


As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Jayne Nicoletti

Jayne is a model/actress from New York with Israeli and Polish roots. After not getting enough work due to reaching a “certain age” and not looking like the typical American Mom, she decided to create her own content. That spawned an interest in writing and directing short films.


Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

I started out doing makeup on photo shoots while working a fulltime job. My goal was to buy an apartment with the extra money but I loved doing it. While at a shoot, I met an “older” model and she suggested I should look into being a model myself but for commercial projects. I got started and then that transitioned into television and film. Eventually when I wasn’t getting roles due to being over 45, I decided to make my own content.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?

The funniest is when everything that can go wrong, went wrong on my second film. There happened to be construction nearby that day. Although it was early June, that particular day was over 90 which meant using a LOUD air conditioner which we had to shut off between takes. It’s funny because you have to just laugh at all the things that could of went wrong that day DID!

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

It was my Uncle. When I decided to make the film about my Dad, he told me stories about the concentration camps during the Holocaust (he was there with him). There was one story that stuck with me. It was when they were on a train from one camp to another. They had very little food and were starving. They saw a boy sitting across from them who was very sick. As hungry as they were, they decided to split their bread with him. Weeks later at a camp, that very boy became the “errand boy” (and God know what else) for the Nazi soldiers. He had access to extra food and snack some to my Uncle and Father. They saved that boys’ life and he never forgot it. It was a lesson in sharing, compassion, AND karma.

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

Right now I am concentrating on my YouTube channel of original content. It has a comedic flair with skits, snacks taste tests, and beauty reviews but during the start of COVID my husband and I started to film cooking segments and they have taken off. I also wrote another script that might possibly be co-directed and acted by some great people!

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Definitely Stevie Nicks. She made it as a woman in rock n roll at a time when it was a man’s game. She dressed herself, did her own makeup, and wrote her OWN songs (which was rare in the 1970’s). Her career is still going strong today while she is in her 70’s and I truly admire that.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

My second film is about my Dad who was a Holocaust survivor. As horrific as the situation was, his story is one of hope. Growing up, he always said that to me: “there is always hope”. I think we really need to hear and feel that with all of the things that are going on in the world today. Him and many others survived horrible situations and still made it out on the other side. So will we today!

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

I will never forget it. I was coming back from an audition. I felt defeated because the very few roles I could get at my age were going to the same usual actresses in my age group I saw at every go see. I did not look like the average American even though I was. At that time, if you did not look like the typical mid western Mom in a cardigan, you weren’t booking. I looked up and saw a billboard of Lily Singh. It was for her YouTube channel. I thought, she doesn’t fit the mold and is blowing up. That was when I decided to start my OWN YouTube channel and create content for myself. Creating these “mini videos” lead me into writing and directing my own films.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I do not think it was a particular person but a group. There are children of Holocaust survivors that suffer the atrocity of our time just as much as our parent counterparts. It is not first hand, but we have been handed down the guilt, shame, paranoia, and so many other emotions just as if it happened to us. By seeing the film about my Dad, my fellow 2gs feel someone gets them!

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Watch the film about my Dad. Know that it happened, it was real, it was HORRIFIC (more than any textbook can tell you), and can happen TODAY!

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. Anything that go wrong will. The construction and air conditioner story told above.
  2. Do not sweat the small stuff. No one notices. Trust me. I agonized over every little detail and edit. Never again lol.
  3. Wear many hats, even small ones. It wasn’t above me to get coffee while the PA was too busy setting up lights. It’s a group effort to be on set.
  4. As a director, listen to your actors or crew for suggestions. Sometimes you cannot get out of your head. There was a script change I fought at first but really changed the scene for good!
  5. You are never too old or not “pretty enough”. Read my whole story as an example.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Do it! You will only regret things you never done. Never be afraid to tell your story no matter how hard it is. You can save a life.

We are very blessed that many other Social Impact Heroes read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would like to collaborate with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Casey Neistat. Most people think of him as “just a YouTuber” but his ability to tell a story visually is amazing. I learned a lot from watching him. He always gives back to the community and seems down to earth. It also appears he is easy to work with and puts in 100%!

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

“Nothing good is easy and nothing easy is good”. You got to WERK to get what you want. It shows if you put no effort into your project!

How can our readers follow you online?

www.youtube.com/JayneNicoletti

www.instagram.com/jayniesjourneys

This was great, thank you so much for sharing your story and doing this with us. We wish you continued success!

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