Community//

Rising Star Jennifer Faith Ward: “All people can connect through kindness; Something as simple as letting someone in front of you in line or giving a stranger a compliment can really boost another person’s mood creating a domino effect of goodwill.”

If I could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount people, it would be to spread kindness. There is so much hurt and pain in this world and despite appearances, you never really know what another person is going through. Something as simple as letting someone in […]


If I could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount people, it would be to spread kindness. There is so much hurt and pain in this world and despite appearances, you never really know what another person is going through. Something as simple as letting someone in front of you in line or giving a stranger a compliment can really boost another person’s mood and incline them to pay it forward, creating a domino effect of goodwill. All people can connect through kindness.


As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Faith Ward. Jennifer is an award winning independent film actress known for her role as Maggie Price in The Happiest Place on Earth, a feature film currently streaming on Amazon Prime that earned her a Best Actress nomination from the Maverick Movie Awards. She was awarded the Crystal Reel Award for Leading Actress in a web series from the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association and in addition, received a Best Actress nomination from the Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival for her work in Risen, a short film that explores a date gone wrong during the zombie apocalypse. Jennifer’s love of storytelling has spread from the screen to the page, as she is presently at work on her first novel, a supernatural suspense story about the (sometimes literal) monster inside each of us.


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

As a kid I fell in love with the transportive power of stories. I would watch my favorite movies on repeat, memorizing the dialogue in the process and eventually running around the house reenacting the scenes. Acting was in my veins. I was sure of it.

When it came time to go to college, my parents had a different idea of what a life-supporting career would look like, and it wasn’t in the movie business. I eventually acquiesced and went to school for psychology as a way of helping me to explore what motivates certain human behaviors and discover how I could apply that knowledge to the characters in the stories I loved. It was fascinating work and I decided to continue my education in graduate school to become a mental health counselor.

Fate had other plans. My brother passed away and his unexpected death brought into sharp focus that I was not on my true path. I started taking acting classes within five months of his death and I haven’t looked back since.

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

I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, so I only submit and audition for roles I think I’m a good fit for. That’s why, when I saw the character descriptions for a horror film about a group of friends who take hazing too far, I knew the blonde, head cheerleader type was not for me. I auditioned for the demur, best friend role instead. A few days after my audition I received a phone call from the director. He wanted to know why I didn’t audition for the lead role and asked me if it was because the breakdown said the character was blonde. I told him that was part of it. He admitted he had envisioned a blonde for the role, but my audition had changed his mind. What I didn’t realize at the time is that the character breakdown doesn’t always tell you the whole story. The director saw in me what he needed for that role, even though I didn’t see it in myself.

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

I’m really excited about a short film I recently completed titled Dolphin Girl. The story revolves around Liam, a quiet boy from Vermont who moves to sunny Florida and feels like a fish out of water until a mysterious young girl helps him fit in. I play Liam’s mom in the film.

Dolphin Girl was written and directed by Tanya Carleton Lovrics, whose screenplay for the film won best short screenplay at the NYC Independent Film Festival and the story award from the International Screenwriters’ Association. The film became a reality thanks to Stage 32, the world’s largest social network for entertainment industry creatives, and their partnership with the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission. Dolphin Girl won a short script contest hosted by the network and, as a result, Stage 32 and the film commission helped to produce the film.

Official film festival acceptance announcements and other updates will be shared on the film’s Facebook page @TanyaLovricsMovie.

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

I had the honor and privilege of working with Joseph Gatt (Dumbo, Game of Thrones, Thor) and Tom Proctor (Guardians of the Galaxy, 12 Years a Slave, Justified) on a post-apocalyptic film titled Finding Eden. They are men of an intimidating stature, both physically and professionally, and yet I found them to be incredibly down-to-earth and relatable. They were adept at creating a team environment on set that left a lasting impression on me. I think this was another one of those moments in my life where fate intervened. The actress who was originally cast in the film had to drop out of the production due to a last minute conflict. The director then reached out to me to ask if I was available. I said yes and was on location shortly thereafter. It was a whirlwind and I feel incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to meet and work with professionals of that caliber.

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

Self-care is vital to thrive and avoid “burn out.” This industry is tough and can wear you down if you aren’t careful to protect your headspace. I find it helpful to practice yoga, meditate, and to soak in the tub with a nice glass of wine. Protect the vessel of your craft. When you take time to do the things that nurture your body and your soul, you are, in turn, nurturing your career.

You are a person of great 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. 🙂

If I could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount people, it would be to spread kindness. There is so much hurt and pain in this world and despite appearances, you never really know what another person is going through. Something as simple as letting someone in front of you in line or giving a stranger a compliment can really boost another person’s mood and incline them to pay it forward, creating a domino effect of goodwill. All people can connect through kindness.

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

The 5 things I wish someone told me when I first started acting are:

1) Not everyone is going to root for your success in the industry

There will people in your life who will tell you to “get a real job” because they care about you and don’t want to see you struggle when you’re trying to make ends meet in between acting jobs. It may not seem like it, but they mean well. Then there are the people who see you as competition and view your bookings as roles that they should have gotten. Sometimes these same people will be in your life for the sole purpose of keeping tabs on what you are up to. The good news is, the longer you keep at it, the easier it will be to know who is truly on your team.

2) You cannot change your appearance

To be clear, you CAN change your appearance, but know that you will need to get new headshots. Say goodbye to the freedom to dye or cut your hair on a whim.

3) Some success doesn’t mean continued or increased success

When I first started booking indie films, I thought I was on the fast track to Sundance. Bookings ebb and flow and there’s no guarantee that one will lead to another. Enjoy where you are while you’re there and don’t take whatever success does come for granted.

4) Comparison is the thief of joy

Gauge your success only by what you have accomplished. It’s one thing to be inspired by someone else’s achievements and quite another to beat yourself up over them. No one else can bring to a character or a story what you can. If you didn’t get the role then it was never yours to begin with; it was the other actor’s story to tell. We all play our part. You can track your booking ratio or the number of callbacks you receive to measure your progress. However you want to do it is up to you, just make sure you are only measuring yourself against yourself.

5) The business is NOT fair

You go into countless auditions prepared, you do your best, and you still haven’t booked a job. While talent and preparedness matter, the entertainment industry is still a business and it runs like one. It’s not personal. This is probably the hardest lesson to learn.

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

My favorite “Life Lesson Quote” is the Latin phrase, memento mori, which translated into English is, “Remember you must die.” I realize that can seem morbid but I think it’s a good idea to have an awareness of one’s mortality and to reflect on it. It’s easy to get swept up in the day-to-day tasks of life. I have found that keeping the end in mind helps me to prioritize the undefined time I have left. The only moment I know I have for sure is this one and I want to make the most of it.

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 wouldn’t be where I am today, pursuing my dream, if it wasn’t for my husband, Jesse. In the early years of my career, I would use up all my vacation time at work in order to do films, which meant that either I didn’t see my family for the holidays or I had to take unpaid leave. I was burning the candle at both ends in order to maintain my full-time job and my acting career. My husband and I ended up selling our house and moving into an apartment so that we could afford for me to quit my job. It means so much to me that he was willing to do that. And now he takes care of things at home when I’m working on set and is my plus-one for all of my movie premieres to help keep my nerves at bay. I am so grateful to have him in my life.

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. 🙂

I would love to have breakfast or lunch with Kevin Williamson. He’s an incredible storyteller! He developed my favorite show, The Vampire Diaries, and wrote one of my favorite horror films, Scream. I would love to pick his brain about his creative process and talk endlessly about shows and moviemaking. It would be amazing!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Your readers can follow me on Facebook @JenniferFaithWard.

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

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Purpose//

The Power of a Compliment: How Kind Words Can Change the World

by Erica Bray
Estersinhache fotografía/Getty Images
Wisdom//

Being Nice to Others Actually Boosts Your Personal Happiness

by Emma Simpson
Thoughtful gift
Community//

Easy Ways to Spread Kindness at Work

by TotalWellness

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.