How Jenna Whitecar Found Success on an Unconventional Career Path

Not only has Jenna Whitecar been known as an actress, singer, performer, journalist, blogger, marketer, and writer (as if that’s not enough), there’s one title that describes her better than any other: role model. Jenna has thrived in all her positions, displaying how to juggle many different roles and passions with grace, talent, and a genuine love for life.

Read on to see how Jenna handled the struggles of life as an actress in LA, how she finds freelance writing jobs, and how to see your own life through Jenna’s signature rose-colored glasses. Believe us — she’s about to be your new role model too.

 

Name: Jenna Whitecar, Copywriter at The Bay Club Company, Freelance Writing/Digital Marketing at Petals Collective, and Lifestyle Blogger at Jenna Rose Colored Glasses.
Age: 29
Location: San Francisco, CA
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Related field in Theater Arts.

 

What was your first job and how did you land it?

 

The first jobs I have ever had were babysitting, and then after college, while I was auditioning in Los Angeles, I worked at a dance studio. I taught voice and dance, did admin work, and learned a lot about customer service, running a small business, and networking. Surprisingly, there is a lot that I took from that job that still translates to my career today, even though it was just a means to an end at the time.

 

You majored in broadcast journalism. What led you to choose that, and how did your education shape your career goals?

 

Writing and performing are my two loves, so when it came time to pick a major, I felt like broadcasting combined both. I always had the intention of pursuing the arts after college but wanted to study something that could also lead to another career path. I went to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and I cannot sing its praises enough. My education there was above par. The whole experience made my transfer one of my best decisions to date. It was a wonderful community with dedicated professors, state-of-the-art equipment, and first-hand experience on camera and in the field. I wasn’t only in a classroom studying theories and writing papers, I was out there interviewing, filming, and spending hours editing. I was constantly learning.

Though I didn’t go down the direct path of reporting, I have been able to integrate all that I learned into every endeavor since as most all my jobs in my career have been based around the media and writing.

 

What did you learn while working in broadcast journalism? What skills are transferrable to other industries and fields?

 

We covered it all — print, online, broadcasting, public relations and the laws, ethics, and theories that surround journalism. I also learned how we need to prepare for its evolution. Twitter just came out around the time I graduated (that makes me feel old!), and I remember all of our professors made sure to integrate it into lectures as a reminder that to keep our jobs relevant and protect truth in the media, we need to be a step ahead and embrace technology while finding ways to work alongside it rather than against it.

I also learned that “hard news” wasn’t for me. I am too much of a feeler and people-person to swipe out that unemotional side that is necessary when reporting. I don’t think I could ever be on the scene of something tragic or interviewing someone going through a difficult time without becoming attached to the human element of it. I’m too sensitive for that. I applaud people who can.

After graduating, I took an internship at Extra, which was great because it allowed me to gain a background in lighter news, as well as some really fun experiences in front of the camera. Los Angeles is a beast though, and the entertainment industry is ruthless, so as everything, it just continued the self-discovery to figure out where my niche may be. By the time that internship was over, my gut was telling me this may not be it.

 

There is a lot that I took from my first job that still translates to my career today, even though it was just a means to an end at the time.

 

 

After broadcast, you went back to your roots: the performing arts. Tell us about that experience.

 

It was a unique experience, and I think I did it at the perfect time in my life. A lot of great opportunities came from it — I sang demo songs for record companies, auditioned on the Fox and Warner Bros. lots, did extra work, was a part of independent films, and really had a chance to discover the sacrifice that it takes to make a dream come true. That industry also takes a little luck, and there is no definitive ladder to success like some other career choices. There is a lot of talent out there that we will never know about. This endeavor and choice helped shape a lot of who I am today because it made me really appreciate long careers, hard work, and taking risks.

 

Would you ever go back to performing arts? And how did that translate into a career in marketing? Walk us through the trajectory.

 

YES! Absolutely! I still have an agent but work and life just don’t make going to auditions conducive. From pursuing the performing arts, you definitely learn how to be comfortable and confident in your own skin. You sort of don’t have a choice but to put yourself out there. Auditions are literally a place to feel judged so you become immune to feedback — negative or positive — and learn to take things with a grain of salt. You have a choice to let your head either inflate or feel belittled, and it’s up to you to take control of what to believe. The arts are subjective too, so what is gold to some could be dirt to others. That line of knowing what to absorb and let slide was very difficult to navigate at times, but it taught me to follow my gut. I think these skills are so relevant to have not only in a career but in life, so this gave me a good start on developing them.

Auditioning and performing exercises a muscle of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations, so I felt calm in most all interviews I’ve had. This was a huge advantage when transitioning into a marketing career because, to be honest, interviewing is simply not fun, so I was happy to at least have this factor keep me at ease while adjusting to a new path.

Additionally, the performing arts teaches you to connect with people, get in someone else’s shoes, and understand another person’s motives. When it comes to marketing, connecting to and understanding customers is key, so the transition to the industry felt natural, especially from a content perspective.

 

Why did you decide to start a blog? What do you enjoy about it?

 

While working in marketing for a corporate company, I was learning a lot but not able to be as creative as I would have liked. I needed an outlet, and another goal of mine was to write a book and freelance for large publications. There are so many blogs out there that are little, amazing resumes for freelancers. I knew I needed one in order to be competitive.

So, I started Jenna Rose Colored Glasses. I wanted to have a place to journal my adventures, advice, recipes, and travels to get that creativity out but also, to hopefully build something that I could turn into a business and reference for freelancing opportunities. I love that I have something that is all mine. It is liberating to be your own boss in any sense and I really appreciate having this creative freedom and a place to connect with others and document my thoughts and adventures.

I never thought that starting a blog secretly after work and during lunch hours as a creative side project would turn into something that has enriched my life both personally and professionally.

 

Auditions are literally a place to feel judged so you become immune to feedback — negative or positive — and learn to take things with a grain of salt. You have a choice to let your head either inflate or feel belittled, and it’s up to you to take control of what to believe.

 

 

Your job as a Copywriter at The Bay Club Company is one that you called a dream come true. How did this job come about? Why are you so excited about it?

 

The Bay Club is a hospitality company based in California, and I was hired after working with them as an influencer. Their branding is really concentrated on living a balanced, happy life. So when I came on the team as a Copywriter, I knew I found a good fit for me. Not only could I concentrate on content and writing, which is my favorite part of marketing, but the hospitality industry has really resonated with me.

I’ve worked at other cool places in the past, like Minted, but after jumping around a bit, I’m happy to have found a role and company that is fitting for my long-term goals. Being a writer won’t save lives, but I am thrilled to be a part of a company that makes an effort to bring happiness, in some form, to people.

 

How do you manage the balancing act between your full-time job, managing your blog, and your freelance writing?

 

Preparation is key. A lot of scheduling, planning, writing dates/timelines/to-dos down, knowing when to say no and when to say yes, and a genuine love for what I do — it all definitely keeps me organized.

 

Speaking of freelance writing, how do you find jobs? What’s your advice for writers who want to write for publications they admire?

 

First, build a portfolio, blog, or website that showcases the kind of pieces you would like to get paid for. Afterwards… network! Utilize friends, LinkedIn, alumni programs, and social media and just reach out!  The worst you can hear is “no,” and it definitely won’t kill you — so don’t be afraid of it. Practically every publication I have written for came from me shooting someone an email, including PopSugar and Belong Magazine! (PopSugar came from me reaching out to a fellow ASU alumnus that I found on Linkedin who worked there!) Eventually, things start to come more organically, but it’s the best way to start. Just ask graciously, be genuine, work hard, and say thank you!

Another bit of advice is to just go for it! Don’t say “I wish I could” all the time, just start. Don’t wait for things to be perfect or all your ducks to be in a row because perfection doesn’t exist. There’s no time like the present, so give it shot. This applies to blogging, freelancing, or any side project you may have been aching to do.

 

Just go for it! Don’t say ‘I wish I could’ all the time, just start. Don’t wait for things to be perfect or all your ducks to be in a row because perfection doesn’t exist.

 

 

What was the biggest disappointment of your career, and what did you learn from it?

 

There have been peaks and valleys while I have navigated my unconventional career path, but I think the very adult, real-world acknowledgment that sometimes dreams change and don’t come true was the biggest disappointment. This is always something I, of course, knew deep down, but to make the choice to accept it is a whole other thing to tackle.

As you can tell, I have always been a huge advocate for just going for it and giving everything a shot — regardless of how lofty is seems — but there is a level of maturity in knowing when to accept that your path may need to change. That was hard for me, and when I decided to let go, there was definitely a grieving process. But it is true what they say, when one door closes, another one opens. And at the end of the day though, I am still an optimist about dreams. Faith is always good to keep in your pocket and life loves curve balls.

 

What achievement are you most proud of?

 

I’ve done a lot of really fun things and have had some great, unique opportunities in every phase of my professional life — and there have been many! However, I am most proud of not one particular thing, but just that I try. When I transferred schools, moved to LA and auditioned, started my blog, went after a marketing career, I didn’t let fear of what people thought, of failure, or anything else get in my way. I just made the effort and put my dreams in motion. It has sometimes felt like a blessing and a curse, but I know I will never look back and say “what if,” and that in itself is an achievement that I am proud of.

 

What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self?

 

Don’t plan out your life so much. Sometimes the best things come in the most unlikely ways or unlikely packages, and you can end up getting everything you’ve ever wanted — just not down the path you expected to get there from. Be open-minded, loving, accept others and yourself, and try to be patient.

Always show gratitude and wear your sunscreen! Exercise and real food really are as good for you as they say. Treat your body well and be nice to others and to yourself.

Never be scared to stand up for what’s right, for yourself, and for others. Don’t be anyone but you, and don’t apologize for whatever truth you believe in. Smile as much as possible. It’s okay to not like things or some people, but it’s how you act about it that is defining. You have to show people how to treat you.

Go for your dreams and ignore the noise and doubts that can surround them. Work hard. Travel, see the world, continue to expand that bubble. Remember the world is bigger than you. Read! And if you can help someone, you should. Also, always forgive… yourself and others.

And to that point — I’ll be 30 at the end of this year, and I’m still working on some of these things.

 

Jenna Whitecar is The Everygirl…

Favorite brunch spot in SF?
The Vestry and Barzotto in the Mission are hard to beat as far as brunch goes. No one can beat B. Patisserie in Lower Pac Heights for pastries though! If you are ever visiting, they are a must-try!

Last item you purchased online?
Bathing suits from Target for a family trip to Kauai!

Starbucks order?
Iced green tea – no sweetener.

Favorite movie and why?
I love Nancy Meyers’ movies! The Parent Trap, It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday, Father of the Bride, etc. The lifestyles and characters she creates just make you want to jump through the screen! Everything is relatable, funny, and beautiful. If she were a lifestyle blogger, she’d be the Queen in my book!

If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
I would love to have high tea with J.K. Rowling and Kate Middleton – Earl Grey with milk and sugar and of course it wouldn’t be complete without clotted cream and jam on scones! The Harry Potter lover and Anglophile that I am would be in absolute heaven!

On a more personal note, I would more so love to sit down with my main women: my mom, sister, niece, and late Nana. My Nana passed before my niece was born but to have us five Italian girls at one table eating a big bowl of our family’s homemade pasta and sauce (wine and garlic bread included) — THAT would be a dream!

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