Friday, November 28, 2008

Dear Facebook Friends and Lovers,

I am launching my very own website so that I no longer have to endure the promptings of Facebook to get Botox or gorge myself with acai berries every time I write an entry. In addition to my blog, it will be a home for my resume, clips, pictures, and all that actor jazz. However, every website needs an introduction. You can't just be like Janna Ridley, Janna Ridley's face, Janna Ridley's contact information and expect to be hired without the necessary courting phase. In comes Bio. The bio eases the reader (you) into the product (me) so that you feel comfortable and relaxed with the situation. After that a stork comes, and we live happily ever after. Even Post-Its have a bio. "From your to-do lists to your next big project, Post-Its are redefining visual organization. These sturdy, sticky and repositionable notes help you get organized — and stay that way." Thanks for clearing that up, Post-Its. Some of us were confused. If all of that verbosity was necessary for a three inch square with a sticky strip on its backside, I realized I had some explaining to do.

In any case, this is what I came up with. Nothing's set in stone yet as, clearly, my website is still merely an idea in my head. Nothing has been consummated. To people who know me, I welcome your feedback. Am I missing any long stretches of life in here? Is this an accurature portrayal of your girl? What do you think?

I look forward to all glowing feedback! Negativity has no room in my life as I have adopted the mantra that ignorance is bliss. In true LA fashion, I will start a "sleeve" by tattooing this mantra on my forearm in rainbow colored Chinese characters.



Originally from Virginia, Janna caught her first "bug" while gracing the stage of a local high school as a tap dancing Dutch girl for Dance Land School of Dance's annual dance recital. Janna also realizes that she just said dance four times in one sentence. However, Dance Land was not the apex of her career. Although others discouraged her, saying she couldn't possibly get any better, she didn't listen. She went on to train at such prestigious programs as The Kirov Academy, Boston Ballet School, and the Juilliard Conservatory.

Her love for dance and training in the artform lent itself naturally to acting. Her growing interest in acting led to her enroll as a theatre major at James Madison University. She graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Theatre and Dance and a B.S. in Communication Sciences while still performing and involving herself in several works staged at both the university's experimental and main stage theatres. Degrees in hand, she decided to continue her training and performing in Chicago, where she studied on a full merit scholarship at the training home of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and also started studying improvisation at the famed Improv Olympic.

Janna currently lives in Los Angeles where she is kicking herself everyday for not taking Spanish, but making up for the self-abuse through constant exposure to beautiful, unadulterated vitamin D in the form of sunshine! She is married to a trustworthy and loyal GPS system named Tom (Tom), and they relish being able to spend hours of quality time together everyday. She is most widely known for her role as Officer Jan Fisk in the film Wages of Sin and also regularly works in independent films, industrial films, and print advertisements. She can also be found as a dancer in music videos for Chris Brown and Corbin Bleu. While keeping busy with on-camera acting opportunities, she also works as a corporate presenter and spokesmodel for several national and international companies. She keeps up with her craft by taking improv classes at iO West and also studies under John Sudol. In addition to acting, she authors a popular* blog about being a new actor on the scene in LA ( She and Tom are looking bravely towards the exciting road to come.

*For all you picky Paulas I realize that my blog may not yet be "popular" but if I ever learned anything from Kevin Costner it was that if you build it, they will come (or was it that actors should stick to acting?). The same principle will be applied to building my website, which will host my blog, and popularity will ensue.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Get a Real Job


In my stubbornness, I've decided that I never want to work a "real" job again. As a result, I've spent the last six months doing some very odd things to pay my rent. I spent my last few days in Las Vegas crowd gathering (literally, gathering a crowd) for Cisco at VM World, a computer networking convention and nerd gathering extraordinaire. Let me get this out of the way: I spent the last three nights with my feet propped up under six pillows, to alleviate the swelling from the lethal high heels/long hours/cement combination in my overpriced Hooters hotel that I stayed at by myself in a city that I despise. Complaining aside, it's really not too bad of a gig.

You see, to subsidize my auditions and low paying background jobs, I make my living as a tradeshow model. The biggest perk of the job is that the job title includes the word model in it. That alone strokes my often-bruised ego enough to put up with other inconveniences. The job is the red-headed step-sister of legitimate acting and modeling jobs. You see, you still have to be accepted by an agency and get hand-picked for every job that you work. But, unlike in acting and modeling, there is no cutting, no airbrushing, nothing separating you from the the general public at all. These factors would make you think that the models must be rewarded handsomely with airfare, hotels, and lavish gifts. While I personally get many free pens, baseball caps, and post-its with the company logo, the previous statement could not be further from the truth. It's on you, gorgeous.

I am not asking for pity here. There are definite perks to the job. You get to travel a lot and you can pick where and when you want to work. If you don't like something about your job, you won't have to do it for more than a few days. The pay is decent to good, and it can be a lot of fun. And, there's always the possibility of meeting Mr. Right in the convention world- a world very high in the man-to-square-foot ratio (!).

But really, after talking to other booth employees, come to find out that their hotels are paid for, as well as their flights, and per diem. They have "real" jobs and they're sittin' pretty. Meanwhile I'm standin' in my stilettos, trying to look pretty.

I decided that I didn't want to be bogged down by the hours and commitment of a real job to be free for the all-important Audition. Yet, when I am booked on a tradeshow, I would have to book out with my acting agent and it would take nothing less than a straight-to-producers audition to pull me away from a booking. All the same, I am sticking to my stubbornness.

Ultimately, if you choose to be an actor, you are choosing a life fraught with schedule conflicts. That's why you must choose between auditions and a "real" job. Each day is a gamble and your next audidtion could change your life. For somebody who, after six trips to Las Vegas, realizes she still dislikes gambling, and after six months in Los Angeles, has figured out she doesn't even particularly like watching television, it is dawning on me that I may have chosen an odd profession. Still, I wouldn't have it any other way.