Neela is working hard to make her dreams come true. Recently, Neela took time out of her busy career to answer some questions about how she got started and her plans for the new year.
- Tell us how you got started in acting.
Since I can remember, I’ve always had a huge passion for acting and performing. I did tons of musical theater shows, dance competitions, and show choir performances throughout elementary and middle school. When the pandemic hit and everything shut down, I was just starting high school and I was not able to perform on stage anymore which was very hard on me. I had been wanted to start a professional acting career, and so I used the down time due to the pandemic to change my focus to purely acting. I started at the very bottom, not knowing anyone in the industry. Since then, I’ve been blessed with lots of opportunities, and I’m working hard every day on my career doing what I love. So, I’ve always been drawn to acting, but I have the pandemic to thank for motivating me to take big steps into my dream career.
- You have won several pageants. What did you love about being in pageants?
Pageants are a lot like acting in that the competition is fierce, and so many people are judging you. I am a competitive person, so I love the challenge. Not that it is easy. Just like acting, it is very painful when you inevitably lose out to others, whether it be the character in a show or the crown. But it is all the losses that make winning such a high. The harder you work for something, the greater the reward once you achieve the goal. So, I will always cherish those wins forever.
- Tell us about your experience with the DharMann series.
I am so happy to be in the DharMann family of actors. I love being a part of such inspirational videos. If you are not familiar with the Dhar Mann series, each episode has a unique message whose goal is to inspire people to see the difference between good and bad choices. Filming DharMann is always fun, and I jump for joy every time they call me back to do another video. DharMann will always be one of my proudest accomplishments.
- Tell us about your role on BratTV’s “Junior’s” Show.
My character’s name is Grace. Grace hangs out at “Junior’s” coffee shop with many of her teenaged friends. The show is soap opera style with lots of teen drama and intertwining storylines among the characters. Life is not easy for Grace. Her parents died, she doesn’t have siblings, and she has been forced to take on the world without much support and security.
5. How is your character like you? How is she different?
Grace has to live with traumatic experiences which fortunately I do not. I feel sad for her, but I love creating her ups and downs as she deals with crazy and tough circumstances. On the other hand, I do feel I can relate to all the emotional intensity Grace faces from high school drama. I think every high schooler can relate to Grace’s friend and boyfriend relationship challenges.
6. What is your process for preparing for a role?
I first prepare for a role by analyzing my character’s traits. Then I try reading my lines in different ways to see which way feels best. There is not always a lot of time to prepare so sometimes I just trust in myself and wing it. But obviously the more practice, the better.
7. What is your favorite thing about living in California?
I grew up in San Diego and I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles. I never lived anywhere else but California, so it is hard for me to compare places. I’d say my least favorite thing is the cold ocean water. I am a surfer and I love places with warm ocean waves. My favorite thing about California would have to be the seemingly endless sunshine and comfortable weather. It’s almost always a good day to spend outside which I love.
8. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
It may be a surprise for you to know I graduated from high school and started college shortly after I turned 16. It really wasn’t a planned-out decision. What happened was I tried to test out of high school in order to be eligible for more acting auditions. Since I passed the test, I figured I’d start online college. So now I am a young college student which is keeping me extremely busy between all my jobs and auditions.
9. Do you have any upcoming projects?
“The Goldbergs” season 10 episode 11 was just released and I have a co-starring role in it. Also, I recently landed the lead role in an independent feature film. It is called “House of Karma” and it will be releasing soon. It is a comedy horror film so be prepared for that unique genre. I had a blast filming it and I’m so excited to see the end product.
10. Where can your fans follow you on social media?
Please follow me at @neelajolene on Instagram and YouTube, @theneelajolenee on TikTok, and @neelajolenefans on Facebook. All my links can be found at https://www.beacons.ai/NeelaJolene