Inspirational Women In Hollywood: How Twilight Star Jodelle Ferland Is Helping To Shake Up The Entertainment Industry
…I wish someone had told me it’s okay to not have everything figured out. No one really knows what they’re doing, we’re all just sort of pretending to. I think that’s true for most people, regardless of their career path. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way. It’s okay to change your mind about what you want to do at any point in your life. As a kid you sort of expect some kind of magical transformation when you reach adulthood, like you’ll become a different person or something. But you don’t, you’re still you.
As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jodelle Ferland.
Jodelle Ferland’s blossoming career spans over two decades with a résumé that includes over 75 film and television credits.
In 1999, at the age of four, Jodelle’s first leading role in MERMAID earned her a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Special and won her a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Television Movie.
Jodelle’s 2004 starring role in the ABC TV series Kingdom Hospital got the notice of director Christophe Gans, who then cast her to play the triple roles in Sony Pictures’ psychological horror SILENT HILL (2006). Jodelle earned Genie and Saturn Award nominations in 2007 for her starring role alongside Jeff Bridges in TIDELAND, directed by Terry Gilliam. Shortly thereafter, she landed a starring role in CASE 39 opposite Renée Zellweger and Bradley Cooper. In 2007, her leading role opposite Sissy Spacek in the Hallmark feature PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS earned her a Camie Award.
In 2010, Jodelle joined the TWILIGHT cast and was seen in ECLIPSE playing BREE, who was the subject of Stephenie Meyer’s most recent book, THE SHORT SECOND LIFE OF BREE TANNER. Some of Jodelle’s other titles include GIRL FIGHT directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s CABIN IN THE WOODS, MIGHTY FINE in which she shared the screen with Chazz Palminteri and Andie MacDowell, and the thriller, THE TALL MAN alongside Jessica Biel. Jodelle was also featured as a lead voice in the animated feature film, PARANORMAN. In 2015 she appeared as the star of the independent film THE UNSPOKEN and starred in SyFy’s space epic, DARK MATTER, as the mysterious FIVE. In 2017 she starred in the SyFy Halloween horror NEVERKNOCK. Jodelle also had the privilege of guest starring in the first and last seasons of the dark fantasy series Supernatural. In 2020 she lent her talent as a guest star on two episodes of THE ORDER where she portrayed Zecchia, a thieving cynical demon. Most recently Jodelle can be seen in AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES: HAUNTED BY MURDER as Tamara Dilger.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Jodelle! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. I started acting very young, so I’ve been doing it as far back as I can remember. I grew up on movie sets. I was homeschooled because of how much time I spent on set, travelling and auditioning. After the first few years of frequent ferry rides to get me to auditions, my family moved from the island to the Vancouver area, which is where I currently live.
I’ve taken a couple breaks from acting over the years, but I’ve mostly been doing it my whole life. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue education after high school or not, so when I was about 19, I stopped acting for a while and enrolled in some art classes. I really enjoyed the experience and much needed break from my career, but ultimately decided that wasn’t the path for me and returned to acting.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was too young when I started to really remember how it began, but according to my family I showed an interest in acting even as a toddler. My older brother and sister were both acting at the time, and apparently I started repeating their lines when I didn’t know anyone was listening. That’s what made my mom bring me in to the agency.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I’ve had quite a lot of interesting experiences, it’s difficult to choose one! Sometimes a memory will pop into my head and I think “Wait, that actually happened? That was real?”, because it just seems so unbelievable. My most memorable moment is probably not what you’d expect, unless you know me. I was at San Diego Comic Con promoting Dark Matter, doing interviews in a press room, when David Tennant walked in. He is one of my favourite actors and I was just utterly unprepared to see him in front of me. I even have a tattoo of his Doctor Who catchphrase, “Allons-y!”. I was still mid-interview so I tried to keep it together, probably unsuccessfully. I did manage to say hello to him after the interview, and he was absolutely lovely. It’s just wild to me that I have a job that can make things like that happen. It never stops surprising me.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’m sure I made mistakes as a child that I don’t even remember, and definitely many since then. I was always really good with my lines when I was little, but I made mistakes in other ways that kids do. I remember meeting famous people and having no idea who they were. When I was 13 I worked with Matthew Broderick and told him I liked him in Inspector Gadget. I’d never heard of Ferris Bueller. Now that’s one of my favourite movies and I feel so silly looking back!
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 definitely wouldn’t have this much career success if my mom hadn’t put me into acting at an early age. I could have started acting later in life, but it’s a difficult industry to break into so who knows how that would’ve gone. As a child I needed someone to drive me to every audition, to set every day, and travel with me, so it would’ve been literally impossible for me to do on my own.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
I always struggle when someone asks for advice on getting into this career, because I feel like I’m supposed to just say something positive and encouraging, but the truth is that failure kind of comes with the job. It’s a very unpredictable business, and there’s no way to guarantee success. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try, just that it’s important to know what you’re getting into. You can’t control what happens, but you can control your attitude about it. You have to embrace the fact that you will face a lot of rejection, and the only way to get through it is to focus on your achievements instead. For every role I book there’s probably a hundred others I didn’t. It can be very discouraging at times, but when I do finally book something and I’m back on set filming, it feels totally worth the effort. So yes, it will be difficult, but as long as you really love it and feel passionate about it, it will be worth it.
What drives you to get up every day and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?
I don’t know if I can pinpoint exactly what it is that I love about my job. It’s partly that I’ve done it my whole life and at this point it’s just what I know. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Getting together with a whole crew of people who love it just as much as I do is a very special thing. It’s amazing to see everyone work so hard to create something entertaining. Being on set just feels comfortable to me, like a second home.
Of course, the industry has its flaws and there are things I don’t love about it. It can be very superficial and harmful to self-esteem at times, both for the actors and the audience. It would be great to see more changes there, but I think it’s unlikely those issues will disappear completely. However, I have noticed more of an effort recently to include more diverse cast and better LGBTQIA+ representation, which I really appreciate seeing. There’s still a lot more to be done, but I would love to see that continue to progress going forward!
You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?
I wish I had more to talk about, but I’m not filming anything currently! In this industry it really is hard to predict when you’ll work next. Sometimes I’m filming multiple projects back to back, and sometimes I don’t book anything for months at a time. I usually try to just enjoy time off while I have it. I’m still keeping busy with auditions though, so we’ll see what comes next! My last project was a role in the latest AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES.
Many of our readers will know you from the Twilight series. The Twilight series has such a strong following and has become a cultural phenomenon. What do you think it is about the Twilight series that has made it so enduringly popular?
I honestly don’t know exactly what the secret to Twilight’s success was. I don’t think anyone could have predicted how incredibly popular it would become. I will say I’ve been a guest at quite a few Twilight conventions, and it’s clear how dedicated the fanbase is. I remember attending the premiere of Eclipse and just being blown away at the number of fans who showed up. Twilight gave people of all ages a chance to bond over something they all love, and I think that’s part of what made it so popular.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
I don’t know if any of these will really apply to when I actually first started since I was so young, but these are the things I wish I knew earlier on in my career.
- First, don’t compare yourself to others. I’ve spent my whole life comparing myself and my career to other actors my age, thinking I needed to match their success, but it just doesn’t accomplish anything. I still do it sometimes, it’s hard not to, but now it’s a bit easier for me to catch myself and try to stop that thought process.
- This sounds cliché, but I would’ve liked for someone to just tell me that things would turn out alright. I’ve always enjoyed acting, but as a very introverted and generally anxious person, I don’t think I would have ever gotten into such a tough and social industry if I didn’t start so early. There have been times where everything just felt like too much and I didn’t think there was any way I could get through it. Too many auditions at once, too much to memorize, too much expected of me. It gave me horrible anxiety. But there’s never been anything I couldn’t get through somehow. I’ve always managed even when it felt impossible. So basically, I wish someone told me to have a little more faith in myself and my abilities.
- As a child actor and through my teen years, I struggled a lot with figuring out if I wanted to stick with acting forever. I grew up very religious and felt like I couldn’t be faithful to my religion while being an actor, due to the content of the projects I was auditioning for. I felt so much unnecessary guilt over it, and I didn’t know which path to take. I turned down a few roles that I wish I hadn’t. At the time I felt there was no solution. I couldn’t picture myself being happy as an actor in the future. I felt like I had to choose. I really, really wish someone had told me I didn’t need to feel like that, and that eventually I wouldn’t anymore. It would have made the decision to choose acting so much easier for me.
- I guess this is turning into more of a “Things I wish I could tell my past self about the future” which wasn’t exactly the question. But to be fair, if someone else had tried to tell me any of these things, I probably wouldn’t have listened or believed them. It’s easy to look back and think you would have done things differently if you’d known what you know now, but that’s not always the case. I remember as a kid I felt like I was missing out on so much by not going to a real school. People tried to tell me it wasn’t as great as it seemed, but I didn’t believe them. Now I’m kind of glad I was homeschooled, because I don’t think school would have been as fun for me as I imagined back then. So even though that’s something people did technically tell me, I wish I had actually listened.
- And fifth…I wish someone had told me it’s okay to not have everything figured out. No one really knows what they’re doing, we’re all just sort of pretending to. I think that’s true for most people, regardless of their career path. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way. It’s okay to change your mind about what you want to do at any point in your life. As a kid you sort of expect some kind of magical transformation when you reach adulthood, like you’ll become a different person or something. But you don’t, you’re still you.
Can you share with our readers any selfcare routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.
I have to admit I’m not always the best at remembering to prioritize selfcare, but I try. My idea of self-care also might not be the same as someone else’s. I love arts & crafts, so I use that as a way to relax. I especially love making miniatures. A couple years ago I bought a secondhand dollhouse and I’ve been gradually making tiny things to add to it. I sell a lot of my work on Etsy, so I try to make sure to set aside time for personal projects too. I think it’s important to do things just for yourself, and not let a hobby turn into something that feels like a chore.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Most of my favourite quotes are from Shane Koyczan’s poetry. I have his quote postcards up on my wall. “If today is as bad as it gets, understand that by tomorrow, today will have ended” is one I think of often. I’ve had a lot of really bad days where I felt overwhelmed and inadequate, but that quote always comforts me somehow. I also like “The tiniest dream that you try to make happen is worth more than the biggest dream you never attempt.” Any accomplishment should be celebrated, no matter how small.
You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I’d love to see people make more of an effort to understand and empathize with the struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community. So many people hate what they don’t understand. It breaks my heart to see. I wish I could do something to change that. I wish more people would educate themselves on things like pronouns and gender identity. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know everything, as long as you’re willing to learn. Most of the people spreading unnecessary hate have never even attempted to see things from a different perspective. I hope to one day live in a world with less bullying and queer erasure, and more love and acceptance.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Truthfully, I find the thought of having lunch with someone I really admire to be somewhat intimidating. I’ve managed to meet quite a few people I’m a huge fan of and keeping it together for a minute or two is hard enough!
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
I am on social media, I’m @jodellemicah on most platforms. If anyone is interested in what I’m doing when I’m not acting, I also have an art page (@micahmakesstuff) and a cosplay page (@jodellecosplays) on Instagram.
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Inspirational Women In Hollywood: How Twilight Star Jodelle Ferland Is Helping To Shake Up The… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.