Check out our interview with talented actress, dancer and singer Neela Jolene.
Starting at the age of 4 she has had over 100 performances in all aspects of the business including dance competitions, show choir, and musical theater productions. Since entering high school, Neela has taken her career to the next level with multiple roles on the hit Dhar Mann series as well as 15 print modeling jobs and 5 commercials just this last year.
She has won 4 pageants including Miss California, Miss Photogenic Teen, and Miss Cover Girl. This busy teen also finds time to be the ambassador of a charitable ministry at her church with an eco-friendly mission as well as looking for ways to tackle the growing homeless problem.
Follow Neela @neelajolene
Hi Neela, please tell us a little about you?
Hi I’m Neela Jolene and I’m 16 years old. I’ve lived in San Diego all my life, and I am in the middle of 5 kids. Since I can remember, I’ve always had a huge passion for acting and performing for an audience. I did tons of musical theater shows all throughout elementary and middle school. I also did years of dance competitions and competitive show choir. When I started high school, I started my professional acting career. When I’m not doing school work or pursuing my career, you will probably find me doing something adventurous. I love surfing, skateboarding, off road riding, wakeboarding, snow skiing, rock jumping, target shooting, and traveling. My best memories involve being either in the ocean, the wilderness, or the jungle.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
I would describe myself as determined, happy, and hardworking.
How did you get started in the business?
Toward the end of middle school, I was very focused on competitive dancing and would be at dance practice at least twenty hours a week. I loved dance and I learned so much from it, but I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever. So, when the pandemic shut down many businesses including my dance studio, I took it as a sign to switch my focus to acting and from there I started creating my acting career. I got a resume and headshots together and started applying for jobs, and I kept growing until I am where I’m at now.
How has this changed your life?
I’ve always known acting is my main passion and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I love it so much because being on set makes me happy. I not only enjoy the more glamorous parts of being an actress like getting dressed up and seeing the finished film, but I also enjoy the tougher things like auditioning, booking a job, memorizing lines, meeting everyone on set, working in tough conditions, etc. I love it all. So overall I am saying that acting has changed my life by making me happier. Just knowing that I am growing and working towards a goal every day brings me happiness.
We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?
Like I said, I always knew I wanted to be an actress, so I worked hard to get myself into the industry. I do lots of research, and put a lot of time and effort into creating my acting career. I look for opportunities every day and audition as much as I can. I train with an acting coach and practice as often as possible. I’ll never forget how excited I was when I booked my first job, and I know I will do this for the rest of my life.
Tell us about working in hit Dhar Mann series?
One of my first acting jobs was for Dhar Mann. The experience I had there on the very first video I did for them, reassured me that I want to work as an actress forever. Being at Dhar Mann Studios is so fun and I hope that I get to act in his videos for a long time. I think of Dhar Mann as family. I have become close friends with many of the actors and production crew members there, and I am beyond thankful to them all. To be part of such inspirational videos that work to make our world a better place is one of my proudest accomplishments!
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
I’d say the best part about being an actress is the adrenaline rush I get from performing. I always get so pumped up on set that my energy level is at my maximum. The challenge to perform greatly is super exciting to me. Sometimes I’m so happy on set that I it is difficult to perform roles with other emotions, but that’s all part of the fun.
I’d say the worst part of being an actress is all the let downs I have to endure from working so hard to audition for jobs that I don’t get selected for. So much time and energy get put into work that doesn’t always pay off. I know the journey is still valuable, but unfortunately the unmet goals hurt a lot.
How do you prepare 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. I have an acting coach that helps me tremendously too. There is not always a lot of time to prepare so sometimes I just trust in myself and wing it. But obviously the more I practice, the better I am.
Can you tell us about winning 4 pageants including Miss California, Miss Photogenic Teen, and Miss Cover Girl? That’s amazing! Congrats!
Thank You! Pageants are a lot like acting in that the competition is fierce, and so many people are judging you. I think because I am such a competitive person, I do love the challenge. Nevertheless, just like acting, it is very painful when you inevitably lose out to others after putting your heart and soul into it. But that is what makes winning such a high. The harder you work for something, the greater the reward once you achieve the goal. So, the good news is you never forget those winning feelings. I will cherish those wins forever.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
One great advice I’d give anyone, including myself, is to keep picking yourself up after every fall. I’ve made many mistakes both on set and off, but I never want to give up following my passion. Let’s try not to be so hard on ourselves because trying our best is good enough. In times when I feel stressed out, exhausted, discouraged, etc. I want to remember to tell myself it’s Ok, it’s temporary, it’s normal, and it will get good again. So be kind to yourself and don’t worry about the hiccups in life.
How would your best friend describe you?
I hope my best friend would say I’m a very fun person. I like to make everything fun even when I’m in a routine or tough situation.
I love meeting people, trying new adventures, and checking out everything this world has to offer. So, I think my best friend would also say I’m brave about grabbing every opportunity that comes my way.
I also hope my best friend would say I’m a great friend. Sometimes I feel I’m so busy with school and career that I don’t think I’m being a great friend. It’s so hard to juggle priorities but the people in my life are just as important as my personal priorities.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I feel a strong connection to Scarlett Johansson because I basically dream to get roles like she has gotten. I would love to do action movies where I’m a tough, super woman character going through some crazy action-packed adventure. To meet Scarlett would be like meeting my greatest idol and inspiration. I would love to hear what advice she would give me!
Do you support any charity?
Yes, I am a huge supporter of a non-profit organization called Natural High. What we do is encourage kids to find their “natural high,” so there is no desire to get high from drugs or alcohol. My natural high is acting! We really need to help kids in this way, and it’s really just a matter of awareness. Natural High has free resources that anyone can use to have a discussion about this with children. So go to NaturalHigh.org and do your part to help at least one child. It won’t even cost you any money and you’d be helping our world tremendously.
What do you think of social media?
Social media does have its problems but overall, I feel the benefits far outweigh the negative. Social media gives us easy access to other people so we can all grow together by learning from each other and supporting each other. Social media can be all consuming so as long as we don’t let it interfere with our higher priorities, it is all good.
Where we can follow you?
Follow me at:
Quote: My mom always says to “try your best and let God do the rest”
Movie: Too many favorites. I love the Indiana Jones movies if I have to pick.
TV Series: Survivor (I want to do that show)
Favorite Healthy Food: Sushi all the way (especially spicy tuna rolls)
Favorite Cheat Food: All desserts (yes all. I have a problem 😊)
Travel Destination: Anywhere and everywhere (Paris always calls my name)
Fashion Style: Sweet & sassy 😊
Photo Credit: Shandon Photography