Hallie Jordan is an actress and writer who is starting an online magazine called Womentertain.com. Here is a link to her website:
Q: What inspired you to start Womentertain.com?
A: There are a couple of reasons for starting Womentertain. First and foremost, I’m a woman and I work as an actress in Hollywood. While I love everything about the industry I’ve come to realize – through different projects and experiences- that many women just aren’t taken seriously. I find this extremely upsetting because a high percentage of people who work in the industry are in fact, women.
After completing my senior project at my University- interviewing any entertainment professional that would speak to me and then moving to LA to start my career- I realized that I had learned much more from the people I interviewed than I did in many of my college courses. These interviews, mixed with my crazy Hollywood experiences and my eagerness to help other performers, have all fallen into place as “womentertain” – A safe place for female performers and entrepreneurs to get advice and news from the people they admire.
Q: You are in an improvisational group called Ladies Like Tea. What was the most challenging improv scene you were ever in?
A: My team and I have become very close and we all know that we have each other’s backs no matter what happens on stage. This takes a lot of the fear and challenges away. That said, there are always challenges of different contexts and the most challenging scene I did was during a practice, not a show.
After a night of goofing off, one of our coaches called for a serious exercise. We were to react realistically to a dramatic situation- like one would do on a daytime drama only using improv. My scenario was “my sister confessing that she had just been diagnosed with cancer”. At first, I was terrified “go there” and it took some time to get it out of me. After biting the bullet and finally trusting my coach, I did. When the scene ended we were told to go again- reenacting the scene using the same reactions- only this time my sister was to confess that she would need glasses instead of cancer. We found the the comedy in our reactions and continue to use the exercise to this day.
Q: What do you think the biggest challenge women in the entertainment industry face?
A: Like I stated in my inspiration for Womentertain, I firmly believe that women are not taken seriously. We are harmfully judged for everything we do and in most cases have to work twice as hard as our male counterparts to be considered at the same level. I work a lot with comedy and I see it every day with the stigma that “Women aren’t funny”. There are casting couches that still “take new clients”, and I can’t count the number of times men have promised me the world at parties in order to get me to sleep with them. I think that if women stopped putting up with it, it would end.
Q: What changes would you like to see in the industry?
A: I would like to see a more equal balance of power. I would like everyone who works hard in the industry to make it because they work hard, not because of their age, sex, marital status, sexual preference, weight, etc. It’s a hard industry to work in, but I do believe that with the correct mind frame, the cream will rise to the top.
Q: How did you become a member of the Open Fist Theater Company?
A: I was in an acting class last summer and my voice and movement teacher was a board member in the company. I bugged her all summer about becoming a member of any of the theaters on theater row on Santa Monica Blvd, and she invited me to come and help out on one of the shows at Open Fist. I had a great time getting to know the ensemble and a couple of months later was invited to audition.
Q: What are the advantages of being in a theater company?
A: My first love is and always will be theater. It seems that even when I’m out pushing for film or working on my magazine, I can always return to the Fist, even if it’s just to help out in the box office. There are always shows going on, so I feel like I always have something to do or work on, and conniptions to build.
Q: What are some of the disadvantages of it?
A: It is a dues paying company. I don’t mind this because everything goes into the theater, but it can be hard to keep track if working on other projects. I also feel a sense of guilt if I have to turn down a show for another project or can’t cover a shift at the box office.
Q: What has been your greatest professional triumph thus far?
A: I got a callback for the first pilot I ever auditioned for – and am still waiting for the results.
Q: What is your strangest LA story?
A: In my final semester of school, I interned for a production company that I – and everyone else who was working with me- thought was 100% sure was legitimate. The head of the company claimed to have been a photographer for Guess and Vogue and giving Megan Fox her start, etc, so naturally, as green as I was, ate it all up. As a couple of months in I started to notice that something was off about the studio in it’s entirety and weird things were happening (people breaking into the studio, people living at the studio, not being able to find contracts, computers not working) When I confronted the head about it, I was yelled at about my career as an actor and how I wouldn’t make it, so I left. I kept in touch with the other employees that had also worked there and three months after the ordeal found out that everything in the studio was fake. The equipment was all stolen material, none of the vogue or guess ads were actually photographed by this person, the studio was under investigation, and the head of it was in hiding. Needless to say, I never ignore the signs anymore, but the whole thing was just so strange.
Q: Lena Durham: Fad or game changer?
A: I am a huge fan of Judd Apatow and would almost kill to be in one of his movies or television shows! I commend Lena Durham for getting the green light for Girls and making it happen. It’s women like her who change the game for other women trying to make it.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)