Out Of My Mind—Episode 19 Show Notes
Suffering for Her Art with Jessica Cameron
When you first meet her, Jessica Cameron hardly seems like a woman with a problem. She was born in Canada where she studied fashion design. She moved to Ohio to work for a prestigious fashion company, where her combination of rapid speech and Canadian accent led some executives to question her ability to make presentations and lead discussions. Someone suggested she take acting lessons to help her lose her accent and sharpen her speech.
The rest is a Hollywood story. The acting lessons took over her life, and she began planning a move out of Ohio and into Hollywood. Today, she is a successful actress, director and producer.
Then there’s her little problem.
Jessica’s has an intense, let’s call it obsessive, fear of spiders. It was not uncommon for her to walk around with five cans of Raid so she could make it from her car to her apartment with a certain degree of confidence. If she found a spider in her bedroom she couldn’t sleep all night. She would rather wake up to face a knife-wielding intruder than an itsy-bitsy spider spinning a web in a corner of the ceiling.
But it gets worse.
Jessica’s film genre of choice is horror. You pretty much can’t do horror films these days without eventually running into a spider. Where did that leave her? With the idea of using her art to help stand up to her fears. She doesn’t consider herself cured—she still won’t go near a spider and finding one by surprise still elicits a shriek—but spiders no longer affect her social life. She was able to sit calmly at a picnic table in Griffith Park in Los Angeles without once checking the table, or the area around it, for the little crawling creatures. And, she’s been able to channel her spider fears into her on-screen performances. She imagines what she would do if she were not on a movie set and those spiders, real or animated, were coming her way. Most of the time, that’s marshaling the wherewithal to run, “…like a bat out of hell,” Jessica said. It might be a movie, but on the screen her performance comes across as frightening real…because it is.
Through her acting, though, she’s found a certain degree of relief from her phobia. Although she won’t be exchanging small talk with a spider any time soon, her fear of spiders no longer takes over her social life. It’s a process, and Jessica has a leg up on her fear. Or, in this case, a leg up, a leg up, a leg up….
You can read more about Jessica Cameron and her career, and view some of her work on her website, which you can visit by clicking here.
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Episode 19: Listen on YouTube
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