Neela Jolene is a 17-year-old with a huge passion for performing. She worked hard to graduate high school two years early and is currently balancing college with her work as an actress and content creator. I recently interviewed Neela about social media, her work, and her plans for the future.
You are an actress and a content creator. Why do you think social media is important for young actors?
Talent, of course, matters first and foremost. But the truth of the matter is that there are a lot of talented actors auditioning today. Lack of social media will set you a few paces behind the competition. Social media has and will continue to have major benefits for your career as an actor. Before social media, you could only meet people in person. Now actors can connect, build, and grow relationships online. You can connect with other actors as well as industry professionals like casting directors, agents, and filmmakers. It not only helps with personal name and brand recognition, but it also keeps you in the loop for industry news, casting calls, and acting advice. When it comes to film projects, casting directors are definitely paying attention to actors’ social media. If they never heard of you, the first thing they will do is google you and see what they can learn from your social media. Also, if a casting director has two actors who are comparable in talent and can both fit a role, the actor who has a massive social following is more likely to book the job because he or she can help ensure a greater audience for the project by directly advertising to his or her fanbase. So, I’d say your online presence is super important today.
Do you have any advice for your followers on how to handle negative comments on their social media?
I’d recommend responding to the negative comment as soon as possible. This will help prevent it from exploding into a bigger mess. If you respond quickly, it shows you care. I’d also say it’s best to apologize right away if you offended someone in any way. Then if needed, take your communications with them to a private channel to give them personal attention. Be sure to show appreciation for their feedback because people want to know they’ve been heard. You may want to tell them you will seriously consider their suggestions for improvement. You may want to ask them how you can help make the situation better. Whatever you do, respond tactfully and not out of anger and retaliation. If the negative comment used offensive language, then I’d recommend deleting their comment. However, legitimate constructive criticism shouldn’t be deleted, or it looks like you are hiding something. And lastly, I’d say, pick your battles. Some people are just attention seekers, and they want to stir up controversy. So, for those types I’d say they are not worth responding to.
How do you come up with ideas for your social media content?
For Instagram and Facebook, I try to share things about me and my work, but I also try to share others’ work and do things that will engage with others. So, I like to ask my followers questions or start a poll or provide fun facts. I try hard to invite questions and comments so that my posts are more like a conversation than a broadcast. For TikTok, I must admit I love doing the dances just for fun. And for my YouTube channel, it’s all about posting adventures with family and friends. I do that to inspire others to make their own memories with their own family and friends.
What is your favorite moment from being on the set of Juniors?
It really is hard to choose one moment because every moment was as fun as it gets to me. The people at BratTV make working super fun. It’s always a party atmosphere even though we are all working very hard to make great content.
How important do you think networking is to a budding career?
It’s more important than we typically think it is. Networking and building relationships aren’t easy. But doing so can help in finding new work, staying informed, and showing people that you are a good, trustworthy person. Personally, I love making new friends, so I think of networking as doing what I love. It can be very time consuming and difficult, but it’s always worth it to work on the skill of networking.
Are there any upcoming projects you can share with our readers?
“The Goldbergs” Season 10 Episode 11 was released recently, and I have a co-starring role in it. Also, I recently landed the lead role in an independent feature film 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.