We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I have never been a risk taker and always played it safe . As a creative I have reached roads in my dance career where I felt I wasn’t good enough or didn’t have enough training. I stopped dancing for 10 years; no classes, no teaching and no performing. Once I became a mother the creative part of me was no longer a priority and I was no longer pursuing a career in dance. I only focused on becoming the best mother I could possibly be. 2 years ago I realized a part of me was missing. I thought to myself what does being a good mother mean? I wanted to be someone my daughters could be proud of. Dance was a significant part of who I was and I knew in that moment I needed to get back on the dance floor and pursue my dreams and show my daughters and myself that I was still capable of living with passion. I took a risk. Here I was in my 30’s training with dancers who were half my age and already had studio/professional experience, taking time away from my daughters, dealing with self confidence and worried about the opinions of others. But I told myself its now or never and I needed to find myself again. I could feel it in my soul that this was my calling. I can honestly say that I have never felt so empowered, successful and fortunate with the risks I decided to take to get to where I am now. Risks in reality are fears and I believe once you overcome them and work hard it’ll be a risk worth taking.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I consider myself an artist. My definition of an artist is an individual who creates ways of expression, its limitless which makes it so beautiful. My favorite form of expression is dance, however, I have been in and out of it for over 17 years. Art is always evolving and it was scary to dive back in it. While other artists continued their journey and followed their passion, life took over me and I was unsure if dance was the best option as a career. Being a mother, financial stability was important so I pursued a career in the medical field. After years of being in the medical field and a mother it wasn’t all of who I was and I knew I was here for another purpose. Not only did I come back as a dancer, I came back as a student, learning something new everyday and finding new ways to express myself which helped me become a better instructor teaching my students how to express themselves. Besides the physical part of the dance art I realized it was something bigger. Not only am I a dance instructor I inspire and motivate others to become more than themselves. It’s about lifting each other up on rough days through our passion for music and dance, every “yahhs” moment when we thought we didn’t have it in us, the hugs, laughter, smiles and some tears are all what makes my career so fulfilling. I think what sets me apart from others is that I am an open book which is really difficult to do. I prefer to keep most of my personal life private but once you relate to someone they feel a connection and trust is built. Trust is what people need to feel safe. There are many different types of instructors and we can teach what we have to offer but everyone brings something to the table and in this industry the table is HUGE and as artists were all just trying to eat and share. Last year I finally launched my dream business, The Bluprint Agency. It is a dance entertainment company to others but to me it was a form of mentor-ship for dancers seeking a career in the entertainment industry. I was raised in an inner-city community in San Diego where dance studios didn’t exist and my parents could not afford to travel or put me in them. I was a self taught dancer, learning how to dance from prerecorded music videos on my VCR (LOL). When I became an adult I sought out dance classes at local community colleges and learned from peers. The one thing I remembered was how passionate I was about dance and looking back I wished I had a mentor to help guide me to the right path in the industry. Maybe I would have stuck with it and pursued my dance career a lot sooner. I have always struggled with confidence and not believing I was good enough to reach any of the goals I have accomplished in these past few years. I knew with The BPA I wanted to be that mentor for the dancers. The entertainment industry is very cut throat, but I choose to see it from a different perspective. I want the dancers to know that I see what they are capable of and that I do believe in them. It only takes one person to see that and once you believe in yourself the opportunities are limitless. Throughout my experiences so far I’ve realized that self love is the number 1 thing you need to keep pushing forward and that taking necessary risks can bring you out of fear and all of the ”what ifs.” One of my favorite quotes is ” Without fear there is no creativity.” Always be true to yourself and follow your dreams because they are waiting to come true.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The beautiful thing about San Diego is that there are so many places to see, experience, and taste. I was born and raised here but I continue to explore parts of our city that I’ve never seen all the time. I would definitely start from the south, Chula Vista area where the food, specifically tacos are a must have. We would then work our way up to the mid city including downtown, Little Italy, North Park and Hillcrest area where the food is also incredible and the nightlife is a vibe, great music and good company and we can’t forget about the brunch spots. The beach areas including sunset cliffs, Torrey pines for a beautiful hike and Moonlight beach in Encinitas wold be great for a beach day. Again, San Diego has an endless list of things you can explore and a week wouldn’t even be enough to do it all….
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have dealt with numerous battles over the years . I choose to live without any regrets and continue to learn throughout my struggles. We all define our own success and have our own stories to tell. There are many people to thank throughout my journey. Besides my family, friends and students who will forever be my inspiration, I have met so many amazing other artists and entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry that have shed light on my vision for my career. Leila Carlson, owner of The Facility dance studio took me on as an instructor teaching numerous classes and because of her I’ve grown in my craft beyond my imagination. Besides dance, music is a major inspiration to me. I’d like to thank my favorite Rockstars; The Black Market Brigade for opening my eyes to the San Diego music scene! However, my story is dedicated to my daughters. Because of them I have developed the strength and courage to face my fears and to take risks and show them that they are capable of accomplishing anything they put their mind to.