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CIF Success: Dharbi Jens

July 01, 2015

CIF Enhanced Member: Dharbi Jens shares her experience in her own words.....

Positively Charged - by Dharbi Jens

Not in LA? - No problem.  Dreaming and wishing you were in LA? Well, dreams can come true.  And, I'm excited and appreciative that Children In Film provided me the opportunity to share my journey here with you.  Hopefully I can provide some inspiration and encouragement.

Hi! My name is Dharbi Jens and I just turned 16. I have been a member of CIF since I was 11 and I am very fortunate to be Melinda the Mermaid on Disney Jr.'s Doc McStuffins.  But, that wasn't always the case and it doesn't mean "I'm done!" 

In fact, I just learned that because my voice has changed too much from when I was 11, I can no longer be Melinda.  While I'm terribly sad (and honestly shed some tears), I still am following my dream of being in entertainment!

Its often said, and often true, that living in LA is a must.  While I was very lucky to be able to spend several months in LA when I was 11 - and that's when I booked Melinda, I have spent the rest of that time in my home town in Florida doing regular kid things.  Although, I do want to be an actor, so I might not be so "regular," if you know what I mean! LOL. But, you need those "normal" kid experiences in order to realistically act them out.  So having "normal" experiences is a plus!

For those of you who can't live in LA, don't worry - keep dreaming, keep striving.  Do what I do ... First and foremost, I stay positive - always stay positive!  It makes you and everyone else feel great.  *Note: I am not full of sunshine 24/7.  I have bad days and sad moments - I have disappointments; But, I can get out of it pretty quick. That's important!

Next, look for local acting clubs, most often its theatre. (I got started in my town when I was 7).  And, if you don't have a children's theatre, start your own group!  In elementary school I started the MRC - "Movie Review Club." Every Friday my friends and I would pick a movie, and with our scoring sheets we'd rate the movies' actors, music and story.  If you're in high school like me, they probably have a drama department. Join it. 

The other thing I do is, I now do my own filming.  I belong to the TV production class at school; so I film and report and edit.  I did it in middle school too.  Grab every opportunity to be creative and produce.  Make a name for yourself in your area.  Because my community knows my passion, I got to interview a King of Ghana even before the television news crew, and I got to work a National Division 1 basketball tournament with CBS Sports - and I live in a little beach town.  My friend and I were even asked to do a 5 minute 30 year anniversary video for our community's food bank.  It turned out great!

Also, see if your area has local agents for commercials or modeling.   There may not be as many opportunities as in LA, but it's a start. 

Remember, 99.9% of the time, success does not happen over night.  I have had hundreds of "NOs."  But if entertainment is your passion, you'll make it!  Create a name for yourself in your home town, gain experience and get to LA when you can.  The more prepared you are when you arrive, the easier it'll be to settle into LA life. You might feel knocked down a couple times, but tomorrow is always is a new day with new opportunities!