We had the chance recently to catch up via email with Jesse Draper, host of the hit web show, The Valley Girl, and we asked her a few questions about how she got started, what’s going on now, and what the future holds. Enjoy the interview and check out the minisode interview with Ted Turner afterwards!
1. What got you started in acting to begin with?
I knew I wanted to be an actress ever since I starred in “Chicken Little” in Miss Neigh’s first grade class at Oak Knoll School in Menlo Park, California. Haha. When I was little I always wanted to be an actress like my Aunt Polly. She’s an actress and I’ve always looked up to her. She’s one of my best friends and has always mentored me in terms of my acting career. She helped me prepare for my UCLA theater school audition. Even throughout college, I would call her and say, “Polly, I need a 15 minute monologue by tomorrow!” and she would either find me something or write me something. I felt really lucky to have such a great mentor and friend. She’s an incredible actress and I hope to have even half of the career she has!
2. Growing up in Silicon Valley, were you exposed to a lot of important business people, trend-setters?
I have to say I feel oddly comfortable in a room of suits. I did grow up around a lot of entrepreneurs that I have seen become huge successes. Because I grew up in Silicon Valley with a Dad who is in the technology business, I was definitely exposed to many of the latest trends in tech. As a kid, I was sometimes used to test various prototypes such as new computer games like Math Blaster or Gazillionaire Deluxe. I used Gazillionaire Deluxe to learn how the stock market works by selling alien goods to different planets and we also tested things like Skype and AIM. I feel like I had a cell phone pretty early on, and I was probably instant messaging before everyone else could say the word “Internet.” AOL was eye-opening to me. I am definitely a technology girl!
3. What made you decide to start The Valley Girl Web show?
Growing up in a business-oriented world, I looked up to these great entrepreneurs who were doing amazing things that I was always hearing about: the Google guys, Hotmail, Skype. I always wondered why there wasn’t a fun talk show for business people like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” After being in the entertainment industry for a few years, I soon learned that in order to be really successful as an actress, you have to do it all! You have to act, create, write and produce in order to control your career. I was the only actress who began attending production meetings when I was on Nickelodeon’s “The Naked Brother’s Band” to learn how a show was run. During hiatus after our second season, I started “The Valley Girl Show” and filmed a pilot season. Once we decided to call it “The Valley Girl Show” we sort of had to paint everything pink which has been GREAT for branding and there you have it!
4. Who has been your most difficult guest so far?
No one has actually been ‘difficult’. Everyone has a lot of fun on set. People write me emails afterwards telling that was the most fun they have ever had doing an interview. Ronnie Lott wrote me this email saying “You are gonna be a star!” The idea is to get the guests out of their typical routine interview and have them kick back a little. The show has been pretty successful in doing this. I have to say, there are things I do occasionally worry about beforehand like… “I hope that Elon Musk will eat escargot”…it turns out Elon really likes escargot! Or “Do you think Le Var Burton will be okay acting in a movie with me?” There is always the risk that they won’t do it, but we haven’t had a “No!” yet!
5. Who has been your most enjoyable guest so far?
So many come to mind! MC Hammer is just plain amazing and was so much fun on set! He just had a great attitude coming in and was ready for anything. Can’t touch MC Hammer! Elon Musk is one of my favorite entrepreneurs of all time and a personal hero, so that was a blast too. I’m always looking for great female entrepreneurs too. Someone who surprised me the most was Sinead Norenius who runs a social media inspired skin care line called Beautisol. It’s great to see rockin’ female entrepreneurs and she blew me away!
6. If you had to do everything all over again, is there anything you would change?
I have no regrets! And in terms of the show, I feel like I still have a way to go and I’m gonna take this thing all the way! There is still so much we haven’t done! I wouldn’t change a thing, we are ever-changing, ever-improving and “The Valley Girl Show” is something I built from scratch and it feels F—ING AWESOME that is has come this far. Why stop now? As long as no one stops designing pink inspired outfits, the show will go on! Does life get any better than doing what you love?!
7. Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you want to be in your professional life?
In five years, I want to be known as an incredible entertainment entrepreneur and actress. I want to have created a worldwide approachable business and media brand with my business partner Jonathan Polenz starting with a talk show on network television. I want to be a role model for entrepreneurs and businessmen and women of all professions. I hope to encourage and inspire people everywhere to start their own company. I want to change the world!
8. Any time for a personal life? Are you single? (I’m sure there are a ton of single guys out there asking this question!)
I have a boyfriend who is absolutely incredible. I am not married and I am not looking to get married anytime soon. I’m a busy girl, I have too much to do first!
9. Who is the most important person in your life?
I never understand how people can answer this with one person. People shape people, not one person. If you know me, you know that my family and my friends are literally THE most important thing in my life. I would give the clothes off my back to any one of them. So here is what I am going to say; My family comes first and these are the most important people in my life; Mom and Dad! Adam, Billy, El! Coulter, Lisa, Nat, Alex, Aunt Becky, Grammy, Pops, Aunt Polly, Uncle Mike! Aunt I-Di! Brian! Kat, Kristin, Lisa, Lyndsey, Nisha, Ali, Mo, Gretchen, Alex, Kendall, You can’t do anything alone and I couldn’t do anything without the support of every single one of them.
10. Who has had the single biggest impact on your life, helping you to become who you are today?
My parents. Hands down.