Jenna Berman is a South African actress and fashion model. Jenna started her career at age 10 in Cape Town, South Africa, working on kids clothing catalogs and TV commercials. After leaving South Africa as a teenager and living around the world, she is now based between Vancouver and Los Angeles.
1. For the people who might not know you, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jenna Berman. I act, model, take photos and own a modeling agency, WILD Mgmt based out of Vancouver.
2. How did you become involved in the entertainment industry?
I was born and raised in South Africa, and there’s a big industry there, so I started working on TV commercials and clothing catalogues when I was about 10. A girl in my class missed school and said she got paid to do a photoshoot. I realized she was a genius. I too wanted to make my own money and miss school, so I called up a kids agency and set up a meeting. My mom indulged me and drove me 2 hours to meet with them. I worked as a model overseas for most of my career and then started acting more seriously a few years ago when I moved to Vancouver. It’s all evolved into a career that I really love.
3. Of the roles that you played, who was your favorite to portray and why?
My favorite is easily Lilith (of Sabrina), because of how iconic she is in mythology. I’ve always been fascinated by the power embodied by characters like Lilith and Artemis, and I honestly couldn’t imagine anything better than being able to portray Lilith in some way. When I realized my character was really Lilith, I think I spent 30 minutes on the phone with my agent (and close friend) just going ‘oh my god Samantha…’
4. What do you love most about your job as an artist?
I’ve been really struck by art of all forms for as long as I can remember, and I always knew I wanted to make beautiful things. I think our society misunderstands beauty and the importance of it. We tend to only think of standard, vain, physical beauty and the issues associated with the role that plays in our culture, and we underestimate the significance of surrounding ourselves with things that we find beautiful. A photo, movie, plant, book, song, animal – whatever. Beauty can be in anything and it is essential to happiness. It opens our intuition, connects us and activates our senses. In a practical sense, I love that no day is the same for me, as I tend to be a bit erratic in nature and can get bored if I’m doing the same thing every day.
5. If you weren’t an actress, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t an actress I’d definitely still be doing something creative, so probably just current other jobs/creative endeavors I love being a part of.
6. What kind of roles do you prefer when you are looking at a potential character to portray?
To be completely honest, I prefer anything non-human. My agent now interprets the term ‘non-human’ very loosely. But honestly, I like anything that’s written well and that I can find inspiration in.
7. Can you disclose anything about your upcoming projects?
I can’t mention anything regarding my acting career, but with photography, I have a cover shot along with an editorial of actress Laura Mennell coming out in 71 Magazine soon, as well as a few other projects in the works.
8. What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
Making my parents and hopefully my brother proud.
9. Who are some artists that inspire you and why?
Sally Mann, because her photos make me breathe more slowly. Annie Leibovitz because she’s a creative genius. Patti Smith because she doesn’t give a shit about things one shouldn’t give a shit about. Writer and director Damián Szifron, because I’ve thought he was a legend ever since I saw his anthology film “Wild Tales” and how honestly it portrays the human psyche. I’m also really inspired by Monica Kim Garza’s paintings, and the way she portrays women – the same can be said for Rebecca Chaperon and her paintings.
10. Do you have any advice for aspiring actors who want to get started in the industry?
Make sure you really love the process and not the desired outcome. If you’re looking for fame or attention, in my estimation, there are easier and faster routes.
11. Do you have anything to say to the people who support you?
I really love you. Thank you.
12. What is the best thing about acting?
The creative minds you get to meet and work with. I’ve made some of my best friends through this industry. I still feel very new to acting because some of my peers started as children, but I’ve already learned so much from the people I’ve been able to work with. Also, not having to buy groceries.
13. What do you have in mind for the future?
I’d like to keep pushing myself to create more in a way that feels authentic to me. Later on, maybe get a few more cats and spend a few more days of the year in nature instead of a city.
14. What are some causes that are dear to your heart and hope to bring awareness to?
I volunteer with the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC who do really important work with some amazing kids. I am also a big supporter of any organization that helps bring awareness to LGBTQ+ issues. It’s so important that we continue to make progress in the fight for true equality so that one day we can get to a point where it won’t be a cause anyone needs support in.
Thank you so much to Jenna for the wonderful interview. You can find more about her and her work on: