Jessica Marie Garcia Shares Personal Stories of Resilience

For Jessica Marie Garcia, acting’s always been the plan. She grew up in Orlando, Florida–the home of all things Disney–and attended high school surrounded by tons of other actors and creative people. As obvious as her transition to a Disney sitcom may seem, she states that she “felt like a small fish in a big acting pond.”

“I gained a lot of strength in dealing with the rejection of not being picked for a role, and that happened a lot for me in high school. I never got cast in a single production, and I never let that stop me from becoming an actor. Being rejected is more common for an actor than booking a role, so my experience with it has made me a much stronger actor and person, and I am so grateful to have had it.”

JESSICA MARIE GARCIA LIV AND MADDIE – “Rate-A-Rooney” – Liv, Maddie and their friends confront a fellow schoolmate who has been giving them numeric ratings based on looks. This episode of “Liv and Maddie” aired Sunday, February 08 (9:00 PM – 9:30 PM ET/PT), on Disney Channel. (Disney Channel/Tony Rivetti)

While she may not have been cast in her school plays, she scored big by landing a role in Disney Channel’s Liv and Maddie. The sitcom centers on a pair of twins reuniting after a long separation. Jessica plays the loud-and-proud Willow. Her biggest unforeseen obstacle when going out for auditions in LA–swaying. “I always have pent up energy and when I’m nervous, it’s worse! At my earlier auditions I would sway back and forth so much,that I’m sure I swayed out of the frame! Little things like this, little quirks that we all have, you just have to become aware of them and try and work on fixing them. Thank goodness! Willow can not be a swayer!”

With a little determination, her onscreen swaying became a thing of the past. Since moving to LA, she’s had recurring roles in ABC’s Huge, The Middle, and now Disney’s Liv and Maddie. “Every new set that I work on I have a better and better time, because I have come into my own more as an actor and am confident in my talent,” she says. “When I started, I had no idea what to expect. On the set of HUGE for ABC Family, I was so quiet. (and if you knew me, I am anything but quiet) I opened up and learned a lot on that set, and learned that I can be myself, because I am good enough to be there. That is really hard for an actor to realize when facing so much rejection.”

When not rejected, actors face the responsibility (and sometimes burden) of being in the public eye. Jessica states that it’s “amazing and overwhelming at times[…]I had to recently leave a yogurt store because a bus of middle schoolers practically mobbed me- felt like one of the Beatles!” Still, from signing autographs to taking pictures, her love for her fans is evident. She says it’s “a real blessing to be able to impact kids the way we have and I don’t take that for granted. I don’t think you can ever be 100% comfortable with [being in the public eye]. I sometimes forget, and then wonder why people are staring at me!”

About two years ago, Jessica was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. While being pre-diabetic is reversible, it takes a great deal of work to overcome. Naturally, news of her diagnosis was different than a simple rejection from a casting director.

“It was incredibly difficult to accept for me,” she admits. “Growing up kids think they’re invincible-and I was no different. Once I came out of the denial of being diagnosed, I was overwhelmed with the sense of determination. I always preach about being a strong woman, and I had to finally become that strong woman. I would say it affected my life because I didn’t let it take over my life. I could have felt sorry for myself and give up, and I didn’t. It made me stronger and gave me a self worth that I sorely needed at the time, because I didn’t give up on myself.”

She states that the most difficult part for her was accepting that changing her life would take time–there were no shortcuts and results would not come immediately. “I am a very impatient person, so I wanted changes right away. When I lost my first 20lbs, I was excited but then realized I had so much more to go, and that can be a very daunting feeling. So I had to accept that it was going to be a process and that I was worth the time it took to achieve my health goals.”

As difficult as turning her health around was, Jessica was never alone. She cites her support system as most helpful in changing her lifestyle. “I have the most supportive friends and family,” she says. “I am so lucky. Even my Liv and Maddie family supported my healthier lifestyle.”

BRIANNE TJU, JESSICA MARIE GARCIA, DOVE CAMERONLIV AND MADDIE – “Rate-A-Rooney” – Liv, Maddie and their friends confront a fellow schoolmate who has been giving them numeric ratings based on looks. This episode of “Liv and Maddie” aired Sunday, February 08 (9:00 PM – 9:30 PM ET/PT), on Disney Channel. (Disney Channel/Tony Rivetti)

Being diagnosed as pre-diabetic won’t stop Jessica from pursuing everything that she wants to do. In the future, Jessica states that she wants to play “all kinds of incredible women,” which is entirely fitting for her. “I want to play strong, opinionated women. I would also like to play a character that is a little darker than you’ve seen me play before. I pride myself on being an actor and studying my craft, so I would love the opportunity to stretch those acting wings a bit more. ” When not acting for television, she wants to expand into film and eventually have her own production company. “I would love to write, produce, and direct my own projects,” she says.

After learning a bit about both her work and personal life, Teenplicity wouldn’t hesitate to deem Jessica a strong woman–she’s passionate, determined, and undoubtedly resilient. When asked what her opinion of a strong woman is, she replies that it is “knowing your worth. A strong woman should know that she is worth pursuing all she wants in life. I think a strong woman has the courage to speak her mind and always follow her heart. I also think a strong woman means being someone who spreads positivity to everyone she meets. There is strength in positivity.”

That positivity is exactly what she wants to share with her fans. “I think those who support me, see themselves in me,” she says. “They see the girl who isn’t the most perfect, and they [root] for me, I want them to know how beautiful they are. I get the pleasure of talking to these girls on social media and their stories inspire me everyday. I hope they don’t lose sight of their dreams because someone told them they couldn’t. I am promising you, that you can.”

To keep up to date with Jessica Marie Garcia, follow her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

All photos are used with permission.

An American teenager obsessed with the inner workings of how people interact with the world. Enjoys killer females and wit. Can often be found either studying literature and film or writing.

1 Comment

  • Reply April 4, 2015


    Hey mate, greetings from Down Under !

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