An interview with Jess Jann, Actress, Entrepreneur, Food Blogger, and Co-Founder of Jessica Beauty
Name: Jessica Jann | Occupation: Actress & Founder of Jessica Beauty | Location: Hong Kong | Known for: Modelling, Acting, Partner at Explosive Agency, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Jessica Beauty
Hong Kong is home to an abundance of creative talent, spanning across different career paths from artists to chefs. Each week we interview creatives and entrepreneurs from across the city to learn more about their passions and aspirations. This week, we got up and personal with Jess Jann, an Actress, Food Blogger, and the Founder of Jessica Beauty.
A Little Background…
Old-school Disney fanatics may recognise Jess from her acting appearances back in California—she’s appeared on Nickolodeon shows like iCarly and Zoey 101, and was on Miley Cyrus’ 7 Things music video. Jessica was born and raised in Southern California, and is half Shanghainese and half Taiwanese. One thing to know about Jess is that she’s very big on family—she talks to her parents, sister and grandma pretty much every day, even though they are all now in different countries.
As an actress, model and entrepreneur, Jess has an impressive resumé to date. She’s been a part of a number of great films and TV series like Enter The Fat Dragon, Easy A, Jonas Brothers, iCarly, Zoey 101, Leverage and many more. She also co-founded Jessica Beauty, a beauty centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, with the aim to help clients feel more confident in their own skins and of course, create a positive experience. But it doesn’t stop there. She also co-founded Explosive Influencer Agency, a boutique influencer agency in Hong Kong. Clients include NETFLIX, Marvel, Bloomingdale’s, GHD Hair, Red Cross, California Wines Institute, MaBelle and many more. Jann notes that the most important thing is to be kind, stay positive and live your life to the fullest.
1) You grew up in Orange County in the US—what are your favourite memories and what do you miss about living there?
I miss the sun, Disneyland, In N Out, and Target, but most importantly my family! My mum, dad, grandma still live there along with my auntie and cousins. I talk to my mom and grandma almost every day but it’s not the same as seeing them and giving them a big giant hug. I used to go 3-4 times a year but I’m lucky to have flown over at the beginning of this year so I’m very grateful that I got to see them for a little while at the beginning of this year!
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2) Can you tell us about Jessica Beauty Group? What inspired you to open it?
Yes! I think skincare is so important. I didn’t take care of my skin enough when I was younger. I made a lot of big mistakes like sleeping with my makeup on. I wasn’t putting on moisturiser or sunscreen at times, because I was too lazy at the time…terrible! It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I really started to take extra care of my skin. It’s important to take good care of your skin now and let it shine through naturally. I really believe in facials and boy, do they make a huge difference. I wanted to start a beauty centre where you can go that’s affordable, clean, and you leave having a positive and relaxing experience. I also believe that having good skin also boosts your self-confidence! For me, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a few stressful weeks and just some wonderful ‘me time’.
3) Can you tell us about Explosive Influencer Agency, another venture of yours?
Explosive Influencer Agency is something I’m so proud of! We are a boutique influencer agency specialising in influencer campaigns. One of our proudest and craziest things was our very first client was actually NETFLIX Asia! We were so lucky to have landed them and shortly after we worked with other amazing clients like Bloomingdale’s, Red Cross, GHD Hair, Marvel, California Wine Institute, IFC, MaBelle and many more! It’s definitely been a huge learning curve for me. It’s tough work at times, but I’m so honoured and proud to do what I do! We’ve got a great network of KOLS that we work with too.
The Maldives was absolutely magical. I went there with my husband Kenneth for our honeymoon! We swam, lazed around, snorkelled and scuba dived in the most amazing water! It was pure bliss—we felt completely and utterly so relaxed!—Jess Jann, Actress, Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of Jessica Beauty
4) Where are your top 5 favourite travel destinations and why?
In no particular order:
I love Southern California (my hometown) and San Francisco a lot! I miss the food, the sun, the good vibes and of course my family.
Japan is also up there! I mean, the food is unreal. I was lucky to spend a few weeks shooting Enter the Fat Dragon a few years back in Tokyo and wow, even food in the convenience stores tasted great.
The Maldives was absolutely magical. I went there with my husband Kenneth for our honeymoon! We swam, lazed around, snorkelled and scuba dived in the most amazing water! It was pure bliss—we felt completely and utterly so relaxed!
Italy—we went to Florence and it was stunning. The culture, the food, the art. We loved walking around every single street. It was so beautiful.
I went to Australia for the first time last year! I know… very late, but I loved Melbourne. It was another place I could get lost walking around and be perfectly happy.
I’m over the limit but I have a soft spot for Shanghai! I’m half Shanghainese and I love going there, eating the food and discovering the city with my family, especially my abu (my love, grandma!) When I’m travelling, I love waking up early, exploring the city to it’s fullest. I could sleep and rest when I’m back home.
5) Do you still blog regularly on Eat With Jess? How do you find time to balance work and blogging?
I wish I had more time because I would love to keep blogging, but I just don’t have enough spare hours to dedicate to it anymore. I haven’t blogged in a long time, but I do love eating out and trying new food. Most of my foodie adventures are on my Instagram now—@jessjann and @eatwithjess —so feel free to follow my foodie journeys there. The funniest thing is people still recognise me for my blog posts on Open Rice. Just the other week, I was on a staycation and I ran into a hotel staff member who said
“Your eatwithjess right? I used to love your blog. Can you write more?”
6) What are your top 5 favourite restaurants in Hong Kong?
Oh…so tough… There’s so much good food! How do you choose?
Some favourites include Shanghai Fraternity Association, Palco, Sushi Tokami, Chaat & and 298 Nikuya! I always keep going back to these places over and over again.
7) What do you love about Hong Kong?
I love how fast-paced and vibrant this city is! It’s definitely become my home. I remember being in complete awe looking at all the skyscrapers. You can also do anything and everything. I love how easy transportation is. The MTR is so clean and when I ride the MTR anywhere, I’m always on time or early.
8) Where are some restaurants you’ve been meaning to go to/excited to try?
The weird thing is I love the process of auditioning. The freaking out part is to memorise all your lines, then going into the casting directors office and wow when your agent calls you to say you booked the job. Granted the booking the job part doesn’t happen very often. But I love the feeling when it does. I get hundreds more no’s than I can count but I think that makes me stronger and also keep going.—Jess Jann, Actress, Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of Jessica Beauty
9) You’re also an actress and model. What are your favourite memories of each?
Acting is still my passion. To this day, I still take acting classes in Hong Kong because I find it fun. I also have an agent and manager in LA and still do quite a few self-tape auditions. The weird thing is I love the process of auditioning. The freaking out part is to memorise all your lines, then going into the casting directors office and wow when your agent calls you to say you booked the job. Granted the booking the job part doesn’t happen very often, but I love the feeling when it does. I get hundreds more no’s than I can count but I think that makes me stronger and also keep going.
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I’ve been so lucky to be in so many amazing shows and movies from Easy A, Enter the Fat Dragon, Make it or Break it, Leverage, Zoey 101, iCarly to so many more. It’s been an amazing experience. We’ll see what happens in the future! Modelling also taught me a lot and gave me a lot of new experiences and memories. I’m glad I went through everything because it completely shaped me into the woman I am today.
10) What’s something that not many people know about you?
I love being at home and I’m quite the introvert at times! But don’t get me wrong—I do love being surrounded by people and going out but I need my me time to recharge and unwind. I’m also very loud so people are always surprised when I tell them I love just staying at home. I love laying in bed watching NETFLIX!