The masterful influence of beautifully executed cinema, or art in general, can be as magical as fate itself. After watching the mystical wizarding world of Harry Potter unfold on the silver-screen, rising actress and musician Jillian Shea Spaeder grew enchanted by the beauty of story-telling, off-and-on the screen. While exploring the depths of the alluring industry, Jillian can now be seen in the newly released Disney+ original film, Godmothered, while simultaneously cultivating her budding music career. In this exclusive interview, Jillian discusses her experience working on her newest film, what we can expect to see from her in the near future, and where she draws her inspiration from while creating her art.
Megan Morgante: Did anything/anyone, in particular, inspire you to pursue acting?
Jillian Shea Spaeder: If you ask my family, they’ll say I’ve always been dramatic, so I guess it’s in my blood! But, I do remember watching Emma Watson in the Harry Potter movies and being inspired by her.
MM: Can you give an overview of your past in the entertainment industry and how it led you to where you are now?
JSS: The summer before I turned twelve, I was in Los Angeles for a performing arts competition, and that’s where I met my manager. She encouraged me to come back for a pilot season a few months later. It was then that I auditioned for and booked the series regular role on Walk the Prank. Around that time, I also had a guest star spot on a Nickelodeon show and a few skits for DreamWorksTV. Walk the Prank went for three seasons, and I had a few other guest spots before landing the role of Jane in Godmothered, which was filmed in early 2020. During and in-between my acting, I am always writing and recording music. I’ve released ten singles over the past two years.
MM: You star in the newly released Disney+ original film, Godmothered, alongside Jillian Bell and Isla Fisher. What was your experience working on this film?
JSS: Working on Godmothered was so much fun and such an incredible experience. It was a female-driven production, so I learned a lot not only from Jillian [Bell] and Isla [Fisher], but from the director and one of the producers, who are also female.
MM: What can we expect to see from your character in this film?
JSS: Jane is a talented singer-songwriter, but she suffers from severe performance anxiety. When asked to perform a solo during the big holiday concert, her mother discourages her from doing it. The family dynamic has been off since the death of Jane’s father, with whom she shared the love of music. A fairy godmother, Eleanor, helps Jane find her confidence and helps the whole family find their happily-ever-after.
MM: You also are a rising singer/songwriter! How did you begin to find your love for music?
JSS: I grew up in a musical family. My dad and sister play piano, and my mom sings. My parents have been in a band since college, so I often got to watch them play, and around the age of nine, I started going up there to do a few songs with them. I took piano, saxophone, and clarinet lessons and I also sang choir in elementary school. I taught myself guitar at twelve-years-old, and that’s when my passion for songwriting began.
MM: Where do you tend to draw inspiration from when creating your music?
JSS: My inspiration comes from many different things. Sometimes it’s events, people around me, or, something that’s happened to me personally. Sometimes it’s just a thought, melody, or lyric that pops into my head. That’s the great thing about music, just about anything can inspire a song!
MM: Do you have any new or upcoming projects that you’re particularly excited about?
JSS: I’m currently working on an album or EP that I hope to release before summer.
MM: Do you have any passions you enjoy partaking in when you’re not acting or creating music?
JSS: I’m addicted to crafts! Whenever I’m bored, I head to Michael’s and find some new project to work on.
MM: Have you ever experienced any notable challenges throughout your career?
JSS: Being in the entertainment industry is the biggest challenge! Actors and musicians get a lot of “no’s,” and I learned quickly that every opportunity—even those that don’t go my way—is a win. I just keep working hard, and I know things always turn out okay!
MM: What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?
JSS: That’s a tough one! I’ll say my song, Something Better because my friend and I wrote, produced, and directed a video for it. The message is empowering, and the video won awards in several film festivals.
MM: What would you say your personal style is like?
JSS: My closet has everything from jeans to fancy dresses (for special occasions). Most days I go for comfort, so I’m a big fan of crop tops, sweatpants, and cute sneakers. If I’m going out with friends, I might throw on a skirt, sweater, paired with some Doc Martens.
MM: Who is your ultimate style icon?
JSS: Harry Styles! I love that he just wears whatever he wants. Who doesn’t want to do that?
Photography by Storm Santos
Newest Single: you & me