studio (un)scripted: 5 questions with jessica gentry.

JESS GENTRY, EDUCATIONAL THERAPIST, ENTREPRENEUR (and the most thoughtful human being we know, even from across the country)

The Studio is my happy place, where is yours? 

I’m going to go with what first popped into my head when I read this question. I LOVE going to San Diego Circus Center and taking classes. Every time a school year starts up, I have myself try a new hobby that I’ve never done before to remind myself what it feels like to really be vulnerable and likely suck at something. It forces me to do all of the things that I will likely ask of my students, and it reminds me to be kind to myself through learning, too.

But back to the Circus Center. It’s full of these amazingly creative and talented people that truly want to be the performers you will be in awe of. Those that are in shows like Cirque du Soleil.  There’s no videotaping for people’s Instagram stories like so many do at most exercise places lately. Instead, people show up to put in the work and be part of a creative community.

As a highly regarded educational therapist, you are taking the leap to start your own practice. Starting a new business has its challenges, how have you taken those head-on with your unique and tenured experience?

I had tried my own practice once before, accidentally, when a therapist reached out to me saying that a client talked about me in sessions. I thought I was in some sort of trouble but instead she asked if she could refer more of her clients to me for what I was good at. What I’ve learned is that I am a very talented educational therapist (and yes, it’s good to know you are good at something and say it with confidence) AND now, there’s a whole ‘nother world of business that I am learning rapidly. It can definitely feel intimidating and my mind rarely stops. Or it starts up again in the middle of the night, insisting on answers to new things it came up with. Yet, my attitude right now is, “Look at you, figuring it out. Look at you, asking for help. Look at you, excited and independent.”  I’m trying to be in a state of awe for what I’m challenging myself with and I’m amazed and grateful for all the opportunities falling into place. I know I can do great work once I’m with my clients but I want to set up my accounting and all the other behind-the-scenes parts well too.

With a profession in helping others all of the time, what are some things you do for yourself, personally, to maintain your health and spirit? 

What I have learned – and likely what many people already know – is that if you are really good at something, and you work for someone else, they will work you as much as they can. Why wouldn’t they? With that, I’ve learned how to read my body better; to know what it’s trying to ask me for. For example, I was absolutely exhausted at my last job. I was hardly able to leave my bed most weekends, so that I could “recharge” my battery and, while I didn’t make that obvious, I felt an inner sense of rage and resentfulness. If someone were to ask me “one more thing” I imagined I would snap, and that’s not really me. That’s not my personality. To me, those were all signals that I needed to ask for support. When help wasn’t available for me, though I was giving to others, I realized the relationship wasn’t balanced and I would not be able to stay. You have to take care of yourself. 

Things that I find myself doing regularly include things like dancing around my room pretending I’m performing on stage to an audience that thinks I’m awesome (there are even outfit changes, and no, no one has witnessed this). On that same line, I practice signing different songs while pretending to be an interpreter at a concert. I walk my dog, Eddie Munster. Oftentimes, I simply sit in the sunshine and stare at the clouds, reminding myself how lucky I am to even just exist, and beyond that to have a beam of sunshine to sit in calmly. I play pickleball. I watch Schitt’s Creek on repeat. I go to a workout class (faves are Elevate Training and SD Circus Center). Or I send weird memes to good friends. When I’m really low, I often send packages to people because it’s fun to think that in a few days, someone I care about will get a surprise and think of me. Sometimes I need that to keep going because life can feel heavy and with one simple gesture can feel beautiful. We just have to make it to tomorrow.

Your commitment to health and wellness is so admirable. You do it in your day-to-day life both personally and professionally — how can others learn to do the same thing and remain committed to the importance of a well-rounded, peaceful life? 

That’s a high compliment coming from you who I have loved working out with. I find that routines help me feel grounded, so my routines now are overall pretty healthy or I adjust them as I learn more about health and myself. What I’m saying is that, should others want to remain committed to peace, they should choose it over anything else. When given the opportunity, choose peace. That can look really different on any given day, but if you rely on, “which way offers ME more peace?” as your guide, then you are choosing you. You are choosing kindness. You are prioritizing peace. Therefore, peace is inevitable.  

If you could ask me anything, what would it be?

I want to know what SoulCycle teachers you had crushes on (ranked, please). Same question for Barry’s instructors. I want to know what you miss most about LA (people are not allowed for this answer, nor is the Santa Monica pier as you’ve already given that an ode, rightly so). I want to know what 5 questions you would ask Cody Rigsby if you ever interviewed him. I want to ask you if you realize how lucky this world is to have you in it?

Check out this beautiful soul & follow her as she embarks on her next incredible journey.

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