A relative newcomer to Hollywood, Jenny Pellicer is smart, sexy and savvy. Like her character, Emily, on “State of Affairs”, Jenny is a woman of many identities. Born and raised in Oslo, Norway to a Norwegian-American mother and Mexican diplomat father, Jenny is truly multi-cultural in a way that is new and exciting to Hollywood. Jenny graduated as valedictorian from the international school in Oslo. Before getting into acting Jenny spent time in Costa Rica working for the Ministry of Health and received her law degree in International Human Rights from Durham University in the United Kingdom.
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Chris Remmers: One of our main objectives at SCP is to get people to go out and explore this great planet we call home. Through the lens of influential people, we try to bring insight to universally sought out destinations, as well as places you may never have heard of before. Growing up in Norway I’m sure the lifestyle is a bit different of that in America, was there any sort of culture shock for you when you made the transition?
Jenny Pellicer: There actually was a pretty large culture shock at first. It’s funny because my father is from Mexico and my mother is from the United States, so whenever we did summer trips we would always leave Norway and travel to the US before going to Mexico. For me, the United States was always New York — Manhattan and Queens. I realized my experience was just this little microcosm of what I was first exposed to here. The first time I went to Los Angeles I had an even bigger culture shock, partially because of my American accent. I don’t, or didn’t, necessarily know a lot of cultural things in America, like different football players or basketball players.
People would talk to me about football and I would think they were talking about what you guys call soccer, and sometimes it would just get really confusing. I think the whole accent thing kind of through me off too, because when people heard me speak I was classified as American when that wasn’t really the case. I didn’t grow up here. I didn’t have the college experience here. The idea of having lockers was something I had only seen in movies. On the other hand, it’s a very exciting place to be, especially in the California area. People are super open and embracing. Los Angeles is a very interesting and eclectic city filled with such a variety of people and cultures. I actually feel right at home here.
CR: Where would you say gave you more of a culture shock, being in New York City, or being in Los Angeles?
JP: That’s tough, but I would honestly say being in LA was a little bit more of a culture shock. There are all these different perceptions people have when they talk about culture on the East Coast versus the West Coast. I was guilty, as well, for judging what things would be like before I got out here. At first it was kind of this east coast/west coast battle, but now I think I love them both equally for their own reasons.
It’s really a difficult question, because in California there’s such a large Mexican population. And, from my father growing up there, as well as from visiting so much over the years, I love that I can go to the corner store and speak in Spanish. Or, just go to restaurants with genuine, delicious flavor. I’m not saying that you cannot find that in NYC, but it’s just different. It just has this comforting familiarity to it that I think draws me their so much.
CR: The US is so diverse, and I think sometimes people that don’t live here have this image of everyone in the US living like they do in NYC or LA. When, in reality, every state from east-to-west and north-and-south has their own sense of culture and diversity. It’s awesome you were able to experience that. Speaking of culture, you grew up in beautiful Norway, where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of how and where you grew up?
JP: The first place I would send anyone would definitely be the capital, which is Oslo. It’s just such a beautiful city and adds so much cultural diversity. It has the Opera, a folk museum, amazing food and traditional Norwegian construction. I would also strongly recommend going to the Viking Museum. You should also look at Norway.com, they have made an incredible set of packages to do trips like “Norway in a Nutshell” and explore for a few days, or even a few weeks. The tourist options now are just so incredible that if you haven’t looked into going to Norway I would strongly recommend everyone go at least once.
I’ve done so much traveling, and I see all the things going on at home in Norway and it honestly makes me want to be a tourist. My friends are going back there, seeing the northern lights and sending me all these photos. I was so jealous because I grew up there and I never got to see them. I lived pretty far south and the only way to see the northern lights was to head north. It was just something I never got to do while I was there. I will make it there one of these days. It looks too beautiful not to go.
CR: Would you say that all your time spent traveling around had any sort of impact on your career choices?
JP: Absolutely! I think that one of my fondest memories is being in southern Spain at 12 or 13. I went into a bar filled with locals singing songs and a guy at the end playing his guitar. It was traditional Spanish songs from the south and it left such an impression. It really inspired me to step out of my box and helped me with my creative expression. It’s such an amazing thing amongst all cultures and that always fascinated me.
Having a very theatrical family also helped to get me into performing. When you travel and get to meet new people, you learn about the different cultures. There is this curiosity that starts to form. You learn over time that we can be so different, yet so similar, and that’s something that fascinates me. You can live in one place on one side of the world and think you are so different from someone on the other side, but you would be surprised how much we all have in common to some degree. Traveling helps remind me of all this, it sounds corny, but it’s true.
CR: I think that’s an amazing perspective on the world to have because, so many people are quick to pre-judge a destination or culture without actually experience it. Can you recall a time on stage, or set, looking out at an audience and thinking you’re in an “I made it” moment?
JP: For me, funny enough, I remember one of the first times I stepped on stage and thought to myself, “Holy cow! This is so cool.” More recently, when I started working in LA, I did a movie with a bunch of amazing Mexican actors and a wonderful director filmed in Las Vegas. It was my first time really getting on a plane alone, arriving at a hotel and going to work the next day. I was definitely nervous.
I got into the trailer with all these big actors and, for a moment, I was star struck. But, once we got on set and started working everything just felt natural. I’ve studied law. I’ve worked at other jobs after I did my bachelors in the UK. And, I was always kind of embarrassed that deep down I always wanted to act. When I got the opportunity to make it a reality I just couldn’t stop smiling. I felt like a fish in water.
CR: There are a of couple projects you’ve been working on, one of which, “Cocaine Godmother,” has you co-starring alongside Kathrine Zeta Jones. Tell us a little bit about that experience. What was it like to work alongside an actress of her magnitude fairly early on in your career?
JP: I don’t even know where to begin honestly. It was just such an incredible experience. Kathrine is just such an amazing actress. For me, her in “Chicago” was one of my favorites. When I found out I got the roll I was just kind of shocked at first. It was literally turning from a childhood dream to something of a reality. It was overwhelming at first, but getting to play her lover was incredible. She is not only the sexiest woman alive, but she is so eloquent, generous, kind, just really an overall wonderful person. It just came out January 20 too. I also have another movie coming out in the next few months called Puppet Master. This is the revival of the series from the 80’s. That was an amazing experience as well. So, slowly but surely, I’ve been progressing into bigger and bigger roles.
CR: Congratulations! I’m sure it must be such an accomplishing feeling to be working alongside actors and actresses that have been pivotal in shaping movies for future generations. Transitioning back into travel, when you’re looking to get away, do you go more towards a beach, mountains, new cities or something completely different all together?
JP: I know this is cliché to say, but I kind of look for a little bit of everything. I would say anything involving adventure is what peeks my interest. For example, the next place I really want to go is South Africa. Nelson Mandela is one of my heroes and I’ve had so many friends talk about how beautiful it is. It has made me want to go for the longest time now. There are so many things to see in Johannesburg and Cape Town. I just feel like it’s such an exciting place to be with incredible cultures and history. It’s also a place that has a little bit of everything from beaches to jungles and large cities. So, I would say that’s next on my list of places I need to visit.
CR: Lastly, if you could visit any other places in the world you’ve not been to yet, where would they be?
JP: I honestly would say Brazil is on the top of my list, as well. It seems like such a fascinating place. Their beaches are fantastic. Their cities are amazing. They have such a history of wonderful art. I could go on for days. Their main cities are just booming with creativity. I hear the food is out of this world. So, I would really love to go there in the near future. Hopefully we will be able to make that happen sooner than later.