360 MAGAZINE was lucky enough to sit down with Jarry Lee, a model, actress, musician and influencer from the UK. Lee has over 700,000 followers on Instagram, 30,000 TikTok followers and more than 700,000 Spotify streams.
She has also been seen in VOGUE Italia, POPSUGAR, Mic, Elite Daily, NY Daily News, AM New York, Women Fitness Magazine, Cliché Magazine, The New York Times, Thrive Global and more. She will also be featured in two upcoming books, “Tell Her She Can’t” by Kelly Lewis and “The Little Things” by Oliver Charles.
Authority Magazine named her one of 2020’s “Inspirational Women in Hollywood” while StarCentral Magazine called Lee a “rising star to watch in 2020.” You can click right here to see everywhere she has been featured.
360: How did you find a creative outlet in journalism?
Jarry Lee: I’ve always loved writing (everything from poetry to screenplays), and it was my childhood dream to write professionally. I feel lucky that I was able to do so as a paid, full-time job and that I was able to pitch and take on stories I was personally interested in. Writing is a cathartic process for me.
360: What was the biggest hurdle transitioning from writing for BuzzFeed to being in front of the camera?
Jarry Lee: I didn’t have much prior experience beyond taking some acting classes in the past in school and performing in a playwriting festival in prep school that I wrote for, so I did dozens of test shoots with photographers to practice and learn my best angles and posing. Speaking on camera felt natural, but I had to learn how to pose more naturally.
360: How has your experience in telling stories as a journalist and analyzing stories as the Deputy Books Editor helped you to tell the stories of others as an actress and model?
Jarry Lee: It has definitely helped me with more easily imagining the inner lives and motivations of my characters. Every time I interviewed sources for an in-depth piece, I felt that I gained insight into how other people’s minds worked. When I was writing a feature about Instagram in 2017, for example, I interviewed over 30 individuals and a few businesses, and their stories were really fascinating and completely changed my understanding of how people interact with social media.
360: How has being an influencer and online personality changed through the pandemic?
Jarry Lee: There are almost no in-person events, so in that aspect it’s become less interactive, but there are also more people online since everyone’s bored indoors. I’ve adapted to become a lot more self-sufficient — I rarely work with outside photographers anymore and instead have learned to shoot myself. Earlier this year I bought professional lighting and photography equipment, and recently even purchased a green screen! I’ve really enjoyed honing my video production and editing skills this year. Maybe that’s one small silver lining to the pandemic.
360: What is your favorite platform for creating content and why?
Jarry Lee: I love Instagram for being so curated and aesthetic-focused, but Twitter is my favorite platform for sharing thoughts and seeing others’ (as well as for really silly memes). I originally joined Twitter in 2009, way before I joined Instagram (in 2013).
360: How does your time as a model help you as an actress?
Jarry Lee: I think acting helps more with modeling than vice versa, but becoming more comfortable on-camera as a model has definitely helped me act more naturally, as well. Both require drawing your inner emotions out, onto your facial expressions and how you hold yourself generally.
360: How do you use your platform and large reach to influence ideas and actions of your audience?
Jarry Lee: Three topics I try to bring more awareness to via my platform are: Asian representation in entertainment, bisexual/LGBTQ+ representation and anxiety/mental health. All three are still not spoken about enough, so I think it’s important to share my experiences with my audience. I still frequently receive messages about how I came out as bisexual on the Netflix show “Dating Around,” for example, and it has really resonated with some of my followers when I’ve shared my past experiences with panic attacks and anxiety. I try to show the behind-the-scenes of my entertainment career, in part because there were very few Asian public figures in the entertainment industry when I was growing up. I hope that my non-traditional career path inspires others to take a risk and pursue their passions.