Meet Olivia Jellen, the talented actress taking on the role of young Angelyne (portrayed by Emmy Rossum) in Peacock’s highly anticipated series “ANGELYNE.” This limited series delves into fame, identity, survival, and the captivating world of Angelyne, the enigmatic queen of billboards, Corvettes, lingerie, and West Hollywood. Through a mesmerizing mix of crystals, UFOs, and pink, glow-in-the-dark allure, Olivia Jellen embodies the essence of the self-proclaimed Rorschach test, offering a glimpse into the intriguing journey of this iconic and mysterious personality.
Can you tell us about your experience playing young Angelyne in the eponymous series?
Playing young Angelyne in the limited series Angelyne on Peacock was a lifetime memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. We started filming in February 2020 but then in March production had to shut down because of the pandemic. I was worried the show might not come back to finish filming but when we got the call that we are going back on October 2021 I was so relieved and excited. I missed seeing all the cast and crew members. The best part about playing this role was transforming into the character. I would come to set in the morning as myself and then completely physically transform into young Angelyne. First was changing my hair – The hair team made a special red hair wig for me. Then I went to an optometrist to get fitted with the blue eyes contact lenses. The wardrobe team sewed custom made outfits for me. I really liked the older style clothes I was wearing on the show. I also filmed in some exciting locations like the original offices of the Hollywood Reporter before they moved location and the printing factory when the famous billboards were printed but my favorite one was the Queen Mary.
What drew you to the role of Angelyne, and how did you prepare for the character?
The first thing that drew me to this role was that my lines were in Hebrew because I know how to speak Hebrew. I then found out that Angelyne immigrated to Israel and lived in a town called Haifa where my mom was born and I go there once a year to visit my grandparents and my mom’s side of the family because they still live there. Angelyne’s parents survived the holocaust and my grandfather’s side of the family escaped the concentration camp in Eastern Europe and immigrated to Israel just like Angelyne’s family did. To prepare for the role I researched a lot online to find out more about who Angelyne was and I tried to find as many details and pictures as I could so I can understand her. I also read the full script before I memorize my lines to help me get into character.
The show explores themes of fame and identity. What was it like exploring these themes through the character of Angelyne?
It was very interesting to play someone that is so complex and mysterious because I felt I wanted to find out more and more details about her past. I wanted to know more about what led her to become this big personality that she is today and why she made such a drastic change in her appearance just to be famous. I truly am passionate about the art of acting and did not start acting just to become famous so that is something that I would not personally do and I will not permanently change my appearance just to be famous. Angelyne actually came up with a brilliant idea of putting herself on billboards all over Los Angeles to become famous. She was so innovative to come up with this idea even before there were any social media outlets or any way like you have nowadays that you can go viral. She became famous but did not have a specific talent that she worked on to make her famous. I want to succeed because of my hard work and talent and becoming famous will be a bonus but not my goal.
You’ve also worked on other projects, including “The Gilmore Girls” and “Better Things.” What has been your favorite project to work on so far, and why?
My first acting job was on the Gilmore Girls – A Year in the Life and I was so excited because it was and still is my favorite tv show. Filming with Lauren Graham and Yanic Truesdale was the best way to start my acting journey. I also had a recurring role on a tv show called Better Things and got the opportunity to work with the talented director Pamela Adlon. I was so grateful to learn from such an incredible producer, actor and director. My first commercial was a Disney Dream Big Princess when I was 5 years old where I was talking about myself, my dreams, my aspirations, my family, friends and what I wish for the world to be like. It was definitely my favorite commercial I have done.
Can you walk us through your process of getting into character for a role, and how do you approach character development?
When I get the script I start the character analysis and try to gather as much information as I can about that person especially if it based on a real life story. I will then read my lines and read all the other lines that are said to me or about me because that will give me a better understanding of the character’s relationship with others. I also imagine what I’ll be wearing and what period in time this story takes place. And then I start learning my lines.
As a young actor, what challenges have you faced in the industry, and how have you overcome them?
I had so many auditions and I memorized so many scripts before I booked my first job. It is a lot of hard work, focus, dedication and time consuming but if you truly like it then it’s all worth it. To me it feels like second nature and not work. The feeling when you book a job makes it all worthwhile. I would also tell young actors to have other interests and hobbies like I do. I play volleyball on a competitive traveling team, I play competitive lacrosse, I dance and surf and I always make time to hung out with my friends and just be a normal kid. If you have a good balance you won’t feel like you are sacrificing your childhood to be an actor and you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything.
What advice would you give to other young actors who are just starting out in the industry?
The advice that I would give young actors would be to never give up on your dreams even when it gets difficult and you don’t book a job fast. I had a lot of auditions and I had to learn so many scripts, drive with my mom to many auditions and be in traffic for hours before I booked my first job. It is a lot of hard work and is definitely time consuming but if you are really passionate about it then it’s all worth it. Keep believing in yourself and always give it your best effort. But most importantly is to always stay true to yourself and do what makes YOU happy!!
What upcoming projects do you have in the works that your fans can look forward to?
I am in the process of working on some great projects but nothing I can discuss yet so stay tuned. You can follow me on Instagram @OliviaJellen to find out the most recent updates.
Finally, what’s something about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?
I love animals so much and hope that one day I can have animal shelters all over the country. I had 2 ducks, 2 hamsters, a chinchilla, 3 dogs and 1 cat. I will rescue any animal that is in need. I wish that people all over the world would have more compassion towards animals. My goal is to spread the awareness and inspire more people all over the world to love animals as much as I do and to help rescue animals.