BREAKING BOUNDARIES WITH JACKIE POTTER

by Emma Balfour

12 Dec 2022 |

Story Contributors

Jackie Potter @jackiepottah

Introducing Jackie Potter, the trailblazing talent that is taking the creative industry by storm whilst simultaneously founding JP Talent Recruiting Agency with hubs in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, London, and SF.

From her strict work ethic to her non-negotiable daily rituals, Jackie tells all to OffTheRails.

Jackie Potter, you’re a model, creative director, stylist, founder and the list goes on. How did you start out in the creative industry? 

To be honest, it was a complete and total accident. 

When I was a young girl I was immersed in the arts at a very young age. My parents gave us the opportunities to do whatever we wanted in terms of after-school activities and I was in acting, modeling, sewing, painting, violin, dance, and more. 

I was designing clothes from the second I could hold a pen, and I very vividly remember the hours I would spend in my room dancing around with my walkman blasting Brittany Spears and Avril Lavigne, imagining myself as my own superstar. 

Suddenly I came to a point in time where I no longer wanted to do anything in the creative space and stopped everything when I got to high school. I started heavily partying, and drinking, and when I got to college, experimented with drugs. I remember thinking that the arts weren’t the “cool” thing to do, and I would rather be with my sorority sisters and frat boys (along with being heavily immersed in the world of EDM).

I also did not think that having a career in the creative space was possible. I never had someone in my life that showed or told me that you could truly be and do anything that you set your mind to, but in the back of my mind, I always had these crazy dreams. 

My imagination runs wild, it always has, and now that everything has panned out the way it has, I can see that I have been manifesting this since the second I entered the earth. 

Three years ago, I remember being in the back of my friend’s car, we were all on our way to dinner pre-covid and I was still living in Chicago at the time. I said to one of my friends, “in my next lifetime, I am going to be a movie star, a singer, a performer.”

… I think of that moment now and how wrong that statement is! I think of that moment and can see how limiting my thoughts were because of the people and place I was surrounded by. Now, I know I can make anything I want happen during THIS lifetime. I do not need to wait for the next one, it’s all possible here and now. 

I moved to LA two years ago for the ocean and palm trees. There was something physically pulling me here and I woke up one morning, had just started my recruiting agency and lost my father suddenly to a massive heart attack, and I was growing so quickly on a personal and professional level. So much quicker than my surroundings and I needed to leave. 

So I bought a one-way flight, packed my things, found a sublease, and a roommate/place to live in LA, all in the span of two weeks (giving my Mom a massive panic attack LOL!), but she couldn’t see what I saw. 

I saw that everything was going to be okay, that my business was growing at a rapid rate and I could work from anywhere. 

After being in LA for a year, I decided I wanted to start being creative once more, I stopped caring what others had to think of me, and began to truly lean into what was right for me.

I stopped going out, went sober, focused on myself, and started putting together photoshoots on the weekends. 

For a year, I invested all of my own money into my work, and I had no idea where I was going with it. 

I tried reaching out to brands and everyone just wanted to collab, and now, fast forward a year later, I am a paid model and have a production company on top of everything else. I work with all types of brands to pull together mid to large-sized productions coming up with everything from the creative direction to the shape of my eyebrow and the color and style of my wig. Pulling in other models when necessary as well as casting the entire team from Videographer to stylist based on the brand’s needs. 

It’s crazy because every time I get on the phone with a new client, either a brand owner or a magazine, and run through concepts with them, they always say to me that’s exactly what I have been wanting to do! It’s just all in perfect alignment. 

I think the key takeaway for anyone reading this wanting to get into the creative industry, is to trust your intuition. Take leaps of faith and do NOT have a plan B. It’s only plan A. Trust yourself, you do not need to have an exact plan when you start, but everything will begin to fall into place as you focus and work your a$$ off. <3

 

What is JP Talent Recruiting Agency?

JP Talent is a global Recruit Agency based in Los Angeles. Our primary hubs are Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, London, and SF. We work with top companies within the realm of AdTech, Digital, Media, and Fashion, alongside the top performing Sales, Creative, Digital, and Executives level candidates within those industries. 

We help our clients build out their teams with the highest performers, and our candidates reach their goals in the next steps of their careers. All placements are primarily full-time hires with yearly salaries. 

I started my career within one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, working cross-functionally amongst different creative, digital, and social teams, which initially tapped me into the media candidate pool without realizing it at the time. 

I have continued to grow these valuable connections and bring on hundreds of new candidates a month. 

As a business owner, I understand the importance of making the right hires, and we do not work with any candidates that I would not personally hire for my own team. That’s how incredible our candidates are, and this is why we have such strong relationships and long-term partnerships with our clients.

We work with some of the largest, most well-known companies in the world, along with the most powerful up-and-coming startups. It is an absolute dream come true, and so much bigger than myself because as my clients allow me to take steps closer to fulfilling my dreams, I provide a service that allows them to move closer to theirs. 

We work in complete partnership towards our greater long-term goals, and it is something so fulfilling that I could never possibly put it into words. 

What do you find to be the biggest challenge you face being a female founder in 2022?

I really define myself as a founder. I think there are so many categories these days splitting us up amongst gender, race, and more, when at the end of the day – we are all just people. We do not need to be so separated, we are amazing human beings with our own goals and aspirations. 

BUT, my biggest challenge as a founder in 2022, has also been the greatest learning period and transpired into my greatest strengths, which has been shedding my old fee structure away and stepping into my new fee structure, along with starting to build out my team and become a true leader. 

I knew I needed to change my fee model, and ignored my intuition as I honestly just was not ready yet. I finally took the leap of faith to do so, shed away a few clients that were not ready to grow with me, which then created space for new and incredible clients that are at this new level that I am in. 

It was definitely very scary, but I am so proud of myself for trusting my gut and doing what I needed to do to scale and grow. 

On the other hand, it’s been officially bringing individuals onto my team to work for me, which is another level of incredible, but also a huge challenge. 

It’s me learning how to be patient, and understanding that everyone is not going to know everything, and there will be plenty of mistakes along the way, but mistakes are there for the individuals on my team to learn and grow into better versions of themselves, which makes them a stronger individual on my team. 

My sister works for me now as well, which comes with another set of challenges, however, she has really called me out and grounded me when necessary, which has only pushed me into a better me. 

We have come a long way, and just went through a difficult/frustrating time, but were able to band together and look for ways we could improve certain processes, which we uncovered, and now we (along with my business), are stronger than ever. 

So I am VERY grateful for my challenges this year as a founder. They have pushed me into the strongest version of myself, which in turn has pushed my business to new heights. 

JP Talent is my everything, my baby. JP Talent provides companies with access to top-tier candidates to help them build out their teams and alongside one another, we grow together. 

It’s bigger than me, and I could not be more in love with what I do, and proud of how far I have come this year (tears are in my eyes writing this…). 

I am forever grateful.

You are constantly creating and sharing your new creative projects, what keeps you motivated and how do you fit it in with running your own company?

To be fully transparent, all I do is work, & that’s how I fit it all in.

I am honestly insane (LOL) and do nothing else aside from work, workout, eat clean, and fulfill my spiritual practices including yoga, sound healing, journaling, meditation, and reiki. 

I completely changed my life and now move with very strict discipline which allows me to have the strength to work as much as I do.

My social interactions with anyone aside from people in my business circle are few and far between as I channel most of my energy into my recruiting agency and creative projects.

I spent so many years having hundreds of friends, and those years were the most miserable years of my life as I spent all of my time pleasing everyone else and never had the power to say no. 

I now say no to almost everything and do not feel bad doing so. I have very minimal close friends in my life and my inner circle is full of fellow entrepreneurs, so we all have a firm understanding that we are busy and come together when the timing allows.

I am also very careful of what foods I put into my body and am completely sober. I do not drink any caffeine either and have more energy than the energizer bunny as I have removed any dependency on anything. 

I drink water, eat primarily plant-based/vegan, and my focus and drive are on a different level.

There are so many horrible things including processed foods that people put into their bodies daily and they wonder why they do not have the motivation to get out of bed in the morning…

It took me years to get to this space, but once you are here and see the results and power this way of living does for you mentally and physically, there is no going back. 

Something that is helpful too, is not to think of this as a diet or a cleanse, and that’s not just with food it’s with people too, but thinking of this as a way of living (as I stated above). That’s what allows you to keep on this clear path of discipline. 

How has the recent increased social media censorship impacted your work?

Honestly, I am very lucky to have such a strong following who share, shave, and repost my work, so I am always continuing to grow and continuing to be seen. 

However, I have had posts removed, and am not able to post everything I would like to. 

It’s the same on TikTok, I was really heavily growing on TikTok and my account was banned, but I just brought on a TikTok strategist to help formulate my work from my projects in a way that remains within the confines of the rules, which is not always fun as I wish I could post anything and everything, but we still can make do. 

At the end of the day, I don’t think too much about things as I am still able to post the majority of what I do and create and for that, I am forever grateful.

To even have a platform where I am able to share my work and be seen is such a blessing, so if I need to navigate and make changes that’s no stress in my world.

Are there other creatives that inspire your projects?

These days I am honestly most inspired by makeup and hair. I think really narrowing in on the right hair and makeup just elevates any concept to new heights. 

I am really inspired by a lot of the creatives in the London/UK area, one of which is Ana Takahashi. Their work is incredible and I love the edge.

When it comes to the overall creative direction I really try to stay away from pulling too much inspiration from others and really hone in on my life and experiences. Even just going outside and being present gives me so much inspiration.

I have a really epic concept coming out soon with a client of mine Soul Sniper, it’s a clothing brand based here in LA, and I came up with the idea because I was back at my moms in Chicago where I am from, sitting in my little sister’s room and saw a giant bear.

I had been wanting to do a concept at the Venice Beach skate park at night and once I saw the giant bear too… Well, you’ll just have to wait and see where this all landed as I cannot give too much away. But I am excited for that to be released. 

One of my videographers/photographers who have been on tour for a long time happened to be in town when we were shooting and she grabbed me and said “who came up with this? This is insane. I have never seen this before…” & I smiled at her and said, “who do you think… ;)”

So all in all, I think it’s great to have people that inspire you and pull bits and pieces every now and again, but when it comes to an overall concept allow your mind to run wild as that is when you can truly create concepts that have never been done before.

I have seen here and there that everything has been already done at one point or another, which is so far from the truth.

Anyone that says or thinks that spends way too much time on Pinterest, and not enough time immersing themselves into the world away from digital. 

I go for three runs a day because I have so much energy, and that is when I receive some of the craziest downloads and creative concepts/ideas straight from the universe. 

So don’t forget to step away from it all, and remind yourself who you really are and what is true to you.

You speak a lot on your social channels about self-reflection and self-discovery. What helps to keep you grounded?

I am very strict with my morning routine and daily spiritual practice, along with my social interactions AND very careful with who I keep close to me in my life. Which all allow me to remain very grounded. 

I do reiki every week, and sound healing most weeks, along with waking up between 4 – 5 am every day of the week and journaling, meditating, and taking an ice-cold shower every day. I also do yoga almost every day along with restorative reiki classes which are much slower poses in a dark room. 

I live a 4-minute walk from my yoga studio here in Venice, and I have never experienced a more incredible place. They have some of the best yoga instructors in the world, and also have reiki and sound healing classes all included in your monthly membership. It’s my second home, they are a family to me and I have grown so close with so many of the workers and they adore me just as much as I adore them. 

Alongside my spiritual practices, I have had to let go of a lot of relationships from my life to create grounding. Two years ago when I first moved to LA, I moved through my first spiritual awakenings and removed almost everyone from my life up until that point as I realized so many of my friendships were not growing with me. 

This was a very scary time for me, full of anxiety, but I knew that I was doing what was best for me, and it has allowed me to elevate in ways that solely used to exist in my dreams. 

It’s so important to grow, and growing means shedding away people from your life that no longer serve you, which is a very scary thing to a lot of people, and honestly a prominent reason why some people reach higher levels than others. 

Not everyone wants to go through periods of discomfort, but if you cannot ride the discomfort, you will not grow and become the person you want to be. 

Do you think that living in LA impacts the work that you create?

Absolutely. I didn’t even know I had the ability and power to create the work that I do until I moved to LA. LA changed my life. In ways that I didn’t even know existed. 

It makes me sad when I see people speaking negatively about Los Angeles, who have clearly fallen into the wrong crowd here, as I have had the most amazing experiences and met the most incredible people here in LA. 

I was definitely in the wrong crowd in Chicago and was very limited with where I could go there because of who I was surrounding myself with. 

So it really comes down to the people and place you are surrounded by. I did not move to LA until I was finished drinking and partying, which was not the plan, it just all happened that way. Being away from the nightlife and surrounded by individuals who I have met organically has created a different world for me. 

Every day, when I walk outside for my morning run, and round the corner to the Venice boardwalk, one of the most iconic places in the world…and see the palm trees, ocean, and greenery… along with the beautiful mountains of Malibu just on the horizon, I scream. 

I scream in gratitude for this life. This life that I have created for myself. The great beauty that surrounds me, and it never gets old. Two years later and it honestly just gets more and more beautiful. 

Being so immersed in nature and good weather all the time has transformed me mentally and allows so much freedom for inspiration. 

As I am able to go outside and be immersed in a beautiful day every day of the year, instead of being trapped in a high-rise apartment in darkness, rain, cold, snow, and wind for the majority of the year as I was in Chicago…

My whole life has changed.

You have no idea how much the people and places you are surrounded by impact you until you get the hell away. 

If you feel your mindset is not in the space that you can do and achieve anything you want out of this life, take a step back and see who you are surrounding yourself with. 

What is next for Jackie Potter?

Oh wow. You have NO idea… You literally just have no idea. 

I am going to do and achieve everything. Every last thing. & that means there is so much in the works and on the horizon. 

But I am pretty superstitious when it comes to that and never like to share too much until everything is said and done, so you will just have to wait and see and follow along for the craziest journey of all time. 

There are definitely a lot of ways that I want to give back, and huge dreams of mine that involve giving back to others struggling with mental health, and that will be coming as well.

But again, you’ll just have to follow along this journey with me to see. 

XOXO

At OffTheRails we celebrate being unapologetically yourself and breaking the rules. Something we always ask is what is the most OffTheRails thing that you have done?

I could tell you a million and one of the most insane stories from my past, but above all else, I think the most powerful and rule-breaking thing that I have done is here and now, and that is fully being every inch of who I am, without a care in the world of what others think about me. 

I have learned that in this world full of judgment and hate, you will without a doubt end up being the “villain” in someone else’s story… But if being the “villain” to someone else means doing what’s best for you and standing strong in your beliefs and what is truly right for you…then so be it. 

Instead of worrying so much about what others’ beliefs and opinions are of myself, most of which involve individuals that will never even have the opportunity of meeting me, I focus and channel any negative energy into power and strength to propel me even closer to my dreams and anyone can do the same. 

I always remember that those that talk negatively of others are miserable in their own skin, and misery loves company. 

There is nothing more powerful than learning to stand strong on your own, fall in love with who you are, and work on becoming better.

This allows everything else, to become just noise.