Today we’re joined by Jen Barry. Jen is a phenomenal performance artist who does a bit of everything: singing, dancing, and acting. It is quite obvious that the stage is where her passion lies and from her interview, it definitely shows. Jen is an enthusiastic artist who loves to perform. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
The best way I think I can describe my art is “Show Choir” and Theatre”. The rest of my descriptors (singing, dancing and acting) fall under those two. I love being able to play a character and portray stories and emotion that I usually don’t get to feel in my every day life. It’s also a good outlet for negative emotion, such as when your character gets to fight with another, you can pretend that person is whoever you hate! Probably not the best outlet but hey whatever. Also, it’s a way for me to express my physical sexuality, but more on that later
What inspires you?
Broadway actors. I aspire to be as great as them and whenever I see a show, professional, at a competition (for show choir), or just at a high school, I immediately get this little kick of “hey, this gives me a huge adrenaline rush, they look like they’re living the best life they can and enjoying so much, this is what I want.”
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I would say I pretty much always have been interested in performance. My preschool teacher Miss Ellen gave me the jumpstart that I needed when she cast me as a lead in our preschool musical and would constantly have karaoke days.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
I love winking whenever appropriate. Whether it’s just visible to a fellow performer or to someone in the audience, I will find a place. Examples being when walking off stage, when bowing, or more specifically, my boyfriend came to see me at a show choir competition, and one song was its raining men, so when I did a spin, I winked going into it.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Never give up. Find what inspires you, find what you love, find places to do what you love, and keep pushing, practicing, just keep having fun. It makes life so much better.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Autochorissexual, so I am attracted to the idea of sexual activities, but don’t want to engage personally. I describe it as I’m attracted to everyone but myself.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I have, just with friends or acquaintances, I just try to keep a level head, and set the record straight (haha straight as if) while cracking as many jokes and making as many puns as possible.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That we can’t have healthy relationships, that we can’t love someone, that we can’t eventually have a sexual relationship with and for the benefit of our partner(s). I have a boyfriend, and I do things with him because I know he has those wants and needs. We just make sure to be completely honest in our communication such as when I am not willing to do something.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Research, research, research. Not only your personally identity, but other identities and spectrums as well as finding communities where you can connect with similar people. Find your school’s/community’s GSA if that’s a safe option. Just find as many people to connect with as you can, and you will feel happier (and in my case less broken).
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
YouTube I guess? I like posting behind the scenes vlogs, and I will usually link to videos of my performances if they’re floating around YouTube. Sometimes I’ll put clips online of rehearsals and things, and I post the occasional cover as well.
Thank you, Jen, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.