TNF: Tell us more about your relationship with Mark’s mom Fran?
Jess: I feel so lucky to have Fran in my life. She is such a strong, badass woman and she grew up in a time where people weren’t as accepting as they are today. I really admire her tenacity, athleticism and drive to take the road less traveled. She understands me on a deep level and she keeps me connected to Mark.
TNF: Are there any parts of the film you can’t watch?
Jess: There were for sure at first but it’s gotten easier with time. If I’m doing a premiere I will usually leave during certain parts.
TNF: In the film you say that you aspired to be the person you needed when you were younger. Do you feel like you’ve accomplished that?
Jess: Yes absolutely. Through the Uninvited films of course, but mostly through things that have gone on behind the scenes. Standing up for the right thing even when it’s harmful to my own career. Standing up for those who don’t have a voice yet. I always operate in the context of, “What do I wish someone would have done for me in this situation?” I’m not trying to be somehero or anything. I just always feel like it’s most important to do the right thing, even when no one is watching. That’s when it counts.
TNF: Emotions are complex. What is one unexpected emotion you’ve felt in this journey?
Jess: Probably shame, guilt, fear, insecurity. I never dreamed it would have this kind of success. It was just something I wanted to do to help other people going through similar struggles. I never thought it would get to this level and I never intended it to be a film about my life or career. I’ve felt fear that I’ve somehow commodified or objectified something so personal, and insecurity that my words or intentions will be taken the wrong way. I’ve felt guilty that it draws attention to my achievements outside of my relationship withMark. And the fact that it’s up for awards and stuff, of course I’m grateful, but there’s a part of me that feels weird accepting those. But in my deepest heart, I know why I did it, Fran knows, and most importantly Mark knows. Hearing other people’s stories is what helped me get through my darkest times. If this film can do this for one other person, it was worth it.
TNF: Through pain, we find another version of ourselves. Who are you now?
Jess: Someone who can’t wait to go surfing again!