Saturday, 19 August 2017

5 THINGS I’VE LEARNED: Multifaceted star Neisha-Yen Jones on dreaming big, self-discovery and telling the truth

AS I AM: "I love knowing more and having something to give back," the 30-someething phenom tells us.

DIVERSIFYING the résumé is the name of the game for Neisha-Yen Jones. She’s won acclaim on Broadway and in London’s West End, starring in shows like The Lion King and The Harder They Come. She’s lectured at the Edna Manley College’s School of Dance (she returns as a part-time instructor August 28). And local TV audiences have been getting to know her as a co-host of Daytime Live, a weekday gabfest on TV-J. This summer (while teaching musical theatre classes for Avant Academy), Jones is appearing in her first commercial production on the Jamaican stage, nabbing the female lead in David Tulloch’s explosive hit White Skin, Black Heart. Here, Miss Jones takes a moment to reflect on her journey: 

The Art of Performance 
“The best performance comes when it’s the truth; when it’s honest work you’re presenting. The purpose of art is to tell the stories of life, and so you have a responsibility to be honest.” 

“Women should always dream big. You should know that no pain lasts forever, no happiness lasts forever. You’re not as fat today as you thought (Laughs). You’re not as insecure as you feel and, as women, we’re more powerful than we know.” Success “It can only be measured by you. Don’t let anyone define your success for you. They have no right to put you in a box. I remember when I got to play Nala in The Lion King, and when it was over I was feeling empty because I was letting other people decide what that accomplishment meant. Now I see that the greatest success comes by just excelling in life and doing things I never thought I would do.” 

Being True to Yourself 
“I think that’s the most important thing. I think people too quickly get comfortable with where they are and what they’ve done. You have to keep searching deep within, take life in stages and don’t allow others to define you. I never knew I would be hosting a TV show or starring in a play, so you have to keep redefining you and do what you know makes you happy.” 

“It’s surprisingly wonderful (Laughs). I love my body more. I love knowing more and having something to give back like this musical theatre class I am teaching and choosing who I get to share that with. Now I know what I love. I know myself more.” 

> MORE NEISHA: Read our August 2016 piece on the stage star-turned-TV hostess

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