Student Spotlight: Jacqueline Davis
Jacqueline Davis wanted to become an actress after watching the 1997 film “Titanic,” which she has seen more than 100 times.
Her first opportunity to perform happened on stage at the age of 7.
“I played a lost boy in ‘Peter Pan’ at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora,” she said. “I remember loving the adrenaline rush of being on stage. It was something I could never get over and I still haven’t gotten over it. It makes me feel like I am on top of the world. It’s indescribable.”
Davis initially attended the University of Iowa but dropped out due to financial troubles and other issues.
“I was going through a really hard time in my life,” she said. “I was living in Iowa City, had just dropped out and was working 120 hour weeks at a bar called the Summit, a job that took the life out of me. I realized that my dreams of being the best actress I can be wasn’t going to be achieved there.”
After returning home, she enrolled at College of DuPage and immersed herself in the Theater program while training at the Acting Studio Chicago under Kurt Naebig, Doug McDade, Janelle Snow, and Adrianne Cury.
While at COD, she received the John Belushi Second City Memorial Scholarship, a $7,500 award that paid for her entire second year at COD. She no longer had to work three jobs and instead slept more, spent more time on homework and engaged in self-reflection.
“I was given many opportunities because of this scholarship,” she said. “I learned every single aspect that there is to theater, from stage to technical aspects. I stage managed ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ which was one of the biggest responsibilities when it comes to running a show. I had to manage an entire cast, write down all of the blocking, attend weekly production meetings, and call lights and sound for the run of the production. It is something I will take with me forever. Honestly, I wouldn’t be as knowledgeable as I am today if it wasn’t for COD, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Kimberly Morris, Jon Gantt, Michael Moon, and my amazing mentors Amelia Barrett and Connie Canaday Howard.”
Davis currently is attending Loyola University Chicago majoring in Theater and minoring in Marketing and Shakespeare Studies. She is a founding member of a sorority called Kappa Delta that empowers women and young girls through its confidence coalition. She also is auditioning around Chicago for film and theater.
Her ultimate goal is to become the best actress she can possibly be. She cites as favorites Kate Winslet, Emma Stone and Nicole Kidman for female actors and Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Williams and Jim Carrey for male actors.
“For my favorite ladies, they can take any role and make into something so beautiful. They completely transform into who they are portraying and they don’t back down. It’s really inspiring to watch them,” she said. “I take a lot of my acting ideas for film from some of their movies and TV shows. Nicole Kidman in ‘Lion’ and ‘Big Little Lies’ shows her dynamic as an actress. Emma Stone in every single movie she has been in has created such different characters that if you watch all of her movies in a marathon, you will be blown away. Kate Winslet, ‘Titanic’ – enough said. For the male actors, I have grown an appreciation for them and who they are as people as well as actors. Leo has just always amazed me and his attention to detail blows me away. Jim Carrey is extremely underrated. He doesn’t fear making a fool of himself and that is something so important for an actor on stage and in film to be confident in themselves. Robin Williams – I wish he was still around. He was my favorite actor growing up as a kid and it was my dream to have him or Tom Hanks play my dad in a movie.
“I want to never stop training. I think that’s what draws me to it so much because there’s always something new to learn and experience as an actress. I want to be a role model for others who dream big – that putting in the hard work does pay off. I don’t aspire to become famous because if you think that way, you will be blinded to the truth of being an actress. If it leads to that, great, If not, I’m happy doing what I love.”
Davis also hopes to start her own scholarship at College of DuPage and give back to fellow aspiring actors. She is happy that she attended COD, a place that provided her with numerous opportunities.
“College of DuPage allowed me to discover myself as an individual, and I managed to leave with a 3.84 GPA,” she said. “Career-wise, I have become a much better actress thanks to Connie Canaday Howard and Amelia Barrett. They believe in my abilities and still support me today. They are two of the best influences in my life and I am so honored to have them in my corner.
“My advice to other students is to give the Theater program everything you’ve got. This is a program that you will not get at any other institution. College of DuPage makes so many things possible for students. The staff loves their students and they go above and beyond to make sure they succeed. Gaining an education at COD before going to a four-year institution will set you up to be a more successful student and lead you down a clearer path.”
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