AMERICAN SPARKLER: JESSICA SIERRA – THE INTERVIEW
Last year, Simon Cowell looked Jessica Sierra dead in the eye and told her that she was “unlikable.”
Simon must’ve met a different person than the girl I met. Jessica Sierra, if she is nothing else, is entirely likable. Never in your life will you meet a more outgoing, vocal, and fun girl than Miss Sierra. She’s definitely a burst of energy, as she proved at the Reality TV convention, randomly jumping on top of the table, striking poses, and occasionally getting into lightsaber fights with Big Brother 6’s Howie Gordon.
Jessica is also a woman on a mission. She has her eyes dead set on your radio, and she is going to pour every last ounce of energy into making sure you hear her there. Along the way, she has picked up several side missions, including speaking out against stalking crimes, and she handles herself like a trooper. She’s mature beyond her 20 years, yet she still has enough of a kid inside her to be the life of any party. No one is a stranger. She jumps at the chance to speak to her fans, give them big hugs, and autograph anything you'll let her write on.
Jessica has a lot to tell the world, and she will let you know what she needs to say. She will not let it bother her if she thinks you don’t like her. She is going to express what she wants to put out there. But it helps that I like Jessica an awful lot and have enjoyed getting to know her. Interviewing with her was a pure pleasure, and here’s what she had to say:
J.D.: Can you tell me one of your most interesting Idol stories?
Jessica: My most interesting Idol story…Hmm… Wow. There’s a lot of them. I think that would have to be when… Wow! When we first got to the Top 12, and you get onstage with all these contestants that you’re basically going to be running with for the next, what, 12 weeks? And you’re on this huge stage. Ok, it’s not really interesting, but it’s my most memorable moment.
J.D.: How did you feel when you were eliminated?
Jessica: You know what, I was upset, because, y’know, it was all I had known. It was all the life I had lived for the past six months, through the audition process and even being on TV with the top 12 and top 24, y’know, that was my life! And you leave everything behind at home. You leave your job. You leave everything. You devote your life to the TV show, so when you get voted off you kinda think, well, what am I gonna do now? You’ve got all this publicity. It’s just now you’ve got to take a step and actually work with it and try to find people to represent you and stuff like that.
J.D.: Did you know what you were getting into when you auditioned for Idol?
Jessica: No. I mean, you watch it, and you see what’s on the TV, but you don’t get the backstage stuff. You don’t know what’s going on or everything that’s going on backstage, behind the scenes. And so, it’s definitely nothing I expected it to be!
J.D.: When I was sitting in on the panel discussion, you all three seemed to be pretty friendly. But you’re saying we don’t get the whole picture? Is it the case that the contestants’ personalities don’t get shown properly?
Jessica: It is. You don’t get to see their personalities, really. You don’t get to become one-on-one with the contestants and get to know them. That’s why I think, like I said, the voting process should absolutely be to vote your least favorite off the show. Because you don’t really get to know them, and you may have two, three, or four favorites or even some people that you’re like maybe I could like them, y’know they have a great voice and I’d like to get to know them more, but you don’t know them well enough to vote for them.
J.D.: So you think that good singers would last longer with the process you describe?
Jessica: OH yeah. Yes.
J.D.: Who do you think should’ve won this year?
Jessica: Oh, Chris should’ve won this year.
J.D.: You sounded [in the panel discussion] like you have pretty strong opinions about 19 Entertainment [American Idol’s parent company]. Is there anything you’d like to go into?
Jessica: 19 Management, y’know, it’s a management company. Um, so… Am I strongly opinionated about them? Yes. They gave us great opportunities and stuff, but I’m glad they’re cut off now that I’m not in the competition. They didn’t decide to sign me, and I had to move on and work with my management, Verge management, who has been amazing. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to work for 19 Management, there’s just nothing I would personally want to do with them.
J.D.: When will your album be coming out?
Jessica: Well, hopefully my album will be released. We’re trying by the end of this year. I’ve been writing with Joy Vassar, Phil Vassar’s wife. And my producer, Nick Brophy, who helped produce the Rolling Stones, Avril Lavigne and Hootie & the Blowfish, he’s amazing. He produced my album. We just finished our sixth song, and now it’s just time to showcase for record labels, so hopefully somebody will pick me up, and we can finish up the album. And if not, we’re gonna do it ourselves and release the album by the end of this year.
J.D.: What kind of sound are you going for?
Jessica: I’m going for a pop sound on the album. It’s kind of a Jewel sound, but a little more upbeat, a little more 2000, and you know, radio mixed and stuff like that. Very radio savvy.
J.D.: If you’re able to comment on this, what are your thoughts on your recent stalker situation?
Jessica: My stalker situation is going well. I mean, he’s in a mental facility now. They’re getting ready to release him, but uh… They’re getting ready to release him back to California. I have a restraining order on him. And I know that he’s stated that he’s suing me (rolls eyes) because he lost his house and all that. But I mean, y’know what, it happens, especially when you’re in the public eye. And it happens to people who are not in the public eye. You just hear about it more. And y’know, actually, now, I have taken a stance on it, and I am now the spokesperson for the Department of Justice, for the Stalking Resource Center. I’m helping people to put a face to the crime so they can come forward with it.
J.D.: Was having a stalker something that you’d ever have expected?
Jessica: I mean, you always consider certain facts if you’re going to do something like this, but you don’t really ever think it’s going to happen to you. I mean what are the odds of somebody getting a stalker? When it happened, I was like wow! At first I didn’t even really know how to say it, it was just “oh God, there’s this man who won’t leave me alone!” And then he showed up at my grandparents’ house. He’d call me six or seven times a day. He would send me gifts he had bought me. He would get really angry when I wouldn’t answer my phone and stuff. And then once he showed up and got arrested, they were like “stalking,” then it kind of clicked for me. So, with me speaking out about it now, hopefully it won’t get that far with other people, and they’ll be like able to recognize it and stop it now.
J.D.: So, are you happy you did the show?
Jessica: I’m very happy I did this show. I wouldn’t change it for the world. It opened so many doors for me, and it has made me who I am now. It’s opened doors for me to record now. It’s a great show. I don’t have mixed emotions about it. I wouldn’t change anything.
J.D.: How do you deal with the haters? And I mean both people who hate you personally and those who hate reality TV in general.
Jessica: You’re gonna get those people. You’re gonna get the people that are just like “oh, it’s reality TV, blah.” And you can’t do anything really to change their mind. You’re gonna continue to be you. And if they like me, that’s great, and if not oh well! Get over it and move on. I mean, as long as they’re not doing anything threatening toward you or anything, fine! If you don’t like me, I’m sorry!
J.D.: What are your thoughts about reality TV or maybe doing another show?
Jessica: Reality TV has been great to me. I would do it again, and I would do other reality TV shows for fun. I mean, if I’m having fun, and I’m living my life, then I’m not hurting anybody. If you don’t like me, I’m sorry! That’s a part of life.
J.D.: Well, personally, I like you Jessica.
Jessica: (smiling) And thank you so much for your support!
J.D.: What other reality shows do you like?
Jessica: I’m a big fan of Real World Road Rules, Fear Factor, and oh…what is the name of that show…where they sit around the table and there’s this certain amount of money…?
Jessica: Unanimous! What a great show! What a great show. Let me see, what else…um…I don’t have cable, so… I’m getting ready to get it, but I catch them whenever I can. Um, but that’s about it.
J.D.: There’s going to be a “reality stars” version of Fear Factor coming up. Would you ever be on it?
Jessica: Really? Yeah, I’m a fan of Fear Factor, but I won’t go on it. I’m not eating any random, absurd objects that are, like, body parts from dead animals. That’s just not gonna happen. Not gonna happen. I don’t mind jumping out of planes and stuff, but once it comes to the dead animals and stuff, ewww.
J.D.: What message would you like to send to your fans at this point?
Jessica: Basically, I want to send a message saying don’t give up. Continue to try. I know that growing up was really hard for me. No matter what kind of life you have…y’know… My mother was a drug addict, and she wasn’t in my life. And my father wasn’t really there. I have had, y’know, NOT the best life, and I still decided to continue on and wanted to do better and didn’t want to be like any of my family. I wanted to finish school. And I was working. I just think that any kid, if you have a dream, you should go for it. Go for it. Don’t let anything stop you.
J.D.: Are you going to sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” for me tonight?
Jessica: I am! Scott and I are singing it tonight. Absolutely. I hope you’re going to be there!
There was no way in the world that I was not going to be there. I never regretted it for a second. Jessica was electrifying in concert. But that’s another story for another day!
So after a big hug, I bid a fond farewell to Miss Sierra, and now you guys can have the chance to catch up with her! Make sure to drop by her message board at www.jessicasierra.com and cruise by her Myspace while you’re at it.
Oh, and if you’re still unsure if Jessica has what it takes to make it, check out her new single and video ”Unbroken”. It’s HOT.
And in case you’ve forgotten what she was like on Idol, check out her Idol clips here.
Keep checking back for even more Idol interviews and happenings at the Reality TV Convention. I'm not even close to done yet!
P.S.: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram piggy-backed on this interview with me, so if you're in Texas, you may just see this somewhere else!
Oh, and Jessica just might be reading this, so y’all leave her lots of nice comments!
photos courtesy of the Nashville Tennessean, Jessica Sierra, and me myself and I