Meet Soho Works workmate, Jessica Bendien
We spoke to Soho Works London member Jessica Bendien to hear about launching her first e-course and how she got where she has today
Local Soho Works: Shoreditch
How did you get where you are today?
‘I got into TV production in 2001 after seeing an ad in the newspaper, which led to being a runner on the second series of Big Brother. From there, I worked my way up as a freelancer, booking and casting celebrities for all the major networks.
‘In 2014, I decided to take the reins and start my own business, Bang Talent, a celebrity booking and talent casting agency, born out of a desire to shake up the business model I was working within. Despite the obvious responsibilities that come with running a business, I’m grateful for the freedom and independence that comes with it, too. It’s allowed me to explore my creativity, build deeper connections, be taken more seriously, and grow as a businesswoman.’
What challenges did you face this year and how did you overcome them?
‘Back at the start of the year we were in the midst of casting celebrities for a bunch of TV shows, which either had to be pushed back or put on hold, for obvious reasons.
‘Having always wanted to find a way to merge my work life with my passion for self-development, I finally put pen to paper this year to create an online programme, Finding Fame (for Good). It’s a course designed for experts, authors, coaches and entrepreneurs looking for more visibility for themselves and their businesses. This is something I’ve wanted to do for the past five years, but just haven’t had the time – it feels great to finally put it out there.’
What are you currently working on?
‘Filming has just finished on the first-ever Celebrity Best Home Cook for the BBC with Claudia Winkleman and Dame Mary Berry, which will be on your screens in January 2021. We also just booked the talent for our first Virtual Wellness Festival for Glamour magazine and ITV’s Don’t Rock The Boat, hosted by Freddie Flintoff and AJ Odudu, which was epic. I’m also leading the first group for Finding Fame (for Good), and loving it. I’m already excited for the next intake in January.’
It’s been a funny year – what’s inspiring you at the moment?
‘COVID-19 has hit the arts hard and it’s awful to think of the number of creative freelancers currently out of work. I’ve been so inspired by everyone’s strength and resilience, despite what’s going on and how many people have found new ways to adapt their old jobs. I’m obsessed with and inspired by nurturing talent in others, so I’ve loved working with a group of people in Finding Fame, all wanting to share their message and expertise with the world.’
Favourite quote/ words to live by?
‘At the moment, it’s ‘work hard, play hard’. With so much uncertainty, it’s even easier for me to fall into workaholic mode, so I’m trying to find the perfect work/ life balance.’
What are your three essentials for a productive day?
‘My laptop, multiple cups of green tea, and remembering to breathe. If they aren’t present, chances are nor am I. Oh, and a notebook. I’m obsessed with stationery and pretty old fashioned when it comes to writing things down.’
What do you do when you’re stuck for inspiration?
‘Go for a walk, swim, lots of yin yoga... or recruit some friends to brainstorm with. I have shelves of inspirational books, so I dig out one of those. And I try to travel as much as possible to clear my head and get out of work mode.’
Have you got any Sunday night rituals before starting a new week?
‘Does it even count as a Sunday if it doesn’t include a panic tidy up, a face mask, lots of life admin, and good food? I wouldn’t say I have any rituals as such, but chances are it begins with brunch with friends and ends with hanging out with my cats.’