“Embrace your own evolution. A passion that was rooted in dance led me to acting, which opened doors to new opportunities and business. It’s truly unbelievable to see all the things a ballet dream-chaser from Houston has been able to experience.”
I had the pleasure to interview Jaclyn Smith. Jaclyn is an award-winning actress, designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist who is best known for her role as Kelly Garrett on the popular 70’s TV show, Charlie’s Angels. As one of the first to pioneer celebrity lines, Jaclyn has become one of the most-recognized brands in the country during her last 30+ years with Kmart and has since expanded her empire to include outdoor living, home furnishings, and now layettes.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for joining us Jaclyn. So what is your “backstory”?
Jaclyn: I am a born and raised proud Texas gal. Growing up in Houston, home was always a happy refuge for me and the values my parents instilled in me, although I may not have known it at the time, would help me define myself later in life. Family was and continues to be the foundation for all my happiness and success.
From my earliest memories, I always dreamed of becoming a dancer, and through my family’s support and a little southern gumption of my own, I packed up and headed to New York City. It was there, a thousand miles away from home, that I was lucky enough to try a lot of different experiences, meet many wonderful people, learn my craft, hone my skills and really be open to finding a path that was right for me. While I started in dance, I was pulled into acting in commercials and miniseries and just loved it. As I began to take on more roles and explore new and exciting characters, the more I knew this was what I wanted and am grateful for a wonderful career on the big and small screens.
However, that was just the beginning. I’ve been able to explore other opportunities and grow in my own business savviness. I entered the world of branding with women’s fashion through my line at Kmart, a partnership that has taught me how to see past my own perspective and look through the eyes of my customer base. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many of the women who shop the line and am continually inspired by them to work my hardest and create based on what they want and need.
I don’t think I am done writing my backstory yet as I am excited to see what lies ahead for my own journey and that of my family’s.
Yitzi: Which person or which company do you most admire and why?
Jaclyn: I admire many different people for different reasons. I admire my parents for their unwavering support and for instilling strong values in me at such an early age. I admire my children and how they’ve each developed their own individual personalities that are true to who they are. I admire my husband Brad and his know-how, brilliant skills as a doctor and selfless dedication in all he does for others. I admire Lou Antonio, a talented acting coach who has been a friend and trusted resource throughout my entire career and is as well-rounded of a person as they come. All of these people have the ability to live beyond themselves, which I am drawn too and respect. I was always taught “light attracts light” and surrounding myself with these people is so life-giving and inspiring.
Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Jaclyn: As a celebrity, there is an added benefit that people tend to listen to what you have to say, and I have been blessed to be able to use my voice to bring awareness to causes that I am passionate about. Organizations including Ability First — The Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, City of Hope, St. Jude and The Farrah Fawcett Foundation are some that I hold closest to my heart and have been partnering with for the last 5–40 years. They all do amazing work to bring awareness and change to diseases and issues that personally effect so many of us. I hope to help inspire others to get involved alongside me.
I am also lucky enough to use some of my partnerships for good as well. Most-recently working with Kmart to donate clothes, shoes and home products from my Jaclyn Smith lines at Kmart to the relief efforts in my hometown for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
We are all charged with bringing goodness to the world, and it can start with how we push ourselves to be better and simply strive to be kind to one another every single day.
Yitzi: What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why.
- Go towards the fear because without it, you’ll never know what you’re missing. I passed on parts and opportunities, that if someone pushed me a bit more out of my comfort zone, I may have ended up really enjoying.
- Embrace your own evolution. A passion that was rooted in dance led me to acting, which opened doors to new opportunities and business. Can you believe that just this month, I am launching a new babywear layette line inspired by my first granddaughter Bea titled Spencer by Jaclyn Smith?! It’s truly unbelievable to see all the things a ballet dream-chaser from Houston has been able to experience.
- If you don’t love it, it’s not going to work. No matter what path you’re pursuing, you should never feel like you’re working, rather every day should be something new, something challenging or something exciting.
- If it’s not authentic then it’s not you. If I knew then what I know now, there are several moments I would have been more assertive by either demanding more for myself, or simply having the confidence to walk away when something wasn’t working.
- Life is filled with so many emotions, so let yourself, your loved ones and you children feel every single one. It allows for emotional independence and truer experiences. Let life be fully lived.
Yitzi: Thank you so much. These were fantastic!