“Everyone is able to relate to the experience of knowing that you’re Somewhere you know you subconsciously shouldn’t be...”
By Annabelle Jacoban
Jessica Lowndes is a force to reckoned with. This is self-evident in her breakout role as Adrianna in the iconic 2000s 90210 alone, But Lowndes has continued to climb the Hollywood ladder in several genres, moving to singing and songwriting, screenwriting, producing and directing. In our conversation she filled us in on all things creative, discussing her new album and accompanying music video series as well as her new partnership with GAC Family, in which she will write, produce, and direct her own films. Lowndes is undoubtedly making moves in Hollywood, but remains firmly in touch with her roots and family in hometown Vancouver, Canada.
Despite having non-showbiz parents she is proud that they could not have been more supportive of her move to LA and career as an actor.
“I was just so driven and determined, and knew this is what I wanted to do; that I wanted to move to LA. I had a whole argument prepared. But when I came home and just sort of mentioned it to my parents my mom was so cool. I didn’t have to get into the speech at all. My parents just always knew they would support me.”
However, like many actors, Lowndes had to undergo her fair share of rejection once she began her career. She explains that her iconic character of Adrianna on 90210 was somewhat of “an afterthought,” as she was only “brought on as a guest star” for a mere 2 episodes. Fortunately for Lowndes and the 90210 team, Adrianna was a massive hit with audiences.
Lowndes explains that once the 90210 writers realized how committed she was, “they basically evolved my character and started writing me in a drug addiction on the spot.”
Lowndes was able to make the disaster-prone character relatable through her compassion for Adrianna, explaining how the young drug addict’s life “was definitely very different from my own. I poured a lot of myself into her, and I tried to wrap my head around all those scenarios and how they might happen. “
“I also took all these issues seriously… I felt this massive responsibility because I didn’t want to make a mockery [of addiction], and I had never done drugs. So, I was like, ‘What do I do?’. I had my publicist at the time get me every episode of Dr. Drew celebrity rehab–that was just constantly playing in my trailer. Then I actually talked to real addicts.”
Lowndes may not have been able to relate to Adrianna’s choices but through her compassion and dedication to the character she was able to leave a lasting effect on audiences.
“I don’t have [Adrianna’s] experiences, but I can feel what she would feel, and I think that’s why people identified with her, because I tried to make her real. She was going through stuff I couldn’t relate to but emotion and pain is something we all know. I think that’s what kept her from being a monster–that’s why people kept forgiving her.”
Years later, Lowndes still sees the lasting impact her dedications to the character had on the 90210 fans. For example, Lowndes tells us about an experience she had with a fan in the middle of a Sephora: “I had a girl come up to me last week… and she started crying and I started crying and I gave her a
hug, and she opened up and shared with me that she had battled addiction. She turned to the show, and because my character got through [addiction], she knew that she could get through it. It was such an inspiration to her. You just never know who really needs it and how they’re going to interpret things, or how this is going to help them pull through… I have been so mindful of the impression I want to leave behind.”
Currently, Lowndes is in the process of releasing her first studio album along with an accompanying music video series. “ The album “is my heart and soul. I worked with some incredible writers, producers, and collaborators…we created something beautiful that I’m really proud of and it’s called ‘Elemental.’”
Similarly to acting, songwriting is a means of showing compassion for the young actress: “I’m a very deep person, and I feel things very deeply. For me, music and writing has always been a form of therapy. It’s so cathartic. For me, it doesn’t matter what mood I’m in at the beginning of the day, if I turn it
into art, and I write about it, it’s part of my healing and by the end I am high on life and so excited. It’s like I feel this release and it’s just so cool.”
“I don’t know how we live in a world where gun owners have more rights than WOMEN
When asked what the inspiration is for song-writing, whether it be relationships or some other event, Lowndes explains that an inspiration for a song does not have to be a relationship, an event, or a person but rather “a pattern.” She explains that regardless of someone’s personal experience on paper, one “can have [their] own experience with [the album]” For example, everyone is able
to relate to the experience of knowing that you’re “somewhere you know you subconsciously shouldn’t be… If you have the strength to pull yourself out of that situation, and really reconnect with your inner child and who you are, you’re a hero and I think my number one thing was that I wanted to empower people because you can be your own hero. You don’t need someone to come save you.” Lowndes’ album takes us through all these emotions and internal conversations we have with ourselves, ultimately ending “on a celebratory note.”
Songwriting is not Lowndes’ only creative method of pouring her heart out. She turned to screenwriting during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic unaware that her new-found hobby would open the doors to an entirely new career path and allowing her to make large steps up the Hollywood ladder.
“Harmony from the Heart” was something that I wrote when I had a weird pilot season where I kept testing and not booking. It was one of those weird years where some of those projects would take 4 months of my life and then I’d run into people and they’re like ‘What are you up to? Are you still acting?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh if you only knew…’” To “keep [herself] sane,” Lowndes “started screenwriting every night for an hour.” At first she had no plans of making a profit off her script, and explains that she thought, “I’m not going to sell this, it’s just to let myself know that I can do it and that I can type in the words ‘The End.’” She adds, “I fell in love with it, and I tricked my brain into thinking it was something I was getting paid to do…I made myself write every day from 9-5.
With Harmony from the Heart people were kind of scared to make [the movie]. They were like, ‘I don’t know, it might be too sad.’ I promised them that it would help a lot of people and it would provide a lot of hope. Needless to say she successfully convinced her doubters as she is set to release a number of projects.
”I’m getting ready to do a bunch more that I’ve written, then I’m directing a Christmas movie for [GAC] this year–from Elemental, I got a directing deal–so I’m going to be directing my first feature which is going to be unbelievable… And I’m already working on my second album which is called 88…that’s going to come out next year because I just can’t stop creating!”
Lowndes also opened up to us about her feelings on national and global politics–including the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the war in Ukraine: “I just don’t know how we have gotten so far off the rails; I don’t know how we live in a world where gun holders have more rights than women.”
She adds that when we’re removed from a situation, “we can go, ‘Oh that’s so sad.’ but we don’t even know what that’s like… We can have that compassion, but we don’t
know. I don’t know what it’s going to take but it’s something that’s really on my heart. I feel fortunate to have my platform and to be able to help in any way that I can…I think it’s going to take a lot of people coming together to see a change, but this has got to stop.”
Lowndes seems to be inspired by all that is around her to create art that then creates a ripple effect, inspiring and helping anyone and everyone around her.
However, perhaps we need to reverse that relationship, turning to individuals like Lowndes in order to see the change we demand; to adopt her compassion and dedication in order to see lasting change in our world.
We can only imagine the impact Elemental and the several other projects she has in the works will impact those around her.
Photographer: Amanda Mae
Hair and Makeup: Ian Maxion