WHAT MY DAD TAUGHT ME
By Jessica Lowndes
Summer before 9th grade, I was almost 14, we had just flown back from an Eastern Canada 2 week road trip. My Dad didn't look at a map... Once. Needless to say, we got lost. A lot. And to top it all off, we were riding around in this white GMC safari van rental with The Moulin Rouge soundtrack blaring from the stereo. Poor guy. He had no choice for he is the only boy in the family. I bought tanning lotion to fake n bake my face before the plane ride back to Vancouver because I wanted to go back to school looking sun kissed. Instead, my knuckles were orange and my face was splotchy. The day we got back my Mom and I went downtown Vancouver shopping. We were jet lagged by the 3 hour time difference and I was looking like an oompa loompa. There happened to be an open casting call to play Wendy in this new Peter Pan movie at a hotel on Robson st. I figured I had nothing to lose so I walked in. A couple callbacks later, I got an agent out of it and that's how my acting career began. I was still rockin' the clear braces which I thought were so cool. Glow in the dark elastics... yikes! I was fortunate to book parts right away but the biggest role came when I was 16. I read the breakdown and I wanted it more than anything. My agent kept reiterating that the part would go to an American but I needed it and was going to do everything to make it happen. I practiced lines with my little sister for hours prior to the audition. The morning after the Beck concert (yes I remember silly details like that) I got the call saying I had booked my first lead character, first on screen kiss, soon to be ticket to LA. I remember every single detail about that shoot. Honey Crueler doughnuts (my weakness), Granny Smith Apples in my trailer which I enjoyed every morning and watermelon shaving cream because I shaved my legs twice a day (I wanted them to look amazingly soft on camera!!) After that shoot, the producers, who were also a management company, approached me and said in their smooth talking LA way "we want to represent you when you're finished high school." I had gotten a taste of my dream and the taste was still in my mouth. I couldn't picture myself sitting in a classroom for an entire year. So, I graduated early. I went home after that meeting and announced to my parents "I don't want to go back to high school" It's like they both knew it was coming. My mom said to my dad with a huge smile on her face (hers is my favorite smile in the world by the way) "Dan, go email her school principal." And my Dad, very non-chalant about the whole thing, agreed with her, "Okay, Suzanne" My Dad never held me back from anything. He holds the teenage record for running across Canada and he told me when he did that run he didn’t have much support so he made it a point to always support and believe in me no matter how outrageous the dream. I home schooled online. Had online teachers, an online principle and three months later I graduated. The day I got my driver's licence, I drove the 22 hour drive to la with my Dad, who cried the whole second day of the trip… happy tears, scared tears, supportive tears, but they were still tears none the less and there was nothing manly about it. My Dad is my role model. He’s one of the most incredible people you will ever meet and has worked so unbelievably hard. I love him and wouldn't have been able to do half of the stuff I've done without him. These are some of his Dan-isms that he has taught me along the way.
1. Do what needs to be done... when it ought to be done... no matter how you feel.
2. Give everything you've got to everything you do.
3. Don't let anyone rain on your parade.
4. Compete with your self first.
5. By daring to fail you are really failing not to dare.
6. Your attitude in life determines your altitude.
7. If you believe you can or can't... you are right.
8. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take in life.
Check out these cool pictures from his run across Canada!