You might think going to Juilliard would be nothing but inspiring for a young actor. But that isn’t how it worked out for “Love” star Gillian Jacobs.
“Juilliard f—ed me up, and it took me years afterwards to realize what was worthy at all about myself,” Jacobs said Tuesday at TheWrap’s Emmy comedic actors panel.
After fellow panelists William H. Macy (“Shameless”), Kaitlin Olson (“The Mick”), and Kumail Nanjiani and Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”) talked about getting over their acting insecurities, Jacobs said that formal training at Juilliard actually messed with her mind — because she was discouraged from doing one of the things she did best.
“Juilliard beat the love of acting out of me,” Jacobs said. “Juilliard when I was there did not value comedy at all. I remember I brought in one scene that was funny my sophomore year, and no one in my class thought I was particularly good, but they all really liked me in the scene, and it was the most positive response I ever got from my classmates. But at the end of it, my teacher said, ‘Well you can clearly do that. Never bring in a scene like that again.’ It was not until I was cast on ‘Community’ that I ever got to explore being funny.”
Nanjiani chimed in to suggest that “Juilliard beat the love of acting out of me” is “actually the motto for their school.”
Jacobs also said therapy helped her rediscover her love of acting.
“It really forced me to question why I actually wanted to be an actor because I didn’t really like it anymore. I had to discover that there was something beyond people telling me I was good at it that was driving me to pursue acting,” Jacobs said.
“I was a child who dragged my family to the George Bernard Shaw Festival in Canada for five years. I loved the theater in the way you love things when you’re a kid, but I didn’t have a lot of technique. I didn’t quite know what I was doing. So [Juilliard] took away the joy and gave me technique, so there were a couple of years out of college where I had to find the joy again.”
Jacobs talks about her experience at Juilliard at the 38:30 mark in the video above, but honestly, you should watch the whole thing.