It is possible that Jessie Funk has lived the life many teenagers dream of--to be a famous singer with a recording contract. At 15 years old, that is exactly what Jessie got. “I signed with a record company. I really just wanted to be a famous singer, I wanted money and the glamour and all that exciting stuff that went with it,” said Jessie.
While exciting, the demands of becoming a famous singer included physical exhaustion, being surrounded by toxic people, and being told she had to dress like Britney Spears and learn to dance provocatively. “I soon became uncomfortable with people telling me what kind of artist they wanted me to be. I felt like I no longer had my own voice and I had to constantly try to please everyone around me. I think it was suffocating and it became a really bad situation,” she said.
“I became depressed and I couldn’t even think straight,” she said. Determined to still have a say in who she was, Jessie went home and regrouped. She focused on another interest of hers, the study of psychology. “My love of psychology kind of led me down this path of healing and learning and wanting to help other people,” she said.
“I began sharing my story about my experiences in the music industry and my record deal, what I learned from it, and how I was feeling about it. Teenagers would always really connect with my story and would come up to me after I spoke at an event and would want to talk about the hard things they were going through. And I just kind of fell in love with trying to help others.”
Jessie found her niche as a motivational speaker and singer. “I always sing a song or two at every event I speak at--so now I guess I’m more of a speaker who sings. For me, it's been a really good balance.”
Jessie has been teaching and mentoring students for over 15 years. She speaks at motivational and leadership conferences, international service retreats, and at student government and student council leadership events. “I can really relate to teenagers and I think they can relate to me and my experiences,” she said.
She is the author of six books and as a professional singer has released five albums and has a degree in Psychology and is a therapist. She is the executive director of the non-profit organization, The Ivy Girl Academy. She is also working on launching a leadership skills camp called Ivy Ranch, for “empowering resilience in teens”.
We loved featuring Jessie in our Summer 2020 issue of Nugent Magazine. Read her whole story here. We also got to spend some time with Jessie on the Provo River where she showed us the TeePees her team built on location for her Ivy Ranch camp (Bummer, but Ivy Ranch’s opening is on hold for now because of COVID-19!). She even showed us some of her newly learned fly fishing skills. Thanks, Jessie for doing GOOD things!