Jessica Queller

The Power of Storytelling
Using Television To Tell the Stories of Our Lives

“I was always writing, and…I was writing stream of consciousness writing and…that was my unwitting training as a writer because I wasn’t judging myself, I wasn’t writing for anyone else, but it was just developing the muscle of writing many hours a day and the connection to…your unconscious.”

Even as a child, American author, television writer and actress, Jessica Queller, loved literature and storytelling. She began journaling up to three hours a day because of a tenth-grade creative writing class and continued that practice until becoming a parent ten years ago. In this episode, Queller shares the poignant story of her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and death, along with other stories of her life that shaped her highly successful career.

Jessica Queller was born in New York City to her lawyer father and fashion designer mother. At the age of 10, she discovered theatre and after being cast as “Annie” in a camp production, knew that she was destined for the entertainment industry. She worked as an actress until the age of 29, at which time she turned to her passion for writing. At the same time that she got her break as a TV writer, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and died two years later. Queller tested positive for a genetic predisposition to the same cancer, which led to her writing the acclaimed memoir, Pretty is What Changes (Random House, 2008), and other Op-Ed pieces on the subject. She has written for numerous primetime television dramas, such as Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, Vegas, Felicity and Supergirl, and is the recipient of several awards.

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • What it was like growing up as a “hard-core theater kid” in Greenwich Village in the ’70s
  • What happened at the age of 10 to inspire Queller to become a stage actress
  • How a tenth-grade teacher changed Queller’s life
  • The surprising reason she did not pursue acting on television
  • How someone with no DC comic book experience could land the dream job of writing for Supergirl
  • Some of the challenges she faced stepping in as showrunner for Supergirl halfway through a season
  • How her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and death impacted Queller’s life – and writing career
  • A very un-glamorous “behind-the-scenes” peek at being a television writer
  • Why she loves Supergirl
  • How she expresses her political and global frustrations through her work
  • Why stories of female friendship are so important to Queller
  • Her thoughts on writing indie films
  • How she feels about tackling playwriting
  • What it’s like to be a working (single) parent – both before and during a pandemic

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