If you've never witnessed the glory and gorgeousness that is a well-coiffed, slow-mo Los Angeles pooch on the grooming table of Jess Rona, your life needs a dose of this magic right now. Justin Bieber, Kurt Vile, Britney Spears, Billy Joel, Beyonce, Simon and Garfunkel, Bowie, and a boatload of obscure LA-based indie pop bands, provide the soundtrack to 20-second videos of Rona's canine clients being blown out, lathered up, or just throwing some serious shade to the camera. As an actress, writer, singer, and super funny woman, Jess is on Funny or Die on the regular, currently is putting together a photography book, writing a pilot somewhat based on her life in LA as a dog groomer, and has, along the way, amassed a staggering 106,000 followers on her @jessronagrooming Instagram.
Needless to say, we were stoked to have her on board for a SHAPERS Q+A interview! Thanks so much, Jess! You're pretty awesome.
xx - Rebecca
Your personality and humor definitely shine through in your videos and you brilliantly capture the quirkiness of each dog’s personality with your chosen musical accompaniment. As an actor and comedian who now has a thriving dog grooming business and over 100,000 followers on Instagram, do you find your creative pursuits overlap and if so, how?
Wow what a great question! Yes! It's happening more now than it ever has. I recently got to teach Eric Stonestreet how to groom a dog, I made a video for The Standard Hotel, directed a music video for Tegan and Sara (which was the coolest thing I've ever done), I did a segment for Groomer to Groomer TV making a grooming demo, and I'm working on an original pilot with my creative partner Sammi Cohen about a groomer (if you're a fancy person reading this, buy my pilot and throw money at me so I can make it thanks!)
I watched your hilarious “Love Song” video featuring you and Jason Ritter and laughed out loud at your psuedo homage to the film “Misery.” Tell us a little bit about making this video.
I asked Sammi Cohen if she'd want to direct another music video with me (she also co-directed my first video "Oh Shit We Forgot About Jess Rona" with Milana Vayntrub). She story-boarded it out, came up with the concept and made it happen. We took over my friend's house for the day, and secretly filmed a few scenes in Griffith Park. I was in full make up with a basket of apples among the hikers who were staring at me. It was a lot of fun. We had a look-out in case the ranger came. But it went smoothly! I asked Jason Ritter on a whim thinking he'd be too busy (he's good buddies with my husband Eric Edelstein) and he actually said yes. It was amazing to work with him. His expressions in the video are priceless. He definitely makes the video.
What kind of surprises has this business brought you, personally and professionally?
The whole instagram success is a surprise. People's reaction to me when they meet me is a surprise and I don't quite know how to handle it. I had a girl grab my arm and cry when she found out I was the one who made these videos.
I only started making the videos cause I was going stir crazy in my garage. I needed to create, I needed an outlet. My friends were out auditioning all the time, booking jobs and traveling and I was antsy. I kept my grooming a secret for a long time because I only wanted to be known as an actress. Now I'm known as a bunch of different things (actress, comedian, groomer, director, musician, hottest girl on the planet) and I'm embracing it.
If you could have breakfast with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? And what would you order?
This question is TOO HARD. I have so many that come to mind. (Larry David, Allison Jones, Katherine Hahn,Tony Robbins, Lena Dunham, Oprah, Jill Soloway, Obama, Bette Midler, Pema Chodron! - you ask the best questions by the way.)
I'm gonna say Julia Louis-Dreyfus because I recently had a vivid dream about her where she was on a huge [cruise line size] boat and I was in the ocean and she saved me. I feel like we're going to work together one day.
I would order my go-to breakky: Eggs over easy on a bed of breakfast potatoes with avocado, sautéed greens and carmelized onions, and coffee with homemade almond milk.
Describe in one word each of these dog breeds:
Jack Russell Terrier: Spazzy
German Shepherd: Sniffy
Standard Poodle: Elegant
English Bulldog: Stinky
If you put all those words together, you'll have the name of my next book. (jk!)
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I'm a night owl, but my schedule makes me a morning person.
What's currently on your bedside table?
A lamp, ear plugs, phone charger, candle.
Favorite song to get down to? "Helpless" by Poindexter off the Kitsuné America album.
Favorite song to cry with? "In my Life" The Beatles
Favorite song to relax with? "Oh Honey" by Delegation
(These are just ones I picked because I have 100 favorites per question)