I'd like to share some thoughts and insights from spending some quality time talking about being an entrepreneur, going into business with family and celebrity life with one of the most beautiful women in the world, Jessica Biel.
First let me get a few answers out of the way in advance that (many of my friends have already asked me and) fans of Jessica Biel might want to know:
Yes, she is spectacular in person.
Two words: Natural. Beauty. She arrived on our set without an entourage or fanfare. She was genuine, sincere and totally engaged, unlike other more self-absorbed "celebs" I have met over the years during this gig and while I was at Universal Home Entertainment. Beyond her supermodel looks, she had a real charisma that pulled me in and her friendly non-existent sense of self-importance impressed me the most.
Yes, she's a triple threat: brains, beauty and talent.
As you will see in the interview, Jessica is very comfortable in her lane as an actress and seemed to be less comfortable with technology, talking about being an entrepreneur, start ups and the world of business in general. And that's perfectly okay. That said, my impression of her is that she is highly intelligent and equally talented in her field of expertise.
Keep in mind that Jessie Biel is among a rare breed of humans. I'm not talking about her possible flawless looks. She's on a short list with people like Ron Howard (Imagine Entertainment) who have managed to have a successful childhood acting career, avoid the vices that often accompany fame and fortune, and make it to Hollywood as a well-adjusted adult and working actor.
I regret not having more time to dive deeper into who helped her stay so grounded all those years. Perhaps it was her parents or fellow actors as she briefly alluded. But in the end it seems like Biel herself has a pretty good head on her shoulders and is laser focused on honing her craft as an actor.
On the surface it might be difficult to distill some business lessons from this episode of Behind the Brand. But as with most things if you look a little deeper beyond the cover of the book, you will find much more. Here are my three personal takeaways:
1. If you make it big, don't forget to help your family.
Loyalty is underrated. So is generosity. Jessica gets credit for both. She's playing the good sister by trying to give her bro a hand and seems to have her priorities in the right order by helping the biz where she is qualified.
I give major props to Justin Biel, the younger sibling and biz force behind the BARE brand. He's a normal ambitious kid from Colorado and like the rest of us, he's trying to make his mark. He also happens to be Jessica Biel's little brother (and doesn't flinch when that's how people refer to him). He's focused on building something great and doing work that matters to him.
For some, the relationship to someone so publicly regarded could be a crutch or liability. On top of that there's the widely accepted belief that no one should ever go into business with family. However both Biel kids seem solid in their roles and are figuring out how to make it work.
2. Don't follow your passion. Do what you're good at.
Let's face facts. Just like seven ft. tall high schoolers with a decent vertical leap or hockey players born in the month of January who make up the majority of NHL players, Jessica Biel was born with certain advantages to succeed in Hollywood or Madison Ave. Clearly she knows who she is and what she's good at -- and is capitalizing big time. Remember, a by-product of talent is usually fame and fortune. Biel is among the lucky ones who can combine passion and chops for the work to create magic.
3. Try stuff that might not work.
Being a partner in her brother's start up is clearly new territory for Jessica. But she's got a shot at winning with the young and artsy Grason Ratowsky, lead designer and creative director at Bare, and go-getter brother Justin. Is it risky? You bet. Will they succeed? The jury is still out, but they have a lot going for them. Raw talent a great product and lot of hustle can go a long way. Sprinkle on some fairy dust from your celebrity sister who has good fashion sense and a massive social following and you could have something. At the end of the day, author Seth Godin said it best. "You can't have success without failure, they go hand in hand. If you're not failing you're hiding."
I wish these guys the best.
Please let me know your thoughts and I hope you enjoy the episode. Tweet me @BryanElliott or leave a comment below.