Jessica Rose Warren - Down Right Perfect
Meet Jessica Rose Warren. She has worked as an extra in top Hollywood films and loves modeling for fun. She also loves dancing, baking, working out, and animals.
Like most actors, Jessica also works in the restaurant industry—as a part time employee at a local donut shop. She has spent the down time due to Covid-19 using her craft skills to accessorize face masks and make over 200 beaded bracelets that she gives away.
Jessica has a brother, Quenton, who is serving overseas with the United States Army. She lives with her mom, Sandra Hirschfelt, her brothers Christopher and Sebastain, their cats Adam and Luke, and Chewy—the family dog.
Jessica also has Down syndrome, a fact that has not slowed her down for a minute.
Pooler Magazine recently chatted with Jessica and her mom Sandra about her acting experiences and what’s going on in her life today.
Jessica—I like acting. Acting is fun. It’s so much fun to be in a show.
Sandra—Jess has always liked to dress up and play pretend. Since she was 16 years old, she wanted to be an actor. Savannah has a good film industry and friends said to look on Facebook for jobs as extras. So, we started looking, and in 2015 I saw the movie The Do Over, starring David Spade, was being filmed in Savannah. I sent in head shots for both Jess and Christopher for extra work and they replied “yes, we would love to have them on set.”
Jessica—I met David Spade, that was fun.
Sandra—She really followed direction well and they loved her on the set. At the end of the production, an assistant director came up and asked us to join David Spade for a meet and greet. He wanted to meet Jess and Christopher (who has special needs due to cerebral palsy and epilepsy).
Jessica—We took pictures with David Spade!
Sandra—David said, “Let’s do pictures,” and so we got personal pictures, which was special treatment! It made my kids’ day to be seen as people and not as disabilities. The crew, and David Spade, accepted her and Christopher for who they are.
After the The Do Over, Jessica was cast as an extra in the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, which shot scenes in Savannah.
Jessica—When I did The Little Mermaid, I met William Moseley. He is so nice, he is amazing, he is my favorite! He had a scene filmed in Pooler. He played the big brother on Narnia. A very sweet guy. I filmed with him for seven days straight. He sat with us for lunch and dinner. William called her Mom! Super nice guy, I saw pictures in my brothers room and liked him right away. William Mosley is a real nice guy.
Sandra—That casting director accepted both Jess and Christopher and even added me as an extra. Jess was treated just like everyone else, and it was an incredibly positive experience.
Jessica—For The Little Mermaid, I had to wear shoes and clothes from the costume department. The high heels were hard to walk in, but William Mosley held my hand and walked with me! He gave me his jacket to wear when it was cold. He is nice!
I also like to model and my favorite is Tyra Banks, she is my favorite person on television. I learned everything from watching her. I want to be one of them. I can do it, I can follow it. My model training is everything I learned from Tyra Banks.
Sandra—We find clothes for home modeling shoots at Goodwill—Jessica especially loves feather boas.
Jessica—My friend Angle helps me do model photo shoots, too. I like to dress up and do photo shoots at home. I wear a dress, she takes the picture. I look pretty in it! My black dress, my polka dot dress, my green one—they fit me and look nice. I wear makeup and do my hair pretty too.
Sandra—Jessica loves the Y; she goes to the West Chatham Branch and is very active there. So many people know Jess and it’s like second nature for her to be there.
Jessica—I like to do my classes at the Y. I teach at the Y—they love me there! I am the assistant instructor at the Zumba class, along with the instructor. Debra (the instructor) got me started. I get to be her assistant in front of the class. I help teach Zumba three days a week.
Sandra—She has free classes with her membership, so she can work out at the gym and take classes.
Jessica—I also do yoga, Pilates, and line dancing. I do all that and I work out in my room every day. My favorite music for exercise is Backstreet Boys. I say, ‘just do it!’ I do the punching bag. I keep myself in shape and I fit into my dresses.
Sandra—Jess can see something and say, ‘I can do it’, or “I want to do it,’ and when she catches, on watch out!
Jessica—I like spin class, my teacher, and my friends. I love dancing. I hear the beat then dance to it and follow the beat. I like hip hop and I love the Backstreet Boys music. I was going to a Backstreet Boys concert, but it got canceled.
Sandra—Another casualty of Covid-19. Maybe next year.
Sandra—There needs to be space for the older people with Down syndrome to be utilized, to be hired and to be included in the visible jobs. Most places want to put her in the ‘hidden’ jobs, the cleaning jobs, the most menial tasks. Jessica is lucky to have found a ‘front end’ job at The Donut Shop.
Jessica—I have a job. I work at The Donut Shop. I work grinding the coffee. I fix sandwiches, ham and cheese, egg, and sausage. I put the donuts in the boxes. I have put like a thousand in boxes!
Sandra—Unfortunately, Jess hasn’t been able to work at The Donut Shop since Covid-19. It’s on hold for now due to concerns over the possibility of exposure. She is looking forward to getting back as soon as possible.
Jessica—I like my job. I work at the front counter and at the drive thru. One day I want to open my own donut shop.
Sandra—Jess wasn’t diagnosed as Down syndrome until she was six weeks old. We were told that’s what her diagnosis was and handed forms to sign her over to a home at eight weeks old. We didn’t do that. As a society we have come quite a way from that, but we still need to see adults with Down syndrome as full members of our community. The next step is to stop seeing them as only capable of menial work.
Children and adults with Down syndrome have hopes and dreams, too. They are not all the same, but they don’t look down on anyone and don’t deserve to be looked down on. It’s frustrating. And it’s heartbreaking as a Mom, because she didn’t do anything to deserve being treated differently than anyone else. It’s hard to see your kids teased or bullied in any way.
Sandra—Jess is 34 years old and she likes being in front of the camera. Now there are so many more opportunities for kids with Down syndrome than there were when she was younger.
When she was little there weren’t so many chances, it’s different now. But I never hid her, I always put her out there to experience life and she is such an amazing person. I am so proud of her and all she can do and will continue to do in the future.