This is a weekly series where we feature our incredibly talented Adolescent members and their work! Sign up here to join the Adolescent Membership and be part of the @ family!
Oh hey, Adolescent! This Thursday, we’re here to introduce you to Jillian Chilingerian—a 21-year-old creative living in Fresno, CA. Jillian is a senior at George Washington University studying International Affairs, and she loves learning about different cultures. She uses her platform to unravel misunderstood perspectives in media. For our newest Member Crush, we asked Jillian about her podcast, highlighting Armenian stories, and being in a rural town during COVID.
Adolescent Content: Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? How old are you? How are you spending your time these days?
Jillian Chilingerian: I’m 21 years old and live in Fresno. I’ve been working on my podcast, Offscreen with Jillian and Sophia, I did a virtual externship with my dream company, United Talent Agency, and now I’m interning with my other dream company, Walt Disney Television for ABC30 News. It's a nice hybrid of doing work from home and then going on location to shoot stories on locals. The podcast is two Armenian women discussing the intersectionality of social issues and media. I’m a film and TV enthusiast and critic, and Sophia is a musician. Our heritage influences our story selection and the way we approach things. Our goal is to have important conversations that unravel misunderstood perspectives in music, television, film, and everything in between. My goal is to transform Offscreen into a lifestyle brand.
Adolescent: How has 2020 changed your work and style?
Jillian: I love [talking to] people from different backgrounds and learning about their perspectives. Some episodes we have done are “How the Entertainment Industry Failed Megan Fox,” “The Rise of Latin Music,” “The Beastie Boys: Party Bros to Activists,” and “Why Representation in Award Shows Matters.” 2020 has given me the time to finally launch a podcast properly and take the time to invest in the message, audio engineering, scripting, brand, and so much more… I want to inspire others to call [for a change in] the status quo in the media industry. We did two episodes over the summer to help amplify Black voices in [media, and] with the news in Armenia, we’re encouraging our listeners to donate and using our platform to educate them on the ongoing issue and highlight Armenian creatives. Every day I try to figure out how I can put [issues] into a podcast, Instagram post, or blog article. 2020 has also taught me I don’t need to be at a certain company or have a certain job to be able to do what I’m doing, which is very liberating.
Adolescent: Can you tell me about your creative process?
Jillian: My content stems from me being curious and searching the internet to see if someone has written or commented on what I’m thinking. I hope to create a place that drives culture and where people can find accurate information in one place. My creative process comes from all the media I consume. I’m always watching YouTube videos, movies, and TV, and reading articles. I like to go back into archives and do deep dives on people or topics I admire or was confused by when I was younger.
Adolescent: How does being in Fresno, CA affect your work?
Jillian: Being back home in rural Fresno versus D.C. was hard to adjust to in the beginning, but the slowness of the town has helped me breathe and take on projects I’ve always wanted to do and start establishing my media brand. I can't go on walks to think like I did in D.C. or go work at a coffee shop to write, but weirdly since being home a lot of opportunities have opened up for me. This time has taught me that I don't need to be in a specific location or company to do what I want to do. I’ve done a lot of networking from home and have established my own little work area. My town is often overlooked, especially during the pandemic and fires, and it gives me the motivation to continue to amplify underrepresented voices. Since being home the conflict in Armenia has happened, and it’s been nice to be around other Armenians I grew up with and reconnect. Being around my culture more has led me to make content geared toward Middle Eastern representation. I love the small businesses and how connected I am to people with stories here.
Adolescent: What’s it been like being an Adolescent Member?
Jillian: Being part of the Adolescent community has been amazing. I love being able to feel like part of a community during these times of isolation and see all the inspiring work people my age have made recently, from launching podcasts to magazines to making short films. In Fresno, I’m not around a lot of creative people—so being able to connect with them through Adolescent has been amazing. The opportunities to work with brands are really cool, too.