Health, Wellness and Adult Skills
On "Adulting with Jane," created by Brandeis alumna Jenny Paul, influencer culture helps viewers learn life skills.
It’s no surprise that wherever Brandeis students end up, they make their mark. Enter Brandeis alumna Jenny Paul ’07, the creator and executive producer for the new “shoppable” web series, “Adulting With Jane.” The series, which launched in October, is one of the first of its kind because it allows viewers to click on and purchase the products featured in the video while they watch. The videos range from “How to Change a Tire” to “How to Manage a Panic Attack,” and utilize influencer-culture to help “Jane” learn these new skills.
AWJ takes a village, and many of those involved went to Brandeis, including the director of the show, Samantha Saltzman ’06. Other Brandeis alum working on the show include Cindy Kaplan ’07, who wrote the “Creating Space” episode; script supervisor Lynn Spector ’06; production assistant Tres Fimmano ’18.
They even have support directly on campus. The show’s press assistant is senior Maryam Chishti, who became involved in the show about a year before they began filming. “The founder and the main actress is a Brandeis alumna and she came to Hyatt for a theater talk,” Chishti said, recognizing that there aren’t many theater professionals that come to the campus career center. “After, she was like, ‘If anyone wants to follow up with me, email me,’ and so I emailed her,” Chishti added.
Chishti joined the project as a social media intern, despite the fact that the production hadn’t yet moved past the writing stage. “It was challenging to make social media content for a show that hadn’t come out yet and wasn’t filming,” she said. Despite the challenges, her solution was a creative one. “I tried to do little adulting tips every day that I would post on social media,” Chishti shared. She used Instagram, Twitter and Facebook — where the page currently has 1.4k likes — to promote the show. When the team hired a public relations representative, Chishti was part of the hiring process and became the press assistant. Now, her job includes spreading the word about the series, reaching out to various influencers to be on the show and attend related events,and helping the PR representative with her responsibilities. Chisthi explained that it can sometimes be challenging to balance her role with the series and school work: “I’m not paid and I can only give them so much.” Nevertheless, she’s learned a significant amount since starting with the show, particularly regarding “all the different ways that you can be involved as an actress and a theater person post-college.” Perhaps the most important thing Chisthi has learned from this experience, however, is, “If you have the tenacity and the grit you can make your own art.”
Since its launch, the series has been released on various platforms. The episodes have featured special guests, including Instagram influencer Cindy Huzenman of Cindyology, who teaches Jane how to “create space” in her apartment, and Broadway actress and singer Sophia Anne Caruso, who is currently playing the lead role of Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice the Musical in New York City. Sponsors and partners of the show include, Thrive NYC/National Mental Health First Aid, Project Repat, WIREWAX Interactive Video, The Williamsburg Hotel, Bushwick Grind and Beetlejuice the Musical. The series also established affiliate partnerships with MasterClass, NerdWallet, Target, Today Tix and other groups aimed at young adults.