In 2016, a girl from a small town in Maine named Jessie Sims moved out to Los Angeles. Sure, this had been down countless times: people moving away from their small, middle of nowhere places, to try to make it within the big city. But, it was the first time that Sims did it, and it was a leap of faith and belief within herself to make the move.
Sims, who can be found on her Instagram @jessiesimsofficial with 700k followers, decided to drop out off Nursing school to pursue modeling and acting. This wasn’t just on a whim. In 2014, she signed with her first agency and later on worked as a model with recognizable names like Puma, Panera, Westin Hotels, and Alka Seltzer, as well as partaking in music videos, commercials, and short films. During this time, she also was crowned the first runner up in the Miss Maine United States Pageant and competed in gymnastics for six years before moving on to All-Star cheerleading.
So, when she decided to leave her promising nursing program to move to L.A. in order to more actively pursue acting and modeling, Sims was going ahead with experience under her belt. When she initially moved away from the cookie-cutter town that she grew up in, she recalls, “I was constantly scrutinized and asked, ‘What if it doesn’t work out?’ ‘What is your realistic goal?’ I don’t think anyone actually thought I’d make a career for myself. I’ve been relatively successful so far, but I have my sights set on so much more, and I plan to keep grinding with no end in sight.”
When Sims made it out to L.A., she continued her involvement with gymnastics by being a trainer, but she quickly focused her attention on her social media growth. She says that, time and time again during casting calls, the question of how many followers she has on Instagram was continuously pushed on her. She saw that a way to success in acting and modeling was growing her social media – so that’s what she did.
Sims began sharing her authentic self to resonate with more and more people. This was the Jessie Sims that many of us have known to grow and love: pulling pranks, drinking games and fun, hanging by the pool, and feeling sexy and empowered in her athletically-toned body. She was put to the test when her gymnastics job questioned a post on her Instagram. Sims knew that making her account private could jeopardize her chances of being cast as a model and actor. So, she ditched the side job and fully embraced herself and her passions.
That’s key to success, says Sims: to always be your authentic self. By focusing on her goals and dreams, she has stayed true to who she really is. And it has paid off in dividends, with nearly three-quarters of a million IG followers, 177k subscribers to her YouTube channel.
She may have moved out of the small town that she grew up in and ditched her Nursing program, but Sims continues to move upwards and onwards, by being her authentic self.