Jessica Bendien is the founder of Bang Talent, an agency that books talent for the UK’s most loved TV shows, talk shows, commercials, fashion, beauty and media brands, celebrity castings, awards shows, red carpet and charity events and more. With 15 years experience in the TV industry, Jessica has worked with the likes of Russell Brand, Claudia Winkleman and James Corden.
Jessica says: Most days, I wake up before my alarm goes off around 7.30am. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom and I’ve stopped listening to the radio in the morning too, so I either do a short meditation or just enjoy the silence before scrolling through Instagram and jumping in the shower.
Bang HQ is in the heart of Soho, a short commute on the tube from my home in Kentish Town. On a rare sunny day I’ll walk, which takes about an hour door to door. I always wanted to be able to walk to work, cup in hand, New York style, so I do try to do it as much as possible. I’m in the office by 9.30am, even though I have so much more freedom in my business now, there is something I love about being sat at my desk. I always grab a rice milk matcha latte from Wholefoods and eat breakfast at work, usually Primrose Kitchen muesli or mixed berries and dairy free yoghurt.
I truly believe everyone has a talent and I can’t bear to see it go to waste. Although I mostly deal with celebrities day to day, my drive comes from wanting to help people get the recognition they deserve. I’m that person who asks ‘why aren’t you doing xyz’ and I’ve been told many times I should be a life coach. I hope that’s my bossy side being used positively! Way back in 2000 I applied for an intern scheme at Bazal Productions (now Endemol) and I was offered a job as a runner on series 2 of Big Brother which was incredibly exciting at the time. From there I worked my way up from a researcher to assistant producer on some of the biggest entertainment shows. Most of my roles involved casting, so booking celebrities was a natural progression. In television who you know counts because everyone moves around from job to job all the time. TV attracts a certain type of person because you never know where your next job will take you – it’s not for everyone but I thrive on the uncertainty! To do this job you have to be a real go-getter, a negotiator and a firefighter. Celebrities are still humans and life happens, so although you might have confirmed someone for a show, a sudden illness, missed flight or surprise movie contract can mean you need to find a replacement at the very last minute. It keeps you on your toes!
I’d like to say I’m super organized and prep food for the day the night before but I have every lunch option imaginable on the office doorstep and it’s all too tempting. I’ll eat something at my desk from Detox Kitchen, Wholefoods, Pret or Vital Ingredient or I’ll have a Poke from Island Poke as a treat – I spent Christmas in Hawaii and am totally obsessed with it! I’m also addicted to green tea and drink at least 10 cups a day. I love Biona spelt pretzels with hummus and raw veg as a snack, or for a sweet tooth Pana Chocolate Sour Cherry and Raw Halo.
You have to be flexible and reactive in this job so if we’re filming or in studio we could be working till midnight. Most weeks I’ll have time to go to an inspirational talk – which is one of my favourite things to do – or a film screening, gig or theatre performance in the evening and combine this with seeing friends. I’m a massive foodie and eat out several times a week. I try to be firm about having one night a week at home too. I love entertaining at home and getting friends together and I celebrate my Soberversary every year (I stopped drinking alcohol January 2014). I train in TRX at Equilibrium every week, they’re the best. I also swim and go to classes at Frame or Triyoga, I’m a big fan of reformer pilates and hot yoga. I’m a recent convert to Yin Yoga which is incredibly meditative.
Growing up I actually wanted to be an actress, or a hairdresser! I’ve also always said I’d love to curate my own shop and fill it with things I love…
My top online recommendations are:
Instagram – I have always loved taking pictures as a way to document life
Equilibrium – Niko Algieri’s TRX suspension training is changing my life
Whatsapp – I’m a communicator, I couldn’t live without this
My Fitness Pal – When I want to keep my body in shape, this is great as it’s like having an accountability partner