I am a reporter for Sneak Peek, an entertainment news show through the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Student Television. As an entertainment reporter, I often have the amazing opportunity to meet some pretty cool people. What can I say? It's one of the perks of the job, and arguably my favorite part of the career that I am entering.
A few months ago, I found out that I would have the opportunity to interview one of my all-time celeb crushes: Jake Gyllenhaal.
Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am possibly the biggest Taylor Swift fan to ever walk this earth, so the fact that I was going to get to meet someone who inspired an entire T-Swizzle album and some of my favorite go-to singing-in-the-car jams was quite possibly one of the most exciting days ever for me. To be honest: I think I cried a couple of times when I found out, but I couldn't spread the news of my interview quite yet. You see that's the downside of entertainment reporting. You can never know that an interview is going to happen until the moment that your eyes meet and your hands shake. So many factors can interfere with an interview you had been so anxiously awaiting. Rain, injury, not enough time, missed flights, oversleeping -- you name it and I'm sure I could tell you that an interview I was so excited for was canceled for such reason. The bigger the name, the less likely the chance that the interview will actually happen.
So you can imagine how worried I was that my interview with Jake wouldn't go as planned. As I spent all day pampering, trying on every dress I owned, curling my hair, prepping my questions, I was almost certain it wouldn't actually happen, that a bigger news outlet would take my time, that he would decide to not walk the red carpet, that he would decide not to attend the movie screening at all.
Much to my surprise, none of my fears came true. I got to interview Jake Gyllenhaal.
I was ecstatic, completely over the moon. The only trick was that I was only allowed to ask him one question.
"One question?" I thought to myself. What would you do if you had done hours of prep work, fantasized about how the conversation would flow, and overthought every word you were going to say just to find out from his publicist seconds before you met that you could only ask him one question.
What question would you ask?
Something serious? Something funny? Something unique that the 10 people who interviewed him before you definitely didn't already ask him?
In a split-second decision, I sided with the latter. He was there for his new movie, "Demolition," which tells the story of a man who destroys his house and everything he owns in an attempt to rebuild his life from the ground up after his wife's passing. I decided to ask Jake what he would destroy if he could destroy anything and get away with it.
I expected him to say a fancy, expensive car, or a home like in the movie, but much to my surprise he said nothing of the sort. He didn't even say anything physical.
He simply answered: judgment.
"I always speak for myself...but I'd love to destroy judgment. Judgment would be a really nice thing to destroy. But then again, I think judgment is about destroying so it gets complicated," said Jake.
I was taken aback at first. This was not the answer I had anticipated while practicing this conversation over and over in my head. How would I respond?
I realized in that moment the importance of what he just said. He, a man who works in an industry that is all too concerned with judgment. Where who you wear and who you date and who you know and where you live titles the headlines. In a world where judgment surrounds everything you do.
He could've easily used the platform that my interview was providing him to talk about his movie and promote himself; to add to the already massive fame he already has, but he chose not to. He chose to speak out on an issue of importance to him; to try to make an impact.
Jake taught me in that moment that we could all destroy the judgment that possesses our lives. We can all accept others a little more. Who cares how different an individual is from you? We all want one thing and that one thing is to be loved.
He also taught me how much power each person has. Sure, we may not all be mega-rich movie stars who got to date Taylor Swift, but we each have a platform and an opportunity to make a change in our daily lives. Seek out those opportunities. Take advantage of those little moments to make a change and speak for the voiceless.
Be the Jake Gyllenhaal of whatever you do.
Check out the full interview below: