Contact Jessica: jleventhal at gmail.com
Six years ago I started to have trouble walking. I was a Yale graduate (English Lit major) and former actress in my late 20's, had just changed careers, and was interning for a film and TV producer on the Warner Bros. lot. I would soon be working on the Academy Awards as I adjusted to a new reality of chronic illness and mobility issues. My diagnosis has bounced from one thing to another, including MS, CIDP, and chronic Lyme Disease...whatever the name, it has attacked my nervous system.
I work hard to stay on my feet. Having grown up on my feet in New York City, dancing on Broadway and riding the subway, I've had to redefine what freedom means for me. In a world with social media and the "FOMO" it engenders, some days I can't help thinking about everything I'm not doing and the friendships and professional opportunities that have slipped away. But I stay positive by thinking of this experience as a gift — whether it ends in two months or never, with a cure or with “robot legs” (as my boyfriend half-jokingly says). It has made me aware of the abled/healthy privilege with which I once viewed the world; it has given me the ability to experience and recognize silver linings where I couldn’t before; it has allowed me to experience good that others don't; it has opened doors of every kind. I would hesitate to trade that perspective...even for health.
Writing has been the source of a new kind of freedom, and I love to use it to share my hard-earned perspective. I started my blog superheroes-without-capes.com in 2017 and have recently begun contributing on Medium. I also write for film and TV.
Jessica is available for personal essays, opinion editorial, reported features, and film and television writing and consultation
Additional communication availability: Phone, text