Having worked in journalism, film, media, and more, Jasmeet Sidhu is a testament to the value of taking great creative risks—even at a young age.
In addition to her work at MasterClass, she has done groundbreaking creative projects in major cities around North America. Sidhu sat down with us at HelloFlo to tell us more about her unconventional, albeit adventurous and rewarding, career path and the personal values and life lessons she’s picked up along the way.
What do you do for a living, and why should our readers know about it?
I currently work as Senior Creative Producer at MasterClass.com, an online education company that creates classes with the best in the world—so far, we’ve produced courses with Christina Aguilera (on singing), Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman (on acting), Serena Williams (on tennis), Usher (on performance), Aaron Sorkin (on screenwriting), and more. Considering how much higher education costs these days, it’s really a great opportunity to hear from someone truly excellent in their field share their wisdom and their tips and techniques on what made them phenomenally successful. Even if you’re not particularly interested in becoming an actor or screenwriter, after having viewed all the classes, it’s incredible to hear from top tier people and understand their core principles and habits that made them get to where they are now that applicable universally.
Tell us more about an exciting project that you’ve been working on lately.
Earlier this year, I was able to join Kentucky-based band Cage the Elephant for a few of their European tour dates to photograph them backstage and film a few of their concerts. I’m in the midst of editing it right now, and it’s been a blast. I love visual music content, whether it be music videos or concert documentaries. I’m really excited for the finished project.
What are your hopes for your future and the future of media?
I hope that I continue to really challenge myself professionally and creatively, and not be boxed in by fear, or feeling like I’m “supposed” to do something. I’ve been able to have a beautifully varied (and sometimes chaotic) career because I’ve been willing to risk leaving behind certain jobs, cities, and perceptions to really go after something that I want. That has led to incredible experiences working at the Toronto Star in Canada, in music videos in Los Angeles, at Facebook in New York, or at MasterClass now in San Francisco. As for the future of media, I am concerned about the decreasing number of paid opportunities for young journalists to really train and gain experience in their field. However, this can also open the door for them to really experiment, get scrappy, and carve open opportunities that maybe we haven’t even begun to conceive yet. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter didn’t or barely existed 10 years ago. I think the time to be agile and be able to pivot is more important now then ever.
What do you consider to be one of the most important aspects of your work?
Being true to the instructor and their mastery. We have an incredible opportunity to sit-down with people at the top of their fields for several hours who maybe haven’t been questioned on how they got to be where they are. I know the company takes this opportunity to be able to relay what makes them unique and so good at what they do very seriously.
How do you find inspiration and hope in the face of discouragement?
Get off social media. I go through regular breaks where I just disconnect my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Social media is obviously great for a variety of reasons, but when you’re feeling down, suddenly gleaming photos of everyone else’s accomplishments can really take a mental toll on you. Second, I talk to my family. They are really able to ground me and calm me when I’m facing chaotic situations.
What’s an important lesson that you’ve learned since you started this work?
Value yourself first, because no one else will. Internal validation can be one of the most powerful career tools you’ll ever have.
Can you describe one of your proudest moments in your career?
One of my proudest moments wasn’t really a flashy one. I was working at Facebook in the NYC offices, and my mom came to visit me from Toronto. I was able to give her a tour of the offices, and we signed the Facebook wall together (there’s a wall in each office of everyone’s signatures). It just felt incredible to be able to show her where I worked. My mom was only able to work for a few years of her life and didn’t have a university degree. It was a moment where I felt very proud to be a professional, working woman for her.
Do you have any advice for young girls who want to be more involved in digital media?
Be well-read. There are always going to be new gadgets and new platforms to play around with, but nothing can replace people wanting to work with highly-informed, intelligent people. Read books, read newspapers, read analysis about complex events happening in the world, and have conversations with people about them. Even if you do just that, you’ll be lightyears ahead of all your peers.
Keep up with Jasmeet Sidhu on Twitter or sign up for a course on MasterClass.