Edmond Native Hits the Big Screen
It’s 10 a.m. in Los Angeles and Jill Klopp is positive she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be. The 26-year-old Edmond native is currently pursuing an acting career she’s dreamed of her entire life.
Now, with a recent appearance on CBS’s hit television series “Criminal Minds,” it seems Klopp is well on her way.
Klopp began acting in the 6th grade when she joined an Edmond children’s theater company. There she fell in love with her craft. “Immersing yourself in a different character, a different person, is really educational. You really learn so much about yourself and the way the world works,” says Klopp, who continued her acting through high school, graduating from Edmond North.
Klopp then went on to the University of Oklahoma where she majored in theater. “I learned a lot,” says Klopp of her experience with OU’s theater department. “It was really well-rounded. We learned about every aspect of theater and different types of acting.”
Upon graduation, Klopp made the move to Los Angeles. “It was very scary and it was hard to make friends at first,” says Klopp. She eventually adjusted and now has a core group of friends, all from Oklahoma, that she met out west. “We all really relate to each other. There’s a very laid-back feeling I think that people from Oklahoma have, very easy-going.”
Klopp’s been in Los Angeles for four years, and loves the city and her neighborhood in Santa Monica. “It’s beautiful everyday,” Klopp says of the sunny weather. She also enjoys the variety of people found in the city. “There are people here from every walk of life.”
This doesn’t mean that she isn’t homesick. “I miss Edmond,” says Klopp. “Obviously my family is the biggest thing I miss about it, but one thing I love, and it seems like such a small thing, but there’s parking everywhere. In L.A. there’s no free parking.” Klopp realized this minor aspect most people take for granted while meeting a friend for lunch on a recent visit home. “I drove my car into this gigantic parking lot and as I was walking into the restaurant I stopped, looked at my car and thought, ‘I’m two feet from the restaurant and I just parked for free.’”
On a more serious note, Klopp says it’s hard being away but feels “blessed” that she has such a supportive family. When she decided she wanted to make acting her career, Klopp says her parents “accepted it and supported it, because I put a lot of dedication and work towards it outside of school.”
Klopp’s days in Los Angeles are busy ones. “I try to do something everyday to gain knowledge or strength. Knowledge is power as an actor, just honestly learning as much as you can about the business.” She attends workshops and seminars as often as possible.
Klopp also gets a lot of support from fellow actors as a member of groups such as the Actor’s Network. “I love the people you meet working as an actor,” Klopp says. “They’re extremely intelligent and fun and obviously brave because they’ve chosen such a rough profession.”
“I’m a big advocate of networking,” says Klopp, but then adds that “there is no rubric to how to make it as an actor. There’s no first, you do this. Then you do this and then you’re an actor. All people work and build their careers in a different way, so it’s important to gain knowledge in different ways.”
Therefore, Klopp also has an agent. “Your agent works very hard for you, but you really have to make an effort for yourself. I think that’s true in every profession if you want to be the best at it.”
All of Klopp’s efforts must be paying off. She filmed the episode of “Criminal Minds” two months ago, and speaks very highly of the experience. “I was in heaven because I was doing what I want to do with my life – full-time.” Her character, a real estate agent, is murdered by a client played by Alex O’Loughlin, an accomplished theater actor. “It was a delight to work with Alex,” says Klopp. “He’s been in the game for a really long time and I admire his career. It’s definitely one I would like to model mine after.” Klopp says it was also great to meet series regular Joe Mantegna and was excited when the episode aired. “My whole family watched and sent lots of love my way.”
Klopp’s acting credits are growing. She just finished her first starring role in an independent feature film, “Something Blue.” For this role she plays a woman who is marrying into a family of a fictitious race called Polar Americans. “Their skin is a light blue” says Klopp. The film was “kind of a satirical way to poke fun at all of the social quirks about two families of different races and cultural backgrounds mixing, and all of the hard ways that they have to blend their families without offending anyone.” She says ultimately it’s a feel-good comedy.
The filmmakers hope a studio will pick the film up and are currently submitting it to festivals. Klopp says she mentioned Dead Center, Oklahoma’s summer film festival, to them and would love to see her work come full circle.
Klopp credits Oklahoma and her family for helping her become the person she is. “Being raised in such an easy-going place has helped me keep my head on straight in this crazy business and I’m just thankful that my parents instilled morals and common sense. I haven’t gone down any scary avenues.”
In the future Klopp hopes to become a series regular on a TV show and would prefer it to be a comedy. Until then, she will keep her Oklahoma roots and her California dreams. For More information about Jill Klopp, visit www.jillklopp.com.