by Amanda Egerer
Born and raised in San Diego, JPCatholic student Janine Larina brings unique life experience and fresh insight to the University’s Humanities program. She shares her experience as an actress and her transition from a Media Communications student to humanities.
Shortly after Janine Larina graduated high school, she studied at California State University Fullerton. She was there for a brief period of time before she decided to seriously attempt to break into the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. For ten years she worked as a casting director for music videos and acted in a variety of projects, her most prominent being her role in the television show East Los High.
After a near-decade break from school, the actress decided to go back to college in hopes to deepen her understanding of the Catholic faith. Last February, Larina started at JPCatholic in the Directing program, but as she took theology and philosophy classes she realized that she wanted to emerge herself deeper into her Catholic faith. This realization is what sparked her transition into the Humanities program.
Janine began acting in her childhood. Her mother would often drive her to Los Angeles to audition for roles for on-screen acting, but once her mother gave birth to Larina’s younger siblings, she told the actress that she would no longer be able to drive her from their home in San Diego to Los Angeles on a regular basis for auditions. Janine’s mother supported her endeavors and encouraged her to continue her pursuit of acting once she had obtained a driver’s license and could travel to auditions on her own, and that is exactly was Larina did.
“I thought LA was it,” Janine said. The actress thought that she would stay in the industry for the extent of her career. But something changed in her ambitions down the road that led her to JPCatholic. Janine began as a casting director for music videos and worked as an assistant director. She had played around with the idea of acting but didn’t make a transition to the screen out of “fear of doing the wrong thing”. During an inspiring conversation with a friend, he encouraged her to “just do something. Even if it doesn’t work out, or you end up hating it. Just do something”.
For the remainder of Janine’s time in Los Angeles, she acted in music videos and landed a recurring role in the television show East Los High . Janine expressed that working on the set of East Los High was one of her most positive experiences in Los Angeles. “The crew was my favorite part. We were like family.” She explained the deep connections she made with the cast and crew because of all the time spent together. Janine stated that “After working 15 or 16 hour days with the same set of people, you naturally get to know them very well.”
Aside from acting and directing while in Los Angeles, Larina also taught kids acting classing and loved discovering how freely creative and energetic children can often be. She believes that “If adults could channel their inner child, it could change the TV and movie industry entirely.” She tries to tap into that childlike creativity in her creative writing. Janine will oftentimes give herself a writing prompt and write out the scene as if she is acting in an improv exercise. She stated that “It’s fun to come up with various scenarios and just start writing all I can from that.”
While acting, directing, and teaching, Janine felt a desire to know her Catholic faith on a deeper level. “People would ask me questions about the faith and I wouldn’t know how to answer them and I felt terrible.” After journeying through a decade of the entertainment industry of Los Angeles, Janine now studies in the Theology and Philosophy program of the Humanities degree. She hasn’t auditioned for any acting roles in over a year.
Janine wanted to find a university program that was rooted in theology and philosophy so she could increase her knowledge of Catholicism and that is when she found JP Catholic. “I had no idea that it was even an art school when I started looking into it!” Learning more about the entertainment industry was not, and still is not, her primary reason for attending the University. It is the opportunity to become rooted in Catholic tradition and classic literature that continues to drive Janine in her studies. “The more I learned, the more I learned that I don’t.” In response to being asked what she sees herself doing after graduation, she stated that “I’m really open to whatever God has for me. It really seems that if you follow God then everything else follows… The possibilities are endless.”