Close-up: An Interview With Jillian Estell

Actress Jillian Estell stops by on Close-up Culture to talk about her battle with celiac disease, her love for dance, working with Kevin Costner, and much more.

Q: I saw you were recently at Instabeach. How much fun did you have at the event and meeting up with so many other creatives?

A: It was one of the most amazing events that I have been to! I saw several of my friends and we all had a blast! 

Q: How do you like to spend your free time and what do you love most about your current lifestyle?

A: I love hanging out with friends, shopping, swimming, and being able to have the opportunity to work with brands, audition for new opportunities, go to events, and meet a lot of amazing people. 

Q: You’ve had a long and hard battle with celiac disease. Can you talk about that experience and how you are now managing it?

A: I have had celiac disease since I was born. My mom figured it out before I was one year old. The hardest part about it is going to eat at restaurants with friends or family, and being worried that I might get gluten. It’s a struggle.

People don’t understand what it’s like to have an autoimmune disease. It’s really hard because it’s not something people can see. I have to get my rest, eat healthy and take care of myself or I end up getting really sick. It’s especially difficult being a teenager and having all the challenges I have, because I just want to have fun with my friends, but many times I have to cancel as I need to rest.

Q: You are now a student ambassador for the Celiac Disease Foundation. How important is it for you to be involved in this cause and to help others?

A: I became a student ambassador for Celiac Disease Foundation because I want to spread the word about celiac disease. I also want restaurants to become more aware of celiac disease and understand it more. 

Q: We often see you striking a flexible dance pose on Instagram. What has dance brought to your life?

A: I’ve been dancing since I was very young.  I was also a competitive cheerleader for seven years, which has made me very flexible. I have loved pulling stretches since I was a gymnast and cheerleader when I was a little girl.

Q: You’ve worked with the likes of Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, and Jennifer Beal. What has been your biggest takeaway from being on set with these Hollywood superstars?

A: The most important thing they told me is to stay focused, work hard, never give up and always stay humble.

Q: What is your most cherished memory in the entertainment industry so far?

A: I’d have to say I have several cherished moments, but I’ll name a few. The first one was a trip to New York to meet Kevin Costner, they flew my mom and I there for a chemistry read. Then I’d say being on set of the feature film, Black or White, and being on set of The Night Shift.                

Q: What are you most grateful for in your life at the moment?

A: I’m most grateful at this moment in my life for high school, my mom, grandma, dad, God, my family, and so much more – but you’d be here all day reading. 

Q: What is next for you? Any hopes or ambitions to share with us?

A: I’d have to say next for me is to graduate high school, book a feature film and/or a TV series, and figure out where I want to go to college.

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