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Glee-- Jessica Edmonds

Hanford's Jessica Edmonds joins cast of "Glee" later this month. (Contributed)

LOS ANGELES — It was the big break Jessica Edmonds had been waiting for. After spending too much time sleeping in her car or couch surfing at a friend’s place, the Hanford native earned a role on the hit television show “Glee.”

“I’m still in shock,” said Edmonds, 24. “It all happened so fast. One minute I’m just trying to get by and the next I have this part in one of my favorite shows of all time. I’m a huge fan, or ‘Gleek,’ as they are called.”

She said she isn’t allowed to go into specifics about her role; all she can say is that she wears a mohawk while on the show and the first episode she will appear in will air Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. on local FOX Channel 26.

Edmonds was born and raised in the Hanford-Lemoore area. She’s the daughter of Tom Edmonds, the Kings County chief deputy coroner.

“I actually honed and improved my acting skills by helping my dad at work,” she said. “I would help with scenarios when the hostage negotiations team was doing training. It was a lot of fun.”

But the acting bug took a bite long before that, according to Edmonds’ mother, Suzi.

“She’s always had a passion for acting,” her mother said. “She started at age 7, with various roles in productions here at the Temple Theater in Hanford.”

Edmonds’ love for acting continued as she participated in local Murder Mystery Dinner Theater productions presented by Wishing Well Theater. She took drama courses at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, and completed a summer internship with the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria. She also appeared in the first Central Valley production of “Rent” with The Fourth Wall Theater Company, directed by Dave Lemon.

“I love performing,” Edmonds said. “As a hobby, I do cosplay, where you dress up as your favorite movie characters and attend conventions.”

Bound and determined to achieve her dreams, she moved to Los Angeles, but the reality of being a struggling artist soon began to set in.

“It was tough out there,” she said. “Doing audition after audition, working all sorts of different jobs and sleeping in my car. I even got a degree in construction, just in case this didn’t work out. So, that way I had a back up. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to give up.”

Edmonds continued pursuing her goal and landed jobs helping celebrities with autographs at movie conventions. She made a friend who helped her get in with a talent agency known as Abraxas.

“Abraxas got me an audition with the producers of ‘Glee,”’ she said. “I was like ‘Wow, OK, I’ll go for it.’ I mean, why not?”

After just one audition, she landed a recurring role on the show.

“I can’t believe it,” Edmonds said. “This is a great place to start.”

Her mother is equally amazed and proud of her daughter’s hard work.

“It’s hard, as a parent, to see your child struggling,” Suzi said. “I don’t like to hear that she had to sleep in her car. But, it does feel good to know that all of it may have paid off.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427.

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