By Karelys Beltran
How do you go from cute ballerina, to sleeping-in-the-car-homeless-lady, to Hollywood actress?
We don't know either.
So we asked Adele Pomerenke to tell her story. Also, she graciously posed for the coolest pictures ever taken in the old Larson Building.
This woman is the epitome of "hard work and taking the plunge, betting big on yourself, and marrying a guy that loves you hard, will bring breakthrough and success."
At the time of this interview she was sworn to secrecy and couldn't talk about the movie she was working on. Since then, her and her beautiful husband have moved to LA, she is a working actress, and has taken up her old love, skateboarding.
Adele Poemerenke and Thayne Jongeward have been friends years before she became a professional dancer and actress, and before he bet on himself to launch into a professional photography. Their creative energy together is tangible and the results are arresting. Stills from a B Movie is one of my favorite pieces of work they have done together. From the album description, "This is from an old test I did. I was going for a 70's grindhouse feel and I think we nailed it. I don't know what's going on here but it doesn't look like anything I'd want to get mixed up in." I've heard tales of that workday; fake blood made with chocolate syrup and him giving her broad stroke direction, but mainly just her awesome improvisation skills that elevated the final product.
Thayne had commented a lot on the caliber and professionalism that Adele brings to the table. But it wasn't until I saw them work together, and watch her expertly delivering an interview while posing for a photo shoot, getting in character at the drop of a hat, that I truly realized what a talented and disciplined woman she is. He was not exaggerating even a little bit.
Adele shares about her amazing husband and the mutual understanding held between two creatives in a marriage that is supportive of each other's endeavors. "It is necessary that both people understand the need for independence and the need for emotional support after a long day or a disappointing week. Or months! He is my best cheerleader."
We hope you are excited and inspired to bet big on yourself too after reading her story.
I had never planned to be an actor, in fact as a little girl it was nothing I pretended to do or anything that ever surfaced in my mind. It was dance, primarily ballet my entire life.
Since day one my grandmother who was also a professional dancer in New York, looked at my feet after I was born and said, “she has dancer's feet!”
She would stretch me out as a toddler and planted that seed for dance as soon as possible. I thank her for that everyday. I have danced ballet for over twenty years now. It is my absolute first love but recently acting came in and stole my heart as well. I think it’s safe to say that I am not a conventional actor or ballerina. That's why I want to share my story.
That is, at least why I left the traditional ballet lifestyle; the “company life” as we call it, and went to pursue a life on film primarily.
In ballet companies you are around the same people everyday and you create a strong bond with them, a family. It's so beautiful. But I didn't fit in. I can't help but admit there is still a lot of privilege in that area. Although I came from a very supportive family, middle class, loving home, good financial stability, it wasn't enough. There wasn't enough money, I struggled to afford pointe shoes that you constantly need to replace and travel for auditions, dance attire - it's all so amazingly underfunded yet overpriced.
But the money isn't why I left the company life. I loved the struggle and the hard work. It's part of the life of an artist. I left because I felt like I couldn't connect to anyone there, and I felt like God was calling me to do more somewhere else. Don't get me wrong; each and every dancer I've met has been so kind, so beautiful, they are truly wonderful people, but the past and the life I had before becoming a professional ballerina wasn’t one anyone in the studio could relate to. So I felt very alone. No one else lived in their car at 18 and shaved their legs in public restrooms while still putting those tights on to go to class. No one else had overcome a lifestyle of substance abuse, pain, trauma or had seen what I had seen, or done what I had done. Or if they had they hid it well and I never met them. I wouldn't blame them if they did, most likely because those things are still looked down upon. You know, they want you to draw so much passion up for stage but if you actually have something to pull it from there seems to be this quiet underlining disapproval that you ever did those things. It’s a funny world, the ballet company world. I sometimes miss it so much it hurts, but with acting all those things I ever experienced I can put them somewhere, somewhere useful, in a character. I have a voice.
I lost my grandmother this year (2017). Probably the hardest death I have experienced in my life. She was my best friend. Honestly we were probably the same person just 60 years apart. I look just like her. And I followed her career. So sometimes looking in the mirror all I see is her and it can be hard to just put my makeup on each day, 'cause there she is staring back at me. She was the one that I could always lean on. I think we all have that one person in our life, that just gets us, no explanation needed; we can just talk to them and they get it. That was her. She was always there to tell me when to just brush other people off and pick up my pointe shoes and keep going.
She was the one who came home from New York City and showcased her dancing. At the time was very provocative and new, a little too much for her hometown. She got a lot of bad rep for it. So anytime someone, or at times it felt like everyone, tried to bring me down she would be there, I would think of her and keep going. In fact, she is the reason I still dance every single day. I refuse to give up on ballet, just because I am not living the “company life” and have decided to move towards acting primarily, that doesn’t mean ballet will ever take a back seat. I’m not done with it. Whenever I dance it's like she's right there, so lately I can’t get enough of it.
I was born in Yakima Washington, went to elementary and middle school in Selah, WA, and high school in Naches, WA. I grew up on an old farm, never wore shoes (I still struggle with that), and started my dance career at Footlights Dance Studio in Selah. When I got older I transitioned to Yakima School of Ballet where Lisa Price gave me open arms; opportunity when I was struggling out on my own. After throwing my life away she let me come back, no questions asked, and helped me make my dreams come true.
In 2013 when I got accepted into Dance Theater of Tennessee, my hubby and I drove across country to Nashville, sleeping in our pickup between Peterbilts at truck stops. I don't know where I would be without that man, he kicks so much butt and is the most supportive spouse I could ever ask for. That was the funnest road trip I had ever been on. I didn't expect that move to put me where I am today.
This year I won the Best Leading Actress award for the 54 Film Fest and it blew my mind! I have only been acting in film for 3 years, yet I have come so far! I have had a music video that I was lead in make Rolling Stone's top 10 country music videos of 2016. I have been in award winning short films, met and worked alongside many celebrities including Billy Ray Cyrus (who is the sweetest man you could imagine), worked alongside Diana Agron, Margaret Qualley, Eline Powell, and award-winning actress Melissa Leo, (each one of them so inspiring and wonderful to talk to) ; all of us as nuns in a film that made it to Sundance.
I have had a fake sugar glass beer bottled knocked over my head about seven times (you have to get the right take), spoke to a snake inches from my face around a huge bonfire pretending to be a witch in a civil war era film, filmed in an underground abandoned prison in which all the cast and crew were pretty sure was haunted, been in multiple commercials, music videos, and recently been cast as my first leading and supporting roles in a few feature films soon to start filming ( I wish I could tell you more about those but confidentiality is huge).
I even co-wrote and sold a country song here in Nashville and the plaque is hanging on my wall. There has been so much I can't name it all. It’s been crazy and unexpected and not anything I had ever imagined. How did I get here? And why me? I came to Tennessee to dance in a ballet company as the corpse de ballet, to stay in the back of the stage in my tutu and ended up here, my acting career flourishing and preparing for the only next step, a move to L.A.
You can plan your life all you want; make a perfect trajectory. But there is a great chance that your plan is not your purpose and it's not going to happen. I am so glad I was wrong. I couldn't be happier. My career is only going up from here and who knows where it will take me next, but my only goal or trajectory that I can make happen for sure is to inspire others to just go for it! To show others no matter where you came from, you are worth it!
You are beautiful and you can do anything you want it life. It may not pan out how you plan but as long as you put your blinders on and do you, work hard, something great will come of it!
I didn't see myself here, my life is too good.
In fact I didn't really see myself anywhere at one point in my life. I didn't think much of myself and was ready to settle with never being really anything special at all. I used to see myself as garbage and I treated myself that way. At times I almost gave up completely. Just didn't see the point in anything anymore. I have called the suicide hotline before, I have done bad things in my life, I have hurt people on purpose and myself. I have done some pretty awful things, I am not ashamed to say that now because I have overcome them, and if I share it maybe someone out there won't feel so alone like I did.
It was extremely difficult and at times almost an unbearable transition from who I used to be to who I am now. I had to let go of a lot of people and comforts. It’s not easy, but it is so worth the fight choosing to follow you dreams and to be the better you. I love who it has made me. And I want to share that love. I want to see other people overcome more than I did. I know every single person on this planet is capable of doing so, I hope my story can show that.
I am not crying you are crying!
Stay tuned for a follow up article where Thayne digs for the details of Adele's new movie coming out.
We hope you are as inspired as I am by this story. I hope you take the plunge and make your very own idea happen. There may be nothing new under the sun, but there is also no one else that can interpret the world as you do. And it is important that you raise your voice to express the inspiration that has been entrusted to you, to tell the story of the world as you filter it, and to connect with those waiting to receive what you have to give.
Follow Adele on Instagram, @adelemariepomerenke, to keep an eye on her adventures with her super handsome husband, cute pup, and taking over Hollywood!