FOUNDER • Jessica Hovind was born and raised in Wisconsin. With a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, she moved to Chicago and worked in Television Advertising Sales. This was not her calling.
A life journey brought her to Austin, Texas in 2011 where she picked up a contract job at Austin Film Festival. From there she found herself on the set of the feature Parkland, invited to help with extras casting. In tandem with trying to figure out how to not be in the shot on set, she realized she loved being part of the creative world of filmmaking. She then spent years as part of the casting teams casting film, television and commercials at Brock/Allen and then Burton Casting. In 2016, she started her own talent agency: Variant Talent.
Variant Talent was not only her first time working as an agent, but her first business. After many years of grueling work and the accompanying life lessons inherent to starting and running a (100% commission based) business alone, she became a real player in the agent game. It was also during this time she began to realize she was more passionate about developing than repping talent. Ideas started brewing and conversations/market research for the formation of what is now A Starter Agency™ started happening.
Though developing a new idea for a business while running an already challenging one isn't for everyone, having been forced to become independent at a young age, Jessica truly understands the hustle. No stranger to hard work, she has often held one or sometimes two part time jobs alongside building an ambitious career. She has stacked up life lessons and resources that she is excited to share with clients. She is impassioned when it comes to helping people and creating positive change, while disrupting the status quo just a little bit.
"Jessica meets me where I’m at. She listens to my goals and aspirations, sets realistic expectations, and adjusts our meetings based on what my next step is or should be. She encourages the pursuit of the passion to be focused and intentional and has greatly expanded my knowledge of the entertainment business. Working with her has encouraged me to take concrete steps to become both a working actor and a better actor."
- Bryce R/A Starter Agency Beta Client
"Jessica has been a tremendous resource for navigating the Austin acting market. Her experience and knowledge has helped me to make informed decisions on acting classes, head shots and understanding my value when evaluating opportunities. Whether you are new to the market or just starting the acting journey being able to get started in the right direction is key and Jessica will help you get there."
- Taylor D/ A Starter Agency Beta Client
"So starting out in the business I had no idea what to expect no agent, no manager, little guidance. Jessica Hovind had the ambition of a Vet. She groomed me to mentally grow fast and learn quick. Hovind was on top of me to make sure resume was always updated, headshots were good.
- Andre Williams/Original Variant Talent Roster
"Jessica Hovind is perhaps the most straightforward and honest person I've ever met in show business. She speaks her mind honestly and from a knowledgeable perspective of the field of entertainment. Her communication level is very strong and her advice is always genuine. I have consistently benefited from my association with her - and she is funny!"
- Bill Karnovsky/Original Variant Talent Roster
"I met Jessica Hovind back in 2016 when I first began my acting career. I was looking for representation for months and not only did no one want to meet with me, but no one gave me the only thing I really wanted; a chance. Jessica was understanding of my situation and did everything she could in her power to help. Submitting me and sending me out on jobs before even signing me (other agents absolutely don’t do this!) was something I was ecstatic about. Eventually, Jessica and I worked together for a few years. I was able to book all of my biggest commercial through her, as wells some co-star roles! I have kept in touch with her even after moving states due to her just believing in not only me but all of her clients full-heartedly. She is always willing to help and I’m thankful to have her apart of my journey!"
- Collins Ozowulu/Original Variant Talent Roster
"Over the last 5 years, Jessica Hovind helped me navigate the Austin market and gain my SAG eligibility. Jessica goes above and beyond for her people, even ensuring I made valuable industry connections when I moved to LA. She has been an amazing resource to me ever since she first took me under her wing and I am lucky to have her guidance through this crazy, awesome business!"
- Julia Bauer/Original Variant Talent Roster
"As the only 'art kid' in my family, I took acting class after acting class with my mom's support. As an adult BFA of Acting graduate working with Jessica Hovind for years, she is busy but wse. I wish A Starter Agency™ had been available to me as a kid."
- Rachel Nursey/Original Variant Talent Roster