Over the past decade, Jordan Wiseley has established himself as an unstoppable force in front of and behind the camera. While his creative journey began as a kid in his home state of Oklahoma, he soon found himself thrust into stardom with his appearance on ‘The Real World: Portland.’ That first foray into reality television would ultimately lead to him MTV’s wildly popular competition series, ‘The Challenge.’ It was a match made in heaven and a realm where he came into his own. His passion for competition and unwavering determination would lead him to become not only a 4X Champion but etch him into Challenge history as a significant component in the game’s evolution.
Even while competing at the highest level, he would remain laser-focused on his childhood dream of becoming an actor. Along the way, he landed notable roles in film and television as he honed his craft. Of course, his passion for collaboration would also compel him to explore the world behind the camera, leading to the launch of his own production company. Paired with some of the finest talents in Hollywood, Jordan’s latest project is set to make its World Premiere at the Dances with Films Hollywood In July. ‘Helmet’ takes viewers on a captivating journey as it follows the story of Helmet, a once-prominent race car driver who finds himself at a crossroads. As he begins transitioning into the world of a tow-truck driver, Helmet’s life takes unexpected twists and turns. The captivating project explores themes of redemption, second chances, and the unyielding pursuit of one’s passions.
The latest chapter of his incredible story is a classic example of art imitating life. In fact, it reads like something from a Hollywood movie. In his most ambitious and exciting undertaking to date, Jordan has dedicated himself to one of the most cerebral endeavors known to man as he blazes his own trail as a professional race car driver!
Icon Vs. Icon’s Jason Price recently sat down with Jordan Wiseley to discuss what fuels his creative fire, the challenges he’s faced along the way, and what we can expect for him in the coming months!
Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to speak with me today. You’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now, so there is no better time to connect!
Yeah, man. It’s all been really serendipitous really!
You first came onto my radar many years ago when you appeared on ‘The Real World: Portland.’ Since then, you’ve established yourself as one of the most legendary competitors in the history of ‘The Challenge.’ You’ve experienced your fair share of ups and downs, but always keep the momentum going. That is so inspiring to see! It’s been quite the evolution!
Thank you, Jason. Evolution is definitely the word. It’s pretty crazy when I talk about it with the people I’ve shared these experiences with because we grew up in front of millions of people. We learned major life lessons in front of and with millions of people, so that’s why ‘The Challenge’ fanbase is one of the most dedicated and stacked fanbases out there. We have all grown together. I thought about it the other day and have been doing this for over ten years. When I left Oklahoma to go do ‘The Real World’ in Portland, never in a million years would I have thought I’d still be doing this a decade later! [laughs]
Let’s go all the way back to the beginning. Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and how that has influenced the man we see before us today?
HUGE! So, I grew up in Mustang, Oklahoma. It’s a small town about 30 miles west of Oklahoma City. I grew up on a gravel road for the most part. We did construction, and we built all of our own stuff. By that, I mean we built our own pool and laid our own driveway. I was doing concrete when I was about ten years old! It was literally me, my Dad, and my brother, laying our 30-yard concrete driveway! I’ve always been thrown in the fire! My Dad had this thing, “See it, do it, teach it.” You were supposed to learn things that fast. You were supposed to see him do something, be able to repeat it after him, and, having done it once, you should know how to teach it. At that age, I was like, “What?!!” [laughs] It was very sink or swim. That’s how I attack life now. I’m not afraid to take chances. I know that failure is inevitable. I grew up with it getting thrown in my face from competing. I was at the highest level in every sport I played, so there was no mercy. Coaches let you know right away when you screwed up. Through the process, you learn that failure is a part of life. You’re going to fail. If you’re not failing, you need to push the envelope more. I have incorporated that into many parts of my life, including business. We’ve only got one life, so I’m going to go for it and try to do the things I love!
I love that sentiment, and it’s clearly paying off for you. Your journey in the entertainment business really starts with ‘The Real World: Portland.’ What drew you to that project? I imagine there is quite a learning curve going from rural Oklahoma to the world of reality television.
This was so weird. The producers discovered me in a bar for the whole casting call thing. I didn’t think anything of it. I ended up getting to the end, and they were like, “Do you want to go to Portland?” I was in LA because that is where they bring you out for the last round. They said, “You’re in if you want it. What do you think?” I said, “I don’t know, honestly.” I didn’t watch ‘The Real World’ growing up. I know ‘The Real World’ and ‘The Challenge’ were iconic because we always had MTV on for TRL and the music videos. So, we would see it when we were in middle school and high school. My brother and I were so competitive we would see it and say, “Shew, we would smoke them. We are real athletes. We play real sports!” [laughs] Low and behold, 15 years after that, I’m doing it! [laughs]
So, all I really knew about ‘The Real World’ was you get drunk and fight. I went home, and my best friend in the world had a Sony Handycam and knew how to make movies when we were in high school. That is really what got me thinking about becoming an actor. I wanted to make films. I had been vocal about that growing up. When the opportunity for ‘The Real World’ happened, I returned home and talked with my parents. They said, “You need to say yes. Go do this thing. Make friends with the producers and figure out what you need to do to become an actor.” I said, “Alright!” I did it, and being there for four months was an experience unto itself. Apart from doing the television show, the life that you’re living is really unbelievable. You are thrust into the rockstar lifestyle. You’re a nobody, but you’re going into these bars and clubs with full-on production crews, so everyone thinks you are somebody! You’re getting treated like somebody, but you’re still a nobody! It’s like, “What the fuck is going on?!!” [laughs] It’s all very strange!
I finished ‘The Real World,’ and I asked around. They said, “If you want to act in stuff, you’ve gotta learn how to act. You need to find a good studio to get into.” From there, I found the top studios in the country and applied. I ended up getting into the William Esper Studio out in New York. I went there for two years. While there, I did “Free Agents,” which didn’t last too long. I came home and got right back into acting classes. It worked out so perfectly. New York was such a “starving artist” period for me. As rookies or newbies in ‘The Challenge,’ you don’t make much money. You need to win to make that time worthwhile. You have to build up your tenure to get your contract money up. I still needed to do that.
I was living in New York, and it sucked! I stole so many lunches! It was muscle milk here and some apples and oranges there; just trying to do this acting thing! Eventually, the skies parted, and I got the call for “Exes II.” We left for “exes II” three days after I graduated from The William Esper Studio.” It worked out perfectly! I had zero money then and had to ask my Mom for fifty bucks for groceries. I won “Exes II” and finally had some breathing room. At that point, I made it back to New York but decided it wasn’t the place for me. It hadn’t been a fun experience, so I chose to go to Los Angeles, where they make movies! That’s how all that worked!
You’re passion for the craft of acting runs deep. How did you get bit by that bug initially?
Growing up in the country, like I did, you go outside. There are no parks, arcades, or anything else to go do. It’s gravel roads. All you’ve got is your bicycle and the country miles. I know there is a stop sign every mile, and the number of stop signs tells me how far I am from home. We would run around the creeks, and there was a pond in the back where we would have dirt clod wars! We also had dirt bikes, four-wheelers, three-wheelers, etc. We’d ride around on those and throw water balloons like grenades. Everyone had five to ten-acre lots, so we would spend our time terrorizing the neighborhood. My point is that it was always make-believe. Everything was make-believe, and we were always using our imagination. Inevitably, we found ourselves doing stunts. We were jumping out of trees and into a creek. We jumped off every bridge we could find with water underneath it! [laughs] It was a thing of how high we could climb and what we could do.
We were simultaneously cinephiles. We loved dissecting the films to see how each shot was made. Once my best friend AJ showed me how you could film something, cut it, and “Wahla!” You have a movie! I was hooked. I was like, “Dude, we should do this!” Flash forward to the present day; I have my own production company. I’ve got a feature film out that I co-wrote and executive produced. We’ve also done commercials for Microsoft and T-Mobile. It’s been insane! Now, working with Hyundai with racing and everything, it feels like I’m in a dream world! I’m waiting to wake up! [laughs]
Tell us a little about bringing that first feature film, “The Stalking Fields,” to life. It had to be an incredible learning experience for you.
Yeah! I tell people to “trust themselves and go for it” all the time. This epitomizes that for me and the group that set out to do this project. My ex-fiance, Tori Deal, was also a producer on this and is in the film. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The hard parts made it really rewarding. A friend of mine, Sean Crampton, and I co-wrote this thing. He produced it with me as well. What’s crazy is how it became a reality. We wrote this thing and then put it on the shelf because we had started working on other projects. Four years later, this thing gets picked back up because someone was looking for something like it. That got the ball rolling. I decided that if we were going to do this, I needed to have some skin in the game. I decided to step up and take on most of the financial backing. What I wanted was to not lose control. People were interested, but I thought, “I really want to do something our way.” Hollywood has this strange standard of excess. They waste so much. It’s incredible the amount of budget that goes to B.S. [laughs] For me, growing up in the country and having a construction company, we had to make everything last. The scrap wood would go into stuff. We’d use every last piece until there wasn’t anything left. If you could pull out the nails and not bend them, we’d keep them! It was all about efficiency. That is the mindset that we bring to the table in producing. I set out to show that we could make a million-dollar film for less than a million dollars.
Having seen some of your work, you’ve definitely succeeded in that task. It literally looks like a million bucks. Gorgeous work!
Thank you! It was an amazing experience, and the team was incredible. We ended up with a great distribution company, Gravitas Ventures. So, you can buy or rent “The Stalking Fields” anywhere. Making that film become a reality was a lot of fun!
You have another new project on the way. What can you tell us about ‘Helmet’? It looks like a wild ride!
It’s so serendipitous. Entertainment and athletics have been these two parallel universes in my life. ‘Helmet’ is based on the true story of a race car driver who got in a bad wreck and never could get over it and get back into the car. As a result, he started towing trucks in 1970s Los Angeles. In the 70s, the towing game in LA was first come, first served. So, if there was a wreck, the first tow truck that got there got the tow and got paid for it. As you can see, that prompts towing companies to do some shady things, like causing wrecks to be the first ones there. There were even turf wars! They also used those tow trucks to move a lot of contraband. This was an absolutely crazy time in LA. Think ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ meets ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ This was a super fun project. There is a lot of driving in the film, which was awesome! We had some really cool roads back up in the hills. The Mustang that you see in the movie is actually my personal Mustang. They discovered I had that and said, “Hey, this car is period perfect. Would you mind using it?” I said, “Not at all! Bring your wife to work? Sure!” [laughs]
‘Helmet’ is based on the life of Bart Rome. Did you spend much time with him preparing for the role?
One of my favorite movies ever, and one that I have watched over and over again, is ‘Days of Thunder.’ When I talk to Bart Rome, it’s like he is Rowdy Burns or one of those guys from the movie. I just loved listening to his stories. We got the chance to have lunch and dinner a few times, and we got pretty close. He was on set the whole time as well. He was there to help make sure we were hitting this thing correctly. Having Bart there on set helped tremendously! The stories that he told were incredible. It’s so wild to think that safety wasn’t even secondary back in the day. It was almost third or fourth! They were wild with some of the things they were lining up. I loved those stories so much. It was such a different time, and it really was like a movie! I really wish I could’ve experienced that type of environment in racing.
You mentioned your creative partner Sean Crampton. You’ve obviously got a great working relationship. What does he bring to the table and bring out of you creatively?
Sean and I have known each other for a long time. We met at the gym. You can tell, almost immediately, when you’re working out with a guy if they are someone who pushes, pushes you, and has that good camaraderie. We got along in that sense very quickly. In LA, it’s hard to find genuine people. So, I keep them close when I do find them. Sean and I were two kindred spirits and have always stuck together. We pushed each other, so we started writing together. We come from very similar backgrounds. While he grew up in Southern California and I grew up in Oklahoma, which are very different, the circumstances were very similar. Our fathers were very similar. His father was an ex-Navy Seal, so he came from a very regimented household. My father was an ex-All-American wrestler and football player, so the regimentation was similar even though it was in two separate places. It helps when you have someone who understands your point of view when trying to create something out of thin air. To find people who can see your vision is a special thing. Sean and I have found that, and I feel pretty dang lucky!
Tell us a bit about your process for breathing life into a new character?
When I was growing up, physical comedy was the thing that spoke to me the most. You had incredible performers like Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, and Eddie Murphy. So, I look at every little mannerism and detail. That lets me know more about where an emotion comes from, so I pay attention and catch every little detail from the hands to the feet. While they are speaking, I focus on where their eyes go, if they dart, or how they blink. I’m very functional in that way; I’m a very visual learner. Sounds also play a big role. I’m listening for very specific sounds and inflections. With a movie like ‘Helmet,’ where you’re portraying a real person, more pressure is involved than just creating a character. There is an actual standard. Nobody has any expectations when you bring a character to life on your own. So, meeting the person you will be playing can be nerve-racking. I was a little nervous because Bart was there. I wondered if he would come around at some point and say, “Ya know, I wouldn’t do it like that!” He didn’t! In fact, he was super encouraging. As I said, we had the chance to eat lunch together a few times. I watched him the entire time to capture as much of his energy as possible and mimicking it as much as I could.
What are the biggest successes and challenges you experienced in bringing ‘Helmet’ from script to screen?
The biggest success is how big we made this thing for the little we had going into it. That’s a real credit to the team that was assembled. The challenges came from the shots we were getting and the rigging. The camera team did some amazing stuff on this film. Watching those guys work was incredible. We’re out in the desert, and it’s hot, and you see those guys working through it. They were rigging everything up and keeping everyone safe. That was so important because we did some pretty high-speed stuff. It reminded me so much of Steve McQueen and the making of “Le Mans” when they went 170 mph to film this stuff! [laughs] Steve McQueen is The King of Cool. If I was basing a career off someone, he would be it. McQueen acted to race. He produced to race. Racing was his passion, and acting was the tool with which he got to do that. I feel very similar. I love the imaginative and creative side that acting brings out. I’m very cerebral as well, in that it’s just me and the car. You are feeling every little thing. So, to bring all of that together in ‘Helmet,’ from driving to acting to producing, was one of the best experiences ever!
How do you feel you’ve most evolved in the realm of acting since first taking the plunge?
When I first got into it, going to acting school at that studio, it was like my first experience with therapy. I come from a place where men don’t hurt. The mindset is to feel it for a second, put it away, and return to it. To act, you’ve got to feel every word. My biggest flaw, which I work on the most, is communication with others. Being able to communicate and see eye-to-eye with others in a smooth, easy way in any situation is something I continually strive for. That is what acting is. To be able to communicate well, you have to feel and be looking for everything that is behind each word. That has been my biggest challenge, both as an actor and in my life. You initially think, “Okay, I just read the paper, remember the words, and do my thing. In this scene, I’m mad. Grrrrrrr.” However, that won’t convince you that I’m actually mad. You’ve got to feel it. If you fake it, they’ll know. You feel it by listening to every word. Inherently, that sticks with you. I think that’s one of the biggest things we should all work on in life — hearing each other. A little consideration goes a long way!
Your life has been a complete whirlwind over the past several months. You announced you’d pursue a career as a professional race car driver. That’s a lot to unpack, so walk us through the build-up to this exciting new chapter!
I mentioned ‘Days of Thunder’ earlier. That’s why I feel like I’m in this dream right now, like, “C’mon! Is this real?!” [laughs] I love that film! Tom Cruise gets off the motorcycle and walks up. They’re like, “You’re the new guy.” He takes this other guy’s car out; he does sick, so they give him a ride! Flash to real life, a year ago, I had just got done with ‘The Challenge All-Stars: Season 3.’ I got back, and my manager reached out to me. He said, “Hey, man. Hyundai reached out, and they want to do a deal.” I was like, “Heck yeah! They’ve got a good race team. I’ve been watching them on the IMSA Circuit.” So, we do this deal, and I’m an ambassador for them. They would send me some of their latest cars, and I’d drive them and post about the experience. It was awesome! I reached out to let them know that I was super into the racing world and community.
I’m a big F1 Fan, and I grew up racing motocross, so I have a longtime love affair with motorsports. They were like, “Okay, great! Why don’t you come out to the first race in Daytona.” I was like, “Dayton International?!! Heck yeah!” So, I went out there and ended up working the pits with them. They asked if I wanted to run their pit boards, calling the cars into the pit. I get in there with them and am totally in my element! [laughs] Now, I’m where I grew up, and I couldn’t have felt more at home.
Hyundai has its factory team, but they also have a satellite team. I met the owner, Bob Deily, and discovered they are based in Oklahoma! It’s only 20 minutes away from where I grew up! His son, Jacob Deily, is 17 years old and is the youngest driver on the grid. This kid is ridiculously fast! So, we hit it off immediately. After the race, he said, “Hey, we’ll have some test days coming up. If you want to come out, we can put you in a race car, and you can go have some fun!” It was an instant yes from me! [laughs] Two weeks later, I flew out to Oklahoma, to this amazing track called the Hallet Motor Racing Circuit. They had the big cars over here doing their testing with their pro drivers, but they had a few extra race cars on the side. They said, “Here, man. You can take one of these other cars and have fun!” You can drive as much as you want, so I drove over 350 laps in three days for the next three days! [laughs] At one point, they were like, “How are you doing this? Are you not tired? That’s crazy!” I was like, “Heck no! I can keep doing this all day!” By the end, they looked at my lap times, and I was 1/2 a second faster than a couple of their drivers. They asked me, “Do you think you could do this with people around you?” Because I wasn’t racing other people, I was going out there doing fast laps and trying to stay out of the way. They think that I’m just some guy they are putting in a car, but in my head, I’m playing Tom Cruise! I was like, “Where’s Rowdy Burns? Goddammit!” [laughs]
Did this include hitting the pace car like Robert Duval’s character advises in the movie? [laughs]
[laughs] I’ve got a great story about that! I’ll get to that in a second. In the meantime, they said, “We’ve got five or six guys coming out here tomorrow. If you want to come out, we can put you through some mock races to see how you do in traffic.” Immediately, I was like, “Hell, yes!” I extended my stay and came out the next day. They started me at the back, and we would do some 5-7 lap races. I managed to work my way through, and my lap times got even faster! Hyundai finds out about it and says, “Here’s the deal. Do you think you can get your pro-license?” I said, “Sure. What do I have to do to do that?” I was told I needed a race resume, which included registering for many races, doing well, and stacking up a resume. From there, you can apply to get your pro-license. Hyundai’s home race is Laguna Seca; they are the namesake of that race.” They said, “This race is in 6 weeks. Do you think you could race in that?” My ego was like, “Yeaaaaahh, why not?” [laughs] we found four or five different races over the next six weeks and scheduled more track days. For the four or five races, I would fly out, and they would have a car ready, and I’d race all weekend. I ended up on the podium in pretty much all of the races. I did get crashed out in one because of a bent tirerod, so we couldn’t finish. Within an hour, the team got it all knocked out, and we were back in the next race with a Top 10 finish! We stacked up that resume! On the track days, we’d bring in some other pro drivers, and they would give their assessment. They also wrote a couple of letters of recommendation to Beaux Barfield, the guy at IMSA who says yes or no to your license. I applied, and he said, “Yeah!” About 8 days before Laguna Seca, I got my pro license. They got the car ready and took the semi out to Laguna Seca, where I made my pro debut!
Alright, before it slips my mind, hit us with this pace car story!
Yeah, absolutely!, So, I go for it a little bit! [laughs] We’re doing some mock races and stuff. In endurance racing, there are multiple classes on track. We have a guy named George in the pits who helps out a lot. He quotes that line from ‘Days of Thunder’ as I get into the car. [laughs] I hear him say, “I want you to go back out on that track and hit the pace car.” So, I respond with, “Hit the pace car?” And he fires back, “Because you hit every other car out there, I want you to be perfect!” [laughs]
So, he does this, and we get three or four mock races in. They end up sending this guy on the track, and he’s coming up behind me. It was this whole thing, and I didn’t know he was behind me. So, I come over, and BAMMMM! I nailed him and ended up denting his fender. It was a whole thing, and we got it all on video. It’s incredible. I was like, “George, why the hell did you say something!” [laughs] That was my first contact experience. Out of habit, I got out of the car, looked at Bob, and said, “Well, at least we did it now!” It was hilarious! Racing is all about finding that limit. To find it, you’ve got to go over it a few times, so managing when you go over it is the biggest deal when it comes to racing. If you’re hitting the wall every single time, you can’t afford it! [laughs] The cars we are in, these Hyundais, are roughly $200,000!
It’s definitely an exciting time for you. What is the game plan when it comes to this new career?
We really did well at Laguna Seca. So, Hyundai and the Deily Motorsports Team said, “Hey, if you’re serious about this, we’d like you to stick around for the rest of the season. Try to get as much experience as possible, and let’s hit the 2024 season hard!” I’ll do the full season in 2024, and we have six more races in the 2023 season. We aim to hit the rest of the six, starting in Canada at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. That is the next round that we will hit. I’m excited to run through the rest of the schedule and gain even more experience.
After those first couple of test days, when we realized this was real, we immediately started shooting a documentary series. We wanted to document everything around it, so we’ve been compiling all this footage. We decided to slowly start releasing it. We have so much footage because we’re literally filming everything! We will get the rest of the season and everything that happens there. We will probably gear up to do a full season of episodes for the 2024 season and attack this thing really hard. Racing is where my heart is. It’s the competition, but it’s creative too. You are finding these lines and mastering the art of gas, brake, and steering while asking the tires to do more than they are willing to. You have an intense relationship with the car. For me, racing encompasses all of it. When you’re in there, you must be completely present. That is what we are all constantly looking for in life. Even though it’s cheating and I’m using a tool to do it, I’m finding that space of peace while I’m in that car.
You keep yourself in great shape for the competition on ‘The Challenge.’ How do the physical demands in racing stack up to racing stack up to your previous experiences?
Starting out, I didn’t think the fitness thing would be an issue. I do triathlons, so I thought, “Yeah, this will be fine!” [laughs] We do endurance racing, which is two or four hours long. At least once in the race, you have to do a driver change. Each driver has a minimum of 40 mins. For a two-hour race, I’m generally driving for an hour. For a four-hour race, I’m driving for two hours. It sits at about 140º to 145º in the car the entire time. We also wear full flameproof long johns, socks, a balaclava over our heads, a helmet, and a fire suit. At Laguna Seca, I drove for an hour and five minutes, and I lost over ten pounds in that hour! [laughs] The craziest part is that when I’m in the car, I run my watch to check my heart rate. I’m sitting at 118 to 120 BPM, and it doesn’t feel like anything. Then there is the moment when you pull into the pit. You start taking everything off. The other driver is he’s helping me unstrap. I get out and start strapping him in. You hear everything going on in the pit and the cars flying by. You snap him in, get the net, shut the door, and jump over the wall. As soon as you get over that wall, the world around you slows down to what seems like zero MPH since you were doing well over 100 MPH. At that moment, my heart rate skyrocketed up to 180 BPM! I felt like I had just finished an Iron Man! The suit came all the way down to the ankles, and I was sitting with some water. I was like, “Wow!” It was a total adrenaline dump, and I had used everything in there to keep calm. It is a wild experience and something you don’t expect!
What have you learned about yourself through your romance with professional racing?
That’s a good question. Racing is a whole new challenge. I was chatting with Bob, the team owner, recently. I said, “You know what’s weird about this experience? It’s taught me to be a student again.” I’ve been using my body for my entire life, and I’m very good at it. Physical things come very easily. That’s why I’ve excelled on ‘The Challenge.’ The tool is my body, and it’s the best tool that I have. It’s better than any tool that I will ever pick up. I use my body better than anything. Now, with car racing, you’re using a tool. You have to control that tool, and the setup of the tool changes with every track, every temperature change of that track, weather, dirt, and so on. This is a whole new experience, and I’m using completely different elements of my senses to control it. So, I’ve become a student again. That has taught me to put the ego away. I’m not going to be the fastest or the best. I’m not going to walk out to the track, get in the car, and run the show. You have to listen, learn and be humble enough to take the advice. That has been a great reset for me.
Your primary focus is on professional racing. What does that mean regarding your participation in future seasons of ‘The Challenge?’
I’ve had a unique relationship with ‘The Challenge.’ I did my first three Challenges in a row, and I’m super grateful for the opportunity, but it has never been my dream. My entire career, I’ve been very vocal with my family and friends that I don’t want to just be this. So, throughout my career on ‘The Challenge,’ I’ve always reminded myself that it’s okay to step away for a bit. When I won “Exes II,’ I stepped away and decided to focus on acting. When I did that, I got the biggest role of my life and ended up doing almost 40 episodes with Tyler Perry on “If Loving You Is Wrong.” That experience in itself was like going to an acting and producing boot camp! I didn’t know it before the series, but I know it now, Tyler Perry is the hardest-working man in Hollywood. That dude and what he has going on is seriously impressive. He owns everything he does, and watching him work is amazing. It was a clinic, and had I not had the courage to say no to ‘The Challenge,’ I would have never had that experience. Listen, it’s difficult to turn down that money. When you don’t have money or come from having little money, it’s very hard to turn down a job that gives you more money than you’ve ever made at another job. I said to myself, “I believe I can do this.” You have to try, and you must commit, and to me, saying no is the full commit.
I’ll say this; when it comes up, and it will, if I can make the schedules work, I’m going to do both. For sure! With that said, racing is going to win for a little bit! I’ve got to get established there. I want people to Know that this isn’t a marketing ploy. This isn’t just some influencer who’s gone racin’! [laughs] I’m a competitor and a racer at heart. Even though I grew up doing it on two wheels, it’s the same race craft. It’s about setting someone up, picking lines, and swapping lines. I want to make a statement. I want to let everyone in the racing world know I’m here to race, not for social media posts.
You’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. You always have, but I’m sure you’re looking at things differently as you’ve gotten older. What do you look for in the endeavors you take on these days?
Number one, and this is something I hope I am always put first, is fun. I will ask myself, “Is it fun? Do I want to be working on this?” What I’ve come to figure out in the past few years is that I have a finite ability to take on things. I love to take on everything, say yes to everyone, and build everything out. I’m so hands-on in that way. However, I’ve had to learn that there is a finite power to what I can spread. I look at everything that comes up and say, “Do I want to spend my time on this? Does this mean something to me?” They always say, “Write what you know.” Right now, it’s more like “Produce what I know.” I love filmmakers like Peter Berg. He goes out and gives you such a real feel of the thing. That’s what I want to do! Growing up, I watched movies and television and thought, “That’s not how that happens. Nah, it wouldn’t go like that. Why’d they do it like that?” [laughs] I’m one of those guys, so I like to make stuff like that, so I love it when projects tap into my background. My whole goal in life is to make good shit with my friends. I want to be able to put my friends on, and they can put me on. I want to show up and help on their projects to help them with whatever they need, and I want to be able to pull them here as well. That’s what I want. I want to bounce around doing the fun things that my crew and my family love to do. That’s the goal! My goal is to not have a job but to do what I like! [laughs]
Well, Jordan. From the outside looking in, it certainly appears that you are living that dream! I couldn’t be happier for you!
Yeah, man! Thank you So much!
Any tips on finding that type of creative balance?
Sell out for it. The best advice I’ve ever received came from someone I refer to as my spiritual mother. Her name is Jean Vaziri. She’s an amazing, powerful woman. I went and met with her years ago. When I walked in, she immediately grabbed me in her arms and told me how much she loved me. She stepped back and said, “My son, why are you so afraid of success.” I was so confused by her question. I said, “I’m not afraid. That’s what I want more than anything. I want to succeed.” She asked, “Then why don’t you?” I asked her what she meant, and she said, “Stop waiting for someone to give you a chance and just make it. You need to go out and be selfish. Do things for you. Do them not for anyone else but for you. Don’t wait for someone to put you in something. If you want to do something, you figure out a way to make it yourself.”
To me, that meant selling out for myself. I mean, I made some financial decisions that were a bit risky. It’s things like, “I wouldn’t spend all that on a film, but I’m going for it because this is what I want, and I believe I can do it. I believe that my team can do it!” And we did! Anytime you take on a new challenge, you’re setting yourself up to go through a trial. It’s the trial that will make you something. You’ll never get something if you don’t sacrifice for it. The universe isn’t going to be like, “Oh, you’ve got it easy right now? Here, take this!” [laughs] It’s never going to do that! You’ve got to give something to get something. So, whatever it is, just sell out for it.
Work ethic was a big thing for my Dad. He would always tell us, “I could drop y’all off anywhere, and you could dig a hole or dig a ditch to make some money to eat. If you can do that every single day, keep building it up and work toward something, you can get there.” Even if you fail, you can build back. That’s what I always took from that. Even if I fall all the way to the bottom, I can dig another hole for somebody, get a little bit, make more the next day, and keep going. You can always make more. As long as you don’t stop, you can always make more!
I can’t thank you enough for your time today, Jordan. It’s been incredible to get a glimpse into your world. I look forward to catching up with you again soon and wish you continued success! Stay safe out there!
Thanks, Jason! It’s been great. I’d love to chat with you again soon! Take care!
‘Helmet’ is scheduled to make its World Premiere at the 26th Annual Dances With Films event in Hollywood on July 1st, 2023.
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.