Helene Simkin Jara is an actor, director, and writer. Her poems, stories, and plays have been published 34 times, winning various awards. She wrote her first book in third grade. Her self-published book Because I Had To, a collection of short stories, plays, and monologues, was on Kindle’s best-seller list in July 2014. She has also self-published True Doll Stories We Remember and Turn Left at the Gorilla and Go Down the Hall, and just released her fourth book, Life On The Stand, a memoir of her time working as an artist's model.
Helene has a BA in Theatre Arts (UCLA, 1969) and lives in Santa Cruz, California.
”What happens when a creative soul whose default response to the world is “Yes!” signs up to be a nude model? ‘Life on the Stand’ is a lively, funny, head-spinning account of Helene Simkin Jara’s experiences as an artists model in the hedonistic, let-it-all-hang-out era of the 1970s. The author takes us all on a wild romp from New York to Los Angeles to Big Sur to the capitals of Europe before landing in San Francisco. In the process, she introduces us to a parade of eccentric, often unforgettable characters in the outlandish and spirited world of artists and models. The result is a whirlwind of a memoir that is — to borrow one such character’s assessment of the kind of people who become artists models — ‘crazy, demented, flamboyant, and exhibitionistic.’” –Wallace Baine, author of ‘A Light in the Midst of Darkness: The Story of a Bookshop, a Community and True Love’
”Helene Simkin Jara is a cool cat. Her Fellini film of a memoir is pure reading pleasure, a wild romp through the world of artists models in San Francisco in the free fall, free form years just after the Summer of Love. The voice is wan and sexy, the alert eye always ready to wink. But for all the over-the-top fun (Please, more Boom-Boom!), there is a more profound message lurking underneath: sometimes the object of your gaze is no object, but an alert intelligence sizing you up in turn.” –Steve Kettmann, author of ‘One Day at Fenway’, ‘Remember Who You Are’, and ‘Letter to the New President’, and co-director of ‘Wellstone Center in the Redwoods’
”Helene Simkin Jara’s musings on her days in the theater and modeling are funny and touching, a truly delightful read.” –Clifford Henderson, author of five award-winning novels, including ‘Perfect Little Worlds’
”Life On The Stand takes readers into the fascinating world of artist models and Helene Simkin Jara gets naked both literally and figuratively in this compelling memoir. The stories range from amusing, to shocking, to terrifying. From Southern California to Europe to Morocco—get ready for the ride of your life—and answers to the questions you didn't know you had. Was there really a union for Artist Model's in San Francisco? What were the auditions like? How does it feel to be nude with someone else on a model stand while people draw, paint or sculpt you? Do models watch the artists? What are their inner fantasies? Helene is a powerful writer with a story to tell!”--Lara Love Hardin, CEO of Idea Architects, co-author of the NYT bestseller ‘The Sun Does Shine’, and author of the memoir, ‘The Neighbor From Hell & Other People I Have Been’