Very few people develop extraordinary careers from reality TV show appearances — but Domaine Javier’s journey was different. She already had a budding Hollywood career as a an actress and writer when she signed up for a cooking competition show on the Food Network — a decision that proved to be life-changing — solidifying her status as a fan-favorite and further catapulting her into stardom.
You have been in the business for quite some time now. How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?
I’ve always known that I’d be in the entertainment industry to a certain capacity growing up. I’ve always loved the artistry and the creativity, the glitz and the glamour, the fun and the drama. Back in college, I majored in nursing AND performing arts (with an emphasis on on-camera acting and musical theatre performance) concurrently, amongst other things. I also started out by submitting myself to open casting calls. I also did some background acting work and sent “cold emails” to entertainment industry professionals hoping to get noticed — it has done wonders for my career! In terms of appearances, MTV True Life was my first-ever full-length TV appearance. 11 years later, I’m still hustling and bustling.
You mentioned also being a registered nurse. How do you juggle multiple careers? Also, how have you been coping through the whole COVID-19 situation?
Lately I’ve just been taking it by the day and hoping for the best. The havoc that COVID-19 has brought upon us, has definitely changed us, but it shouldn’t define us.
Having a portfolio career is as stressful as much as it is fulfilling. Self-care has been really instrumental to successfully balancing everything. Someday, somehow, I’ll settle on just one. But for now, I’m just really grateful for all the opportunities that come my way.
At this time, since I’m currently not booked on a film or TV show, I temporarily work with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as a Public Health Nurse to aid with the vaccination efforts. The sooner this pandemic comes to a close, the sooner everyone’s lives would be better, including mine.
You have a propensity for breaking grounds and being a trailblazer. Recently, you made history by being the first-ever openly trans woman featured on Food Network’s 27 years in existence. What inspires you to make a difference?
Listen, the current sociopolitical climate is very turbulent. I’m simply trying to make a positive and meaningful difference in the world through my own little ways. Growing up, I didn’t have a role model who looked like me, talked like me or acted like me. I want people to see me and feel seen, loved, represented, and included. I want to inspire others to follow their dreams and be who they really want to be. I want people to say, “if she can do it, I can.”
Speaking of Food Network, you’re about to do a network appearance three-peat for the upcoming new season of Worst Cooks in America: Best of the Worst. Before that, you did (the now-infamous) season 20 of Worst Cooks in America, and its spin-off Dirty Dishes. Tell us more about the journey.
After my first Food Network stint, I was ready to move on. I was thankful for the opportunity and I was extremely proud of what I’ve done. But fate had something else planned. Dirty Dishes came along and I couldn’t bear to say no. I got to work again with my fun, fellow season 20 cast mate Louisa, and share credits with one of the entertainment industry professionals that I look up to — the very talented (and my now close friend) Alec Mapa.
When the call for Best of the Worst arrived, I was elated. Being considered a fan-favorite is such a prodigious honor. Plus, not everyone gets a second chance, and not everybody DESERVES a second chance. I happened to get one, so I’m taking advantage of this gift and cherishing every moment of it.
Until now, I’m still finding my whole Food Network journey a bit surreal. After all, I’m a transgender actor, a writer, and a nurse first. I had no idea I’d be a bonafide Food Network personality too. One thing just keeps on leading to another, but I ain’t complaining!
Your career is in an upwards trajectory and at this point, you’re basically unstoppable. What’s next for Domaine Javier?
Me? Unstoppable? Put some candy sour belts or some dried chili mangoes in front of me and I’ll come to a screeching halt.
To seriously answer your question though — for now, what’s next is yet to-be-determined. I’ll happily take whatever life throws at me and make the most out of it. But seriously, I would love to be in a superhero movie and/or TV show. But this time, not just an “ER Nurse” or a “DEO Tech” like I’ve already done before. To be a superhero or a villain with a name — that would be awesome!
As a writer, I would love for someone to bring-to-life at least one of my completed screenplays. A female visionary director like Greta Gerwig, Patty Jenkins, Lulu Wang, Angelina Jolie, or Olivia Wilde. Or an established actor who has yet to dabble in directing like Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Sandra Oh, or Jennifer Aniston. I think they would absolutely crush it.
As a Food Network personality, maybe a fun little culinary adventure-type of show with some very special guests and a hilarious twist?
You’ve touched up on it a bit, but who are some of your dream collaborations?
Meryl Streep. Tom Hanks. Bar none.
Actually, beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll take whoever wants to collaborate with me. Ha!
Fun little question: Most famous person in your phone contacts right now?
Fame has varying levels. I have someone famous for pooping themselves in public back in 6th grade. Ha. But if you’re asking about a “celebrity,” there’s quite a few prominent actors, producers, directors, athletes, chefs, and even drag royalties in there. Trust.
Lastly, if you can have one wish granted without repercussions, what would it be?
Right at this very moment — a world without COVID-19.