Niche market: Palm Desert’s Jenica Bergere on film

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Jenica Bergere is hoping the Fourth will represent financial independence day.

The Palm Desert High School graduate turns 38 on July 4 and her film career is suddenly exploding.

“I can honestly say that my life experiences and my age and my tenacity have brought me to my place in my career right now — not wealthy, but healthy,” Bergere said in several email exchanges. “The body of work I am cultivating right now is carving a new niche for me. In terms of casting, I am right in the pocket of a lot of stories that are being told right now in film.”

Bergere, who studied theater with former Palm Desert High School instructor Sherry Wollenberg, burst into television at age 21 with a role in the 1995 TV movie “The Faculty” starring Meredith Baxter. That led to a recurring role in the series of the same name.

She also landed a recurring role that year in the sitcom “Ink” starring Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. In 1997, she was cast in a featured role in “Men Behaving Badly” with Rob Schneider. In 1998-99, she played Sharon Bridges in “The Drew Carey Show.”

In between TV appearances, she did stand-up comedy.

But, after a decade in which she started a family and made guest appearances on shows such as “Felicity,” “Ally McBeal,” “Saving Grace” and “Bones,” Bergere made a career change that is now paying off in volumes.

“My very calculated plan of being the star of my own TV show was one executive away from happening,” she said. “Career safety isn’t guaranteed. But I am having a great upcoming film year, which was accidental.”

Bergere is working in nine films this year, including three that are in the can, four in post-production and two that came out last week. One, “Safety Not Guaranteed,” is playing at the Century at the River. Another, “Love Or Whatever,” premiered at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, the nation’s leading LGBT film fest.

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