Jill Yesko is a Baltimore-based writer and documentary filmmaker. Her latest film, Tainted Blood: The Untold Story of the 1984 Olympic Blood Doping Scandal is available on Amazon and was recently screened at the International Cycling Film Festival in Barcelona. Jill is also the author of the acclaimed crime fiction novels Murder in the Dog Park and Dog Spelled Backwards: An Unholy Mystery.
What do I do best?
I like to think that I have good people skills. I was shy as a child but as adult, became an extrovert. For the most part this has served me well as a journalist and filmmaker. That said, I also know how to be a good listener—a skill that everyone should cultivate.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I usually feel that I am the best version of myself when I am traveling and can step out of my comfort zone. It gives me a freedom to be 100% naive and open to experience.
What are my aspirations?
As I enter my “third age”, I have more confidence to say no to projects and situations. Time is getting short and there is so much I want to accomplish. I want produce more long and short-form documentaries, especially those focusing on sports. There are so few women documentary filmmakers who work in this arena. My mother wants me to win an Oscar. I’d like not to have to work so hard to get my projects funded!
My Biggest Success?
I’m really proud of producing and directing my documentary Tainted Blood. I didn’t go to film school and had lots of learning by doing movements. But I wasn’t afraid to fail. When you are following your dharma, obstacles, for the most part, disappear.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Caring for my father for eight years. We weren’t particularly close, but when he got sick I knew I had to step up. It was a very, very, hard eight years for both of us. I watched my father die in slow motion. It wasn’t the kind of relationship that I envisioned us having, but it did bring us closer.
Caring for aging parents is the defining event for my generation. I tell people that eldercare is an art, not a science. Sadly, we know how it will ultimately play out.
Sometime’s a girl’s gotta be bad to be good.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Anyone who endures slings an arrows with grace is a role model.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Finally an easy question! Tulum and Oaxaca in Mexico are my go-to places. I used to live in Spain so that’s also on the list.
I’d also like to return to Chile’s Atacama desert. Closer to home, I want to go camping in Joshua Tree National Park.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I collect work from Baltimore artists like Loring Cornish and Greg Fletcher. My mother was an artist and I have some of her paintings in my home. My late grandfather was an artist as well as a dentist. He used to carve and sculpt to keep his hands nimble. I treasure his work.
My Current Passions?
Kayaking is my new love. I can’t believe I waited so long to discover it. Living in a city it’s a tremendous relief to be on the water and away from cars and noise. I’d love to kayak the rivers of Portugal next year.