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Mayville, N.D., insurance agent plays self in TV commercial

Jessica DeClercq

Jessica DeClercq's first brush with television-induced celebrity came uninvited. But at least acting in a nationally televised State Farm Insurance commercial didn't take her too far out of her comfort zone.

That's because DeClercq is a State Farm Insurance agent in Mayville, N.D., and her star turn in the TV commercial "State of Regret" most likely will be a one-time event.

"If I got asked to be in another one, I would," DeClercq said in an interview Tuesday. "However, I would definitely rather be an insurance agent."

DeClercq was nominated to be in the commercial by one of State Farm Insurance vice presidents. After two auditions, she was flown to Los Angeles where she spent most of April 22 ("A very long day," she said) shooting the commercial which began airing June 13.

In the spot, DeClercq is shown sitting behind her desk in her State Farm office taking a call from a somewhat flustered Jerry, whose car is leaning precariously from a utility pole, and who becomes even more flustered when Jessica reminds him that he just dropped his insurance coverage.

"Is your car up a pole again?" DeClercq asks Jerry. "Jerry, are you crying?"

"The longer it's on, the more people I have asking me about it when I'm out and about in the community," she said. "More and more people are recognizing me so it's been ..." -- she paused for a moment and then continued -- "cool. It's definitely been a positive influence."

DeClercq said she's not used to that kind of attention. She's never acted in anything before nor taken any acting classes.

"I did get a script but once we got there we didn't follow it to a 'T,'" she said.

She grew up in southeastern Saskatchewan on a farm near Alameda. Her parents were originally from North Dakota and she attended college here before she began working for State Farm. She lived in Colorado for five years, then returned to North Dakota in 2007 where her job was to travel Minnesota and help new agents open State Farm offices. On Jan. 1, 2010, she opened her own agency in Mayville.

Even though it was just one day, DeClercq had her own little slice of the acting experience: A 5:30 a.m. drive to the set, breakfast made to order with the crew, running her lines with the producer, wardrobe and make-up. Her co-star in the commercial (Jerry) was a professional actor.

Even after weeks on TV, her commercial is still making waves.

"Everyone was extremely shocked and surprised," she said. "I mean, I still don't think it's hit me that I'm on national TV."