Park City newcomer Jenn Silva hasn't had a headache since she moved here from Connecticut a year ago this month. That may not sound like a big deal to most of us, but it is to 23-year-old Silva. Since suffering a traumatic brain injury in a car accident seven years ago, she'd had migraine headaches almost every day. "Park City is the therapy I needed," an exuberant Silva says. "For the first time since I was 16, I am headache and migraine free."
Silva wasn't driving the car and was the only occupant injured. "At the accident site they said I had about a 20 percent chance of living," she recalls. "I was in and out of the hospital for months and had to learn how to walk all over again. I had some cognitive brain damage also. I had trouble reading and I had serious short-term memory loss. I would talk to someone and then forget everything we just said within seconds."
Silva's accident and the long recovery that followed were crucial to her way of looking at life. "It changed my perspective on what really is important in life; to not stress on the little things. Do what makes you happy with people who make you smile," she counsels.
Silva was born and grew up in Connecticut. She graduated from Suffield High School in 2008. "During my senior year a local TV station did a news story on my recovery," she says. "That experience inspired me to want to work in live television. In my sophomore year at college the same news crew gave me an internship at the station."
Two months after taking a degree in communications at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, the newly minted college graduate found herself in Park City. "It was my first ever move. My aunt, Chip Cook, has lived here since 1990 and encouraged me to move here. She and her family opened their home to me and I lived with them until this May, when I got an apartment of my own," she explains.
Within weeks of her arrival, Silva was working as an intern at Park City Television. "It was a great job! Terry Burden is the 'host with the most' and the director, Kevin Rapf, took me under his wing and taught me how to run the show. This was a great hands-on opportunity to see how a live TV show is made," she says.
After her internship, Silva worked last winter as hostess at Legends at the Park City Mountain Resort. Like many 20-something Parkites, Silva has been working two jobs lately: in the box office at the historic Egyptian Theatre for the last five months and as a server at the Eating Establishment on Main Street. "I love both my jobs," she gushes. "My coworkers at the 'Double E' are more of a family to me and have helped me feel at home here."
Two weeks ago she was offered a full-time position at the Egyptian, splitting her time between the box office and the visual arts department. "I'll be assisting in creating on-screen video and stills images and videotaping shows.
"The theater gives me the opportunity I've been looking for, to build my career and work creatively in a new theatrical aspect. I have never been happier at a job," Silva says.
Park City will be Silva's home for the foreseeable future. "Every day there is something going on in this town. It brings people out of their houses and gets them involved in the community. There is so much opportunity to try new things and find your niche. I bought a mountain bike and I'm getting into skiing."
Steve Phillips is a Park City-based writer and actor. Send your profile comments and suggestions to email@example.com.
Favorite things to do: attend free concerts and other free activities
Favorite foods: "Mac & cheese will always be my go-to food. It's the only thing I know how to cook and I cook it all the time."
Favorite performers: Tom Petty, Foo Fighters, all the crazy performers at "Burning Man" last year.
Favorite reading: "1984" by George Orwell and "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury
Bucket list: Travel to the West Coast and Australia
Animal companions: "I have an Australian shepherd/poodle back in Connecticut. She's three years old and I miss her every day."