When Megan Cruz downloaded TikTok in March 2020, she didn’t think much of it. “The first video that I uploaded, I was like, ‘It could be cool! I could get 10,000 followers or something!’”
550,000 followers and nearly four years later, Cruz (known to her followers as JStoobs), has become one of the most prominent voices in the online film community — and she’s started dreaming a lot bigger.
While she went to school for animation, Cruz had tabled the idea of working in the entertainment industry, instead working in the food industry before running a prominent restaurant chain’s social media. Now that she’s able to focus full-time on content creation and facilitating conversations around media, Cruz is starting a new podcast, “The Broad Perspective.”
“When I was doing research, I noticed that there were there a lot of podcasts about film featuring great voices from women, but I felt like there was something that I really wanted to see that I wasn’t getting: people talking about all of the ways that media specifically can be inspirational and speak to women,” Cruz tells Variety.
“Not just women, but marginalized groups. People that don’t necessarily see themselves represented all the time in media. That’s something that I’ve talked about more and more as I’ve developed a presence in this space, and I just really thought that’s the most meaningful and wonderful thing I could do with my career. We’re reclaiming the narrative.”
When the podcast’s first episode drops on Dec. 6, fans can expect Cruz to be joined by special guests. “They’ll definitely hear some familiar voices — some people that I’ve collaborated with in the past and some people in the content creation space. We’re also going to have some wonderful and talented women from the film industry: actors, writers, directors. Hopefully it’ll be a little something for everybody,” she says.
“Podcasting has become so mainstream over the past few years,” Cruz continues. “It’s become the de facto form of entertainment that’s kind of universal. Social media and our ongoing presence on the internet has morphed into people wanting a more authentic and intimate form of entertainment. I think podcasting is a way that people can connect with people that either are like-minded, or challenge their way of thinking. It’s a very personal and intimate form of either entertainment or education, in a world where everything feels increasingly isolated and clinical.”
That effort to connect the masses through art also translates to Cruz’s new partnership with Landmark Theatres, in which she’ll host a Filmmaker Focus series spotlighting screenings of acclaimed directors’ work. “Since I moved to L.A., I’ve been really getting into archival screenings. It’s really changed my perspective on the theatrical experience,” Cruz says.
“When I started seeing older movies that I really loved or that I had never seen before in theaters, it was like a whole new world. Landmark and I started talking several months ago about doing something together, because they have a mix of new movies and blockbusters, but they also regularly do archival screenings.”
For their first project in the partnership (which will continue well into 2024), Cruz hosts a series of introductions for their Yorgos Lanthimos series, in anticipation of this year’s “Poor Things.”
“We are delighted to join forces with Megan Cruz, Aka JStoobs, whose passion for cinema and insightful commentary aligns seamlessly with Landmark Theatre’s commitment to delivering exceptional film experiences. This partnership reflects our dedication to engaging with diverse audiences and fostering a deeper appreciation for the art of filmmaking,” Mark Mulcahy, Head of Brand/Marketing at Landmark Theatres said in a statement.
Cruz isn’t taking these opportunities for granted. “Five years ago, if you’d asked me, I never would have thought that I could be you know, doing these kind of things. It’s like Liam Neeson: I’m using the very unique set of skills that I have,” she says with a laugh.
“I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. It’s amazing to me to see these kinds of partnerships, and the podcast is truly a passion project. That doesn’t even feel like a big enough word. I’m so excited to facilitate these conversations and share them with people. I feel really lucky and kind of amazed that this moment is happening. I’m grateful.”