Jessica Bunevacz Talks Being A Mom And Modeling Manager - Exclusive Interview

Jessica Bunevacz is a former model whose 18-year-old daughter, Breanna, is now pursuing the same career path. Since her daughter discovered an interest in modeling at a young age, Jessica has been working to help her achieve her dreams and become the next supermodel in the family. She plays a double act balancing parenting and managing her daughter's professional life. Jessica also sees their relationship as a friendship and partnership and believes their closeness will help them to succeed.

E!'s new docuseries, "Raising a F***ing Star," follows the mother-daughter duo and other families with big dreams. Viewers will get a peek behind the scenes at all the work going into creating the next generation of hopeful stars. Jessica sat down for an exclusive interview with The List to discuss the series — and she opened up about some of the challenges of managing Breanna's modeling career as well as some of her parenting tips and her biggest concerns about her daughter modeling.

Her biggest challenge managing her daughter's career

What's been the biggest challenge for you in managing your daughter's career?

Oh, my gosh. Her being a b***h — no, I'm kidding ... The biggest challenge is for her; it's sometimes when she's not in the mood that is actually the biggest challenge that I have for her.

Other than that, she's actually so easy. We have a very good relationship, my daughter and I. We are very open with each other. We talk a lot. We talk about everything, so for her, it's only when she's not in the mood, and that's the challenge for her. Sometimes the younger generation [is] on the entitled side and a little bit of laziness side, but I push her.

I push her so much that sometimes it irritates her, but one good thing about her is when it's work, it is work. It's time to work. She's very focused. She used to be an equestrian, so she has this whole attitude of being hyper-focused. She's so hyper-focused that ... she can literally have everyone be silent, and all she's doing is her job. She's very focused with her job.

That's amazing. What first made you want to start this with her? Was it her idea that she wanted to model, or was it something you thought of?

No. One time, I did a photo shoot. When we moved here, she was already into acting. She did a couple of theater acting and stuff. She actually played Dorothy. I used to be an actress, so I thought she wanted to be an actress. Then I did a photo shoot for her, and all of a sudden, when she came home, she was like, "Mom, I really enjoyed that." I believe she was 12 or 11. 

She was like, "I really enjoy that. I think I want to model." I said, "Oh, my God, you're still too young." She was like, "No, can we just try?" We signed up with an agency — I took her there, and that's how it started. We did one photo shoot to another photo shoot. Then, out of nowhere, someone from Instagram — she only had 50 followers then — approached us about a whole modeling show ["Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid"]. Out of nowhere, we got that show. That's how it started.

Why she worried about her daughter modeling

Modeling can be a tough industry. Do you ever worry about that with her and how young she is?

Yeah. It's so tough. I told her from the beginning, "You really want to be a model? Are you sure? Not everyone will like you, and then you will hear negative stuff about you, and you have to be thick face. You have to accept this." She's a tough cookie, that girl. She doesn't care what anyone says about her. She's like, "Okay, whatever." But when they say that she's not good at it or she didn't do it well, she will actually do it better next time. She's like, "Really? You're challenging me. Okay. Next time I'll do this." That's good. That's actually good for her.

What is your biggest priority as you're managing her career and also being her parent? What do you feel is your goal for her?

My priority is her finishing school. I told her this. I said, "Please, even if." I know a lot of her friends didn't go to college and stuff. She just actually graduated from high school, and I'm like, "No, I don't care. I don't care even if you do online or a course for two years or something like that, but I want you to finish school in case any of the modeling or the acting doesn't work out. At least you have a fallback." I always teach them that. I want you to have three things in your life all the time.

School is her priority. But if she becomes busy, I hope [it's with] her modeling, and I'm eyeing her modeling because this is her first love, ever since she was 11 years old. But at the same time, I'm also [interested in] the music industry because right now her song is doing well, and she's not even promoting it. I'm like, "Wow, you're almost at a million followers and listeners." I said, "It means that people like your voice. Let's get out there and do this as well."

It's modeling and school, modeling and singing, but I will not forget that she's also a teenager. She loves [and] she wants to enjoy her being a teenager. I allow her to have a boyfriend. In fact, I love the boyfriend. I love her boyfriend and going out and hanging out with friends. I want her to have time for that and not just all work and not just school. She'll get crazy if it's all work. I want to balance it.

How she gets her daughter to listen to her

Do you feel there are any challenges for you balancing being a parent and then also managing her career? Is that difficult?

Sometimes they don't listen. You don't listen. It's like how kids don't listen to their parents all the time. I have to find somebody — this is my trick. If I want to say something and I know she won't listen, I'm going to find someone who I know that she would listen to. For example, [it might be] her agent or someone that's a little bit close to me, [and] I can tell them, "Hey, can you please tell her this? Can you please advise her?" I'll look for that certain person that I know who actually agrees with me and that will talk to her. Then I can say, "See, I told you." Then she would listen. It's a third-party thing, but it's really me telling the person to tell her.

You've also worked in acting and modeling. Do you feel that's helped you in advising her and knowing how the industry works and how to help her out with it?

Totally. The whole experience that I had ... I know it's during the eighties and stuff, and it's different now, but somehow it's still the same, the challenges and everything. It's still going to be the same. I told her specifically that any bad publicity that you will get — or any negative publicity — will always be good for you, so don't get affected by it.

My challenge with her is mostly pushing her on social media. One thing I'm proud of her for is that she's not a social media person. But that's why I'm like, "You have to do this. You have to post more and do this and do that." But she listens.

Maintaining a close relationship with her daughter

How are you both feeling about the show premiering tomorrow? Are you excited to see it?

We're so excited because we don't know what's going to happen. We know what we filmed, but we don't know what's going to come out and all. We're so excited because I want people to see or to take home after watching the show that, "This mom and daughter, they're so close and they're open about everything." If you have that close relationship with your daughter or with your children and if you work hard for it, you'll get there. Whatever goal you both have, you will get there. 

The relationship of a mom and a daughter or a parent or a child is very important. It's like husband and wife. If it's not both of you, it's not going to succeed. If it's both the parent and the child ... Whatever your dream or your goal in life is, if both of you are together, it's stronger, and you will get that. You will go there smoothly, and you'll succeed.

How do you feel you've been able to maintain that close relationship with her? Do you have any tips for parents?

Be their best friend, go out with them. It's not just work. Be a parent, be a best friend, be their sister — or, in my case, a sister — and be a friend that she can hang out with. Sorry about this, but I party with her. What is the other term for a close friend that she can rely on, relate to, and that she can talk to about anything?

I don't know if I can say this, but we talk about everything, sex to boyfriends to relationships and best friends, and when she's angry at me. If there is a certain thing that you have to discuss, it's like with husband and wife. If there's something that I feel, "Breanna, I didn't like the way you acted toward so and so," or something — be open right away. Discuss it right away and then close that chapter. That's the best thing. Be their good friend. Be the best friend to them and not just a mom.

"Raising a F***ing Star" can be streamed on DirecTV stream, FuboTV, Sling, Hulu + Live TV and YouTubeTV.

This interview was edited for clarity.