“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~Harriet Tubman
I have had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Jahmilla Jackson over the last year. To me, she is JJJAAACCCKKK! and, to her, I am FFFIIITTTZZZ! What a positive, motivated and caring person she is -- someone you definitely want to know.
If there ever was a Dream Catcher, it is Jahmilla! Her radiant smile and outlook on life will give you something to take with you and remember. Here is her story, and she’s stickin’ to it!
Q. What is your background?
A. My family originates from Louisiana but I was born and raised in Long Beach, CA. In the mid 80s, we I went to Disneyland and that's where I met Joseph (Joey) Lawrence. The feelings that took over my body as I went to ask for his autograph were not only memorable, but epic. That was the moment I knew what I wanted to do in life.
Once introduced to "behind the scenes" (BTS), Michael Jacksons Thriller (The making of Thriller) and BTS of Back to the Future, my love for this industry was set. My first headshots were done in 1996.
I remember saying to myself, everyone looks so happy while on set -- I want to be happy. That's all I knew. When I'm no longer happy is when I know it's time to move on. No one knew this journey I was pursuing, half the time I didn't know if I was going to pursue it myself. I took the long scenic route. After graduating from high school, I received a basketball scholarship to Central AZ College. Then, basketball moved me to CSU, San Bernardino.
While living in a non-awakened state, I coasted and learned to intake my present moments. I've worked in many fields, all helping me grow and understand myself more than I ever have.
I've never really pushed myself because everything has come to me so easy. I went from making 70K a year to no income. Although I have no income at the moment, I have never been happier pursing my acting career and pushing myself to become an A-list in-demand actress.
Q. How did you get involved in entertainment specifically and why did you make it a career?
A. Deciding to cruise toward my passion, I searched acting schools. After two sessions, and buying all of Keith Wolfes’ paperback books, I registered with Central Casting.
After months and months of calling in to Central Casting, I stopped calling. Miraculously, it was almost a year later they contacted me offering me an audition for the hit TV series "The Office.” I had never seen the show, but remembered a lot of my acting mates discussing it and stating that Rayne Wilson used to teach at our acting school.
After my shine on "The Office," I then moved into the "ultra low budget" (ULB) world. Craig Robinson warned me I was spoiled on the set of "The Office." Boy was I. After lots of ULB sets, I've built a resume for not only acting but the other side of the eye, as well. Ranging from PA to Producer, I have tiptoed through many departments and learned a ton.
This industry chose me. I wish I wasn't so passionate about acting and all the different departments. It's definitely a tough climb, but I decided to just enjoy the ride. I have no idea where this cruise is sailing me, but I do know as long as I follow what makes my heart smile, it will always bring out the best in me. That's what I intend to give the world -- the best me possible.
Q. Tell us about the process you’ve been through to garner attention for your work.
A. To garner attention to me, I do most of my interaction via the Internet, meeting like-minded individuals to help promote their visions. I have accounts on Stage 32, Karmalicity, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. People just want to feel they are given undivided attention. Coming from the heart, truly the core heart, you can't help but want to read up on this person. I have no special powers -- I'm better than no one, I just see things differently.
Q. Can you tell us about some of the people who have stepped up to support your efforts?
A. My mother is my biggest supporter. From helping me cut resumes and attaching them to the back of headshots, to stuffing envelopes, helping with an opening cover letter and even loaning money. We’ve had our rocky roads but the love will never fade.
My brother, who watches from above, he too had many visions. I pray to fulfill his, as well as mine. I love you, Jamaal, and miss you so very much.
A few cousins and friends have been very big supporters from feeding me to loaning money to keeping me afloat. It really helps hearing comments such as, "If I had your drive," or "You keep me inspired to never give up." I honestly had no idea I was somewhat of a role model. I just treat people how I know I will be treated once I hit that 5-star life.
My cousin. Carolyn Comeaux, always makes sure a sista got a meal. From long, late-night talks to early morning walks, pushing each other to do better.
A friend and former/future co-worker, Yesenia Jimenez, has been the first friend to ever loan me a large sum of money to help with my monthly bills. This woman right here will never have to worry about a thing when I make it. She may not see what I vision, but she never ever once said I wouldn't be able to do it.
Then, there’s my Mexican family who invites me over, getting them all hooked on Orange Is The New Black, as well as other shows on Netflix. Hope to get on that set!!
Long Lost Pictures (Editors) has been a major factor in building my IMDb and resume. Without them I would never have had the opportunity of hands-on training for post-production with Hell's Kitchen. They are an amazing couple.
A new friend Ricky Flores (MUA)! We've accepted our craziness and have simple said let's enjoy the ride to the top.
Lastly, myself. Once I believed I was not only deserving of this career, but capable of achieving it, I haven't stopped pumping me up. I had to take a moment to say to self, "You push everyone to move towards their passions. Time to start pushing yo ass, too! Either do it or forget it." Well, as we can see I can never forget what brings me to a state of tranquil.
Q. What do you see developing in the future? Any further dreams?
A. As the puzzle completes itself, acting is definitely a major play. I plan on shopping for a commercial agent. Haven't decided if I want one yet. I feel I can make it without one. After having an agent for 3 years with no progress, I figured why not at least try.
Working more in production is on the front burner. Everything I learn away from acting helps create a better actor.
Dreams?? Never stop dreaming, once you've ceased to dream you've ceased to live. I can't stop dreaming each dream leads me to a more sophisticated version of the previous dream. I used to limit myself so much, now I live limitless and figure what doesn't kill me will sharpen me for future self.
Q. How can people learn more about what you’re doing? Website?
A. To keep up in the know of future productions:
Q. Do you have some advice or encouragement for “Dream Catchers” in the entertainment industry?
“My advice is don't give up! Failing isn't a deadend, it's merely a detour. Figuring out what doesn't work is a process of elimination. Plan your work and work your plan. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Use a blueprint -- build your visions. Create the life you want to live.” ~ Jahmilla Jackson
Q. Do you know of organizations “Dream Catchers” could utilize to further their careers?
A. Honestly, I feel you should join everything you come across -- you never know who will spark a new relationship. You can always remove yourself from whatever doesn't bring satisfaction to what you're seeking.
Actorsaccess.com, Mandy.com, Staffmeup.com, Stage 32, CraigsList, just to name a few. Anywhere people are speaking the film language is where you want to be. No matter how bad or great the situation, you can always learn what to do and what not to do.
DREAM CATCHER, Jahmilla Jackson