Jay R. Ellis

Insecure, The Game, Grace & Frankie...


What did you want to become when you were a child?

There definitely wasn't just one thing. I had dreams of being a basketball player after watching He Got Game, an investment banker after watching Boiler Room, Network made me want to do broadcast news, DI even considered being a cop because of Beverly Hills Cop 1 & 2 but I as I got older I realized that the common thing among all these dreams was that they were all sparked by performances in movies. And ultimately it made me want to become an actor.  


How did your family & friends react when you told them you wanted to become an actor?

I actually never told anyone. I kind of went about it in quiet until I booked my first few jobs. Then I told my parents that I had been pursuing acting. They were a bit shocked because I hadn't said anything about being an actor to them. So they were completely caught off guard.  

Who or what inspires you?

I love the idiosyncrasies of different cultures. Food, art, music, language, writing, fashion, etc.  

What aspects of your job do you like best/least?

I love going to work everyday with people I genuinely love and care about. Watching peoples' reactions to the finished product is also pretty cool. But getting the opportunity to play different characters and show different slices of life is probably my favorite thing about what I do. 

How do you handle criticism when it comes your way?

I try to look at it as objectively as possible and see if there is something for me to take from the criticism that could make me better as an actor and as a person. And every once and a while I say "Whatever" and keep moving.  


How do you bounce back from a defeat?

I try to take whatever lessons are there to learn from the loss and apply them to the next thing. Then I wake up and repeat until I get a win.  

What makes you happy?

Family. Traveling. Music. Anything with Dave Chappelle or Chris Rock.  


What is your biggest guilty pleasure?


Describe yourself in 5 words: 

Quiet, determined, curious, playful, stubborn.  

Which living person do you admire most?

This is unfair because there are far too many people out there to narrow it down to one. 


What do you most value in others?

Work ethic, sense of humor and integrity.  

How do you define success?

Living your best life while being in a position to give back to others to help them achieve their dreams and goals.  

What serves as the greatest motivation for you in your daily life?

Changing the narrative of stories told abut young black men in this country and around the world.  

Name 2 things people don't know about you:

I hate jello and pudding. Consistency.  

What is your motto?

You'll never succeed if you don't try.  

What do you wish to have see achieved in 2017?

Still thinking...there is a lot to be done.  

Any advice for those wanting to become actors?

Study, Study, Study. Get used to hearing the word no, it's apart of the job. So don't take it personal. Have fun every time you audition.  


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