Join  |  Login

Sitdown With Jas Anderson

by Kenyatta D. Pious
In what seems to be another life many years ago, I met Jas Anderson shooting hoops on a playground. Jas was an interesting character even back then. In basketball he could jump and played aggressively (that ends my compliments on his game – I may still play against him one day after all). During one of our idle musings on life and whatever else occupies young men’s minds, Jas told me he was trying to be an actor and that he was practicing for a school play. To firm up this revelation, he proceeded to recite a lengthy Shakespearian monologue, but in a cool way. I was stunned! I hadn’t expected it…or the pleasure that moment clearly gave him.

Fast forward many years and Jas can be seen in plays, on TV shows and in movies with actors like Don Cheadle. Some people always know what and who they are meant to be. For the uninitiated, let me introduce you to Jas Anderson: thespian, entertainer, and friend.

Who inspired you to pursue your dream of acting?
My mom would have to be my biggest inspiration. She is the one who despite working a 9-to-5 took me to all of my auditions as well as my acting classes. She never let me settle. She told me failure is not an option, which by the way is now tattooed on my chest. I love you, mom, more than you can ever know! Thank you for never giving up on me in believing in me when I didn't believe in myself.

Who is your celebrity crush?
Regina King. Just like the fact that she portrays such dominant female characters with strength and conviction. Raw, passionate and unapologetic. That's beautiful thing to watch.

What do you like to watch on TV?
Anything but reality TV shows which in my opinion are death to actors – lol, but it’s the truth. I honestly must say I'm starting to become more impressed with programming that is raw, gritty, intelligent and witty like Scandal, Veep, The New Orange is Black and House of Cards, just to name a few.

How did you get “discovered”?
I went to in acting camp for the summer and when I came back I did a performance at the Village Gate right after I got off of stage I was signed to new talent management. Honestly speaking though I am still discovering my craft and myself as an artist. It’s funny what people think discovery really is. It’s not making a movie or television show because the casting director or director thought you were right for the part(s), it's much deeper than that. My fellow artists will know exactly what I mean. As soon as you get quote unquote discovered they hit you with the tagline introducing new comer when you have been doing this thing called acting for god knows how long – it is actually quite comical.

What is your favorite music?
I find myself drawn to artist who are really making music not this commercially saturated stuff we hear on the radio. As of late [I am listening to] artists like Lorde, Bridget Kelly, August Alsina, Rihanna, B Florence and the Machine. I find myself more drawn to R&B neo soul then rap nowadays who would have figured?

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Washington Heights aka home of the haze but don’t judge me I actually enjoyed growing up what I did it taught me a lot about myself and how to overcome adversity. It’s like The Rose that grew from the concrete; that's what I would consider myself. [I am] proving the point that given the right circumstances and situation anything can grow no matter what your environment or situation.

What draws you to a specific character role?
I like to pick characters that are outside of my comfort zone I like to pick a character that I could never imagine myself relating to…this way it gives me a chance to dig deeper to really truly take my acting craft to another level…to give me the chance to challenge myself as an artist. Also there is a connection that you feel when reading the script something that captivates and calls to you something unbeknownst to you. It is something that you feel deep inside and makes you feel like the characters story is something that needs to be told and can only you can be the one to tell it.

Tell us about your typical day.
The typical day in the life of Mr. Anderson will go as such: waking up and getting on my knees thanking God for the blessing of waking up. Next will be chanting or doing morning gonyo or prayer because I am a Buddhist. Next thing I would do is call my children and wish them a beautiful blessed and prosperous day. I would put some food in my stomach and then head off to the gym to take care of my mind body and spirit. Whatever's next lies up to the universe and lord to decipher.

Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
I see myself as a comfortably working actor with the ability to pick and choose what I want to do.

What is you fashion style – (do you dress up often)?
Of course! I am a fashionista who loves style and dressing up outside of the box. I think there's nothing sexier than a well-dressed and manicured man and I live up to those things to the best of my ability. I think that you can tell a lot from a man by the shoes he wears so my style is classic yet trendy, young with a little bit of old twist to it. I like anything that stands out and sets you apart from the rest.

What is your next project?
My next project is entitled For Colored Boys (http://youtu.be/ocIH4eP7_9w). You can find the series on youtube under the same name -- we just got into the pan African Film Festival. We are up for Best Web Series! It is produced by Isaiah Washington and directed by Stacy Muhammad with a great cast with such greats as Julito McCullum, Tim Reid, Nashawn Kearse, Jacinto Riddick, Robbie Morgan and of course yours truly Jas Anderson. I'm also attached to a project called Die Enormous (http://vimeo.com/m/82748165) starring Omari Hardwick and written by a great actor/director and producer named Ka'ramu Kush. We should start filming sometime in August but the film will also be announced at the pan African Film Festival big things in store for 2014, the rebirth year. I'm truly blessed and humbled. My god is awesome…God indeed.

What is your twitter handle?
@thejasanderson

What advice would you give someone trying to break into your field?
Stay firm in your belief that this is what you want and you were meant to do. Never allow yourself to be discouraged even when the times get so hard that you want to quit and give up because it’s not about anything else. [You need to] stay in the game because if you're not in the game you can't win. Don't let anybody tell you anything else. Do the work and leave it in the room. Study your craft. Preparation is the key; if the elevator to success is broken like my girl Jennifer said use the stairs. Find happiness outside of this profession because without that you are truly lost. Find something greater than this something spiritual for those times you are going to need God's ear. Know that anything that you want in life is not going to be an easy task. The question is how badly do you really want it? You have to want success as bad as you want to breathe.

Please say anything else you want our readers to know.
I just want to say I appreciate all those who have been in my corner from day one. Those who have seen the talent I see in myself and have [worked] just as hard as I have to see me make it. I appreciate it all it is never forgotten as well as those who've seen my work and continue to support me and what I do -- I love you all. I want to send a special shout-out to my beautiful children who are one of the biggest reasons I strive so hard and hustle so enormously the way I do. You guys are my light and my salvation and I'm blessed to have you as part of me.

For more information on what I'm doing you can always drop by my website at www.thejasanderson.com.