What inspired you to become an actor?
The inspiration for becoming an actor came almost by force. I stumbled into acting around age 10 with the help of my Mom, Gloria Mimms and Aunt, Nanny as we call her. Basically, it went something like my Mom suggesting that I go to this small acting class to do a few skits, and I ( being an extremely imaginative kid and a sit-com sponge), fearfully yet confidently responded, “No, I’m good”. Which then sent my 5’11’ Aunt, Nanny in to escort me to her car, firmly suggesting I go to this class. My acting career promptly began, and mind you I was actually really good! (Me, blowing an extremely large horn) I did my first play A Raisin in The Sun, playing Walter Lee Younger, at The Chicago Theatre Company in the youth acting class run by Peter Chatman. It was a perfect fit and I never looked back. I was bitten by the acting ‘Bug” as it is often described, and I loved it.
Tell us about your first major role and how you reacted.
My first major role would probably be my first professional play. It was around the same time as a kid, now 14. I was cast in my first paid role in the play Morning Noon and Night and I was too hyped! This meant so much for me and my young career and I wasn’t even the lead, only an understudy, but I was getting paid and working with some really talented actors. I admit I was a little salty about not getting that lead role, but only because I knew I was a better actor and he just had more TV/ Commercial credits and I was just getting started. I however would later get the chance to prove how good I was one night when he couldn’t show, and I would get to perform on Press Night. That night I earned a full column write up in The Chicago Sun-Times, and later landed half his shows from then on.
What type of training have you had to perfect your craft?
I’ve taken many classes over the years, too many to count from a kid until now, but as a working actor currently I would argue that my real training didn’t start until I moved to California. Here I learned to put everything I had to the test. Life experience also has to be the most intense training I’ve ever had, learning to fail and succeed both at the same time. With all that said I have studied drama at The Chicago Theatre Company, received my B.A. of Theatre Arts from Clark Atlanta University, Studied improv and short and long form Sketch Comedy at The Second City/ Chicago and Hollywood, a short stint at the Berg Studios, and closely working with The Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles for the past 7 years.
Tell us about your current role and project.
Currently I’m cast in a recurring role on OWN Network’s original series Cherish The Day Season 2, shooting in New Orleans this summer with Ava Duvernay. This one is special because it’s been a goal of mine to work with Ava Duvernay and be attached to work as good as projects like this.
At the beginning of the year I always start with a list of goals I’d like to accomplish, and challenge myself with setting the bar higher each year to I hopefully surprise and push myself harder and further than I ever have. This year was just that, to manifest exponential growth in my career and I’ve seen more things come to fruition this year than I ever have, and it’s been extremely exciting.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an actor?
The best advice I could give to someone who wants to become an actor is to find a mirror. Look into it and find the person you want to be, don’t make it up, FIND it. Go through all your imperfections, failures, and traumas to purge your depths and find a deeper you. BECOME the person you were meant to be. Acting is not just about getting on stage or in front of a camera to entertain people, that’s only a part of it. The most accurate definition of what it means to be an actor is to be brave, to take real life challenges and channel them into art. They say Art imitates life, and I say an actor reflects HUMANITY. Be real and most importantly be real with yourself first, before you spend a career trying to be believed as someone else.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being in the entertainment industry?
The most challenging aspect of being in this business is the business itself. You must first learn what the entertainment industry is, and there are many wheels and moving parts in this business that make this thing go round. Being an actor is only a small part of the collaboration process, and the business by far is the most intricate part. The expression time is money is something you don’t fully grasp until you’re on a set that takes millions of dollars to pull off. Imagining the magnitude of time, resources, people, planning, and expertise that goes into filmmaking only defines how much discipline and research that is required. Learning what it takes to be a part of this industry is crucial and one of the best things a young actor can do.
What does success look like for you?
Success to me looks like realized potential. Success is taking everything that God gave me and putting it to good use. Being able to feed my family off my gifts, and hopefully a couple of generations behind me too! As young black kid from the south side of Chicago you realize that opportunities are not always afforded to everyone and that there’s different circumstances for people to access them. Those who do have a fair shot at an opportunity you have a genuine responsibility to maximize those opportunities and be the best you can for those who only wish to be in your shoes, or for those that sacrificed for you to have them. Being successful means taking everything God has dealt you, good bad, or worse, and daring to be great anyway. Leaving all fears behind and sharing your story with the world.
What can we expect next from you?
You can expect me to be in the lab writing and soon to be directing next, I want to foray into creating my own projects, one of which I have already begun in 2019 before the age of COVID. I started filming the pilot of my own scripted original comedy series that I intend to pitch to networks later this year entitled JU-jU. It is the comedic story of a superstitious screenwriter who derails from his Hollywood dreams after his childhood encounter with a Voodoo Priestess comes back to life in order to face his fears or success. So you can look out for that and more to come.
Jason Mimms began his career in Atlanta on B.E.T.’s “Hell Date” Season 2 while still a student at Clark Atlanta University, graduating class of 2008 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. After college and with new commercial success he moved to Los Angeles with that momentum to further his career as a working actor.
Mimms is most known for his appearances in AllBLK Network’s “Stuck With You”, TruTv’s Laff Mobb’s “Laugh Tracks”, B.E.T’s “Boy Bye” and “Her Only Choice” along with several commercials, including a spot during Super Bowl LIII in 2019.
As a proud member of the Gamma Kappa Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. he continues to embody the CAU motto, “Find A Way or Make One,” creating his own comedy series, JU-jU.
He be can found on Instagram at IG: @Jason_Mimms, and Facebook.