Jasmine Hester

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Born and raised in San Diego, CA., growing up, Jasmine Hester was always interested in acting, but it wasn’t until her final year in college that she began to pursue it professionally. She now has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside, and a number of projects under her belt including ABC’s hit television show Black-ish, Amazon’s Good Girl’s Revolt, and TNT’s groundbreaking show “The Last Ship”. Currently, Jasmine is producing and starring in the third season of the award-winning and Emmy considered show Chronicles Of Jessica Wu, on Amazon Prime. She continues tackling her own projects, and crafting her acting, directing, and producing skills.

A WOMAN WHO WAS BORN READY

What was life like growing up for you? What kind of family did you grow up in?

I was born and raised in San Diego, California. I’m an 80s baby, 90s kid, so I feel like I grew up in a generation that got caught between two very different worlds. There’s the generation before mine that’s more traditional and pre dates the internet and social media. Then there’s the generation after mine that is more progressive in thought and practically was raised by the internet. I’m very fortunate my parents allowed me to be and enjoy my childhood in its entirety. I grew up in a family that has always been very close, and highly supportive of each other.

How old were you when you knew this was your calling and what you were going to do for the rest of your life?

It’s funny, I’ve always enjoyed the performing arts, but I was very shy as a kid, so I knew I always wanted to act, but I thought because of my shyness that I would never be able to pursue it. It wouldn’t be until years later when I graduated from the University of California, Riverside that I would decide to change course and chase my dreams of being an actor.

Were you a dreamer growing up? What kinds of dreams did you have?

I have ALWAYS been a dreamer. I had an easy, safe environment that promoted dreams. My parents always challenged me to make my dreams bigger, and even at that point, make them even bigger! I think my dreams have always been career-oriented. At first, I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician, then a veterinarian, then a psychologist, but at the back of my mind for all that was acting.

“Simply put, I love what I do. I’m a person that craves a daily creative outlet, so writing, producing, prepping an audition, being on set, all of these things give “me my fix” I can’t see myself doing anything else.”
Jasmine Hester

How hard was it breaking into the business? We hear stories all the time of people who try for years and never make it, and then other stories of overnight, “ in the right place at the right time” sensations.

Everyone’s journey is unique. I think it’s tough because there’s no clear cut path to follow, everything is trial and error, and a lot of it is beyond your control. A lot of decisions are left to someone else, the casting directors, producers, etc. I do think a big part of this business is based on who you know, and more importantly who knows you. I was being called into audition again and again by the same casting directors, not realizing that I was actually building a rapport with them, so even if I didn’t book a particular role, they would still think of me for different roles as they came up.

Which one do you think there’s more of? Those who pay their dues, or opportunity meeting preparation?

I think that it is a mixture of both. I certainly feel like I have paid my dues by the years of acting school, workshops, background work, producing my own projects, but I also view those as preparation. There’s a lot of things done by chance in this business so you have to ALWAYS be ready. So continuously preparing as if your “big break” is coming tomorrow. Cause after all many people, pray for their big opportunity, but few are truly ready for it.

How do you maintain your integrity in an otherwise very competitive and sometimes unscrupulous industry, as business at times can be cut throat?

That goes back to my upbringing. I base my decisions in what I feel is morally right. If it’s not something that I can look back on and be proud of then I simply won’t do it. Also, I think that my family not being afraid to “tell me about myself” if they felt I were to ever forget who I was, where I came from, or how I was raised etc. plays a big part. They would be quick to correct my behavior. Keeping your integrity may mean that the road is longer, but the rewards are much sweeter in the end.

What advice do you have for others who have THE dream?

Be prepared for a potentially long journey. It’s really not for the faint of heart. You are literally signing up to be a “starving artist” that works hard to hear a million no’s and a few “yes’” but the YES you hear makes it all worth it. It’s like gardening… you can plant the seed, water it, fertilize it, prune it, but you still have to WAIT, before you can enjoy your harvest. That’s why I tell everyone that if you’re not in this because you truly love it, you’ll exhaust yourself quickly.

How difficult is it to maintain a work-life balance? What measures do you take to ensure that you have that?

I think obtaining balance in any profession is hard. I’ve learned how to check in with myself. I had to do this because I think, us, as women, we tend to over extend ourselves, and don’t really give ourselves breaks… So I’m always taking into account of how I’m feeling, physically, energetically, mentally, emotionally etc.

Would you consider yourself a driven person? What makes you a powerhouse? What is the source of your strength?

God is the source of all my strength and my drive. I wouldn’t have any of this if it weren’t for him, because of the unwavering faith that I have in him, I know he wouldn’t bring me this far to forsake me, so that brings me peace and keeps me grounded and focused. I know I’ll accomplish everything on my list because of this.

What are some of the things you do to wind down and relax after grueling events and preparations for them?

Believe it or not, I’m a gamer. I LOVE videogames and it has been a continued outlet for me throughout the years. On other days a nice hot bath, glass of wine, and a good book does the trick. I’m also a person who feels like the sun recharges me. So being outside helps me to really recharge my batteries.

What is your definition of peace? What is your definition of success?

Peace is an internal accomplishment. It’s the ability to remain calm even when external factors challenge it, and believe me this industry will test your patience, your boundaries, EVERYTHING! After all, you can’t choose how other’s act towards you, but you can control how you respond. Success is when you’re truly happy doing what you love, meaning you had the courage to go after whatever the desires of your hearts were, you stick with or are sticking with it, achieving the goals on your list, and through the ups and downs, you know you couldn’t see yourself doing anything else, You’ve reached true happiness, I think that’s what success is.

What is the one thing you want people to remember most about you and your work?

That I gave my all. Every role you see me in, I gave every fiber of my being to make sure that I brought a story to life to the best of my ability. I want audiences around the globe to connect with my work, and to find comfort and familiarity in it.

What advice do you have for the young ladies who are growing up in today’s world with so much influence in music that is not always supportive of their best interests? What advice would you give to the young men?

To both young women and men SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL!!!! It’s a fun way to keep up with trends or to keep in touch with friends and family. There’s no need to drive yourself crazy, comparing yourself to every, filtered person you see. You’re seeing a filtered, polished version of EVERYONE’S life. You’re seeing what they want you to see, not what’s going on behind closed doors. YOU are here for a reason. You have a mixture of qualities that are uniquely your own, and the world needs that. Trust me, we need YOU, because there’s only one YOU!

Being in the public eye is not without its consequences, how difficult is it to maintain great relationships, childhood friends, family, and significant others? How do you handle that?

I personally think maintaining friendships and relationships isn’t a hard thing to do. They all require work, effort, and nurturing. I think it just comes down to who is meant to stay in your life with you and who isn’t. When people leave, you allow them. It’s a tough thing to do, but it’s just how life goes sometimes.So for those I’m no longer close with, or that no longer have a place in my life, I wish them well, but I understand that not everyone is meant to stay with you on your journey.

Are you single? – Yes I am single.

How difficult is or was dating in your profession?

It has it challenges, especially if your significant other doesn’t really understand what acting entails. There’s a lot to it. They just have to be a very strong, sound, and secure person, in order for it to work.

In your opinion, why are relationships failing today and if you could remedy them, what would you do?

Lack of communication, not setting and enforcing boundaries, Insecurities, external parties, the list goes on and on. Perhaps, it all stems from the majority having a hard time being alone, so they settle for miserable relationships or “situationships” rather than waiting on the person that’s right from them. I think the remedy for that is self-love. True, self-love. That requires getting to know yourself, and holding yourself accountable for what you want and reinforcing your boundaries, and not settling for less.Also, I think teaching people how to treat you, is a big part of it. People will only do what you allow, when you see something that makes you uncomfortable, or doesn’t sit right with you, express it. Your feelings are valid and should be treated that way.

What are you looking for/from a relationship?

I want a black man who compliments me and I him. Someone who is driven, motivated. The best way I can explain it is he has his empire, I have mine, and we join forces to conquer it all. Someone who is family oriented, and who will be an addition to my family, and I to his. A man that believes in God, who prays, and who leads by example. I actually have a vision board in my house that is dedicated to LOVE and what I want in a significant other. I think it’s important to write down what you want, and to wait until you get exactly that!

Who’s been the greatest influence in your life?

God. I get emotional when I think about all the times, I felt abandoned by people, and I realized that the one true, consistent presence in my life is God. To know that in spite of all my mistakes, he still loves me. There really isn’t a greater love, and I acknowledge that.

Who do you most admire and why?

My parents. They both had humble beginnings, and they both came from situations that caused them to grow up fast. I think they could’ve taken the easy route, and used that as an excuse for the rest of their lives. They chose a different path, and took what they didn’t have, and made sure that my sister and I did. I said it before, but they really have broken generational curses in my family, and people have to realize just how difficult that is to do. Especially when there’s no blueprint to life. They have made something out of nothing, and they built their lives one brick at a time. They have instilled these skills in my sister and I so that we can continue their legacy whenever we have kids. I’ll always admire that, and I pray that I can be as good of a parent as they continue to be.

What type of legacy do you wish to leave?

A legacy that makes my family proud. When I say family, I am talking about my ancestors, and all the generations that come after me. My parents broke generational curses and my plan is to continue the legacy they put in place.

What is the one thing you want people to remember most about you and your work?

That I gave my all. Every role you see me in, I gave every fiber of my being to make sure that I brought a story to life to the best of my ability. I want audiences around the globe to connect with my work, and to find comfort and familiarity in it.

What is the one dream for yourself you most look forward to having come true?

When I’m known for my work globally. When I can use my platform to not only bring stories to life but to truly help people, and to be a reflection of what I want to see in society. I’ll do this to the very best of my abilities.

If there’s one thing that you could change about your past, what would it be?

Honestly, nothing. At this point I feel like going back and altering anything would’ve changed my current path. Some lessons are difficult to master, but they are lessons nonetheless. I recognize that I needed them to grow and to evolve as a woman, and as a person.

If there’s one thing that you could change about the world what would it be?

About the world? That everyone be given access to basic necessities. It’s 2021, there’s no reason why there should still be people who are going hungry, or don’t have clothes, or a roof over their head. I’ll never understand, why people still have to fight for that. Recently, I have joined forces with the Take Action Global team and became a part of their Global Response Team. We are looking to make sure that the next generations inherit a world that they can live in without the same sufferings. I’m not saying that I have all the answers, trust me I don’t, but I want to be a part of the solution.