JASMINE LUV COVERS
LOOT & RIOT MAGAZINE
Ink Tone Swep
Images Vince Trupsin
Looks Yvonne Mwazo
Hair Fantasia Levi
MUA Mickey Zoe Hernandez
Location Vince Trupsin Studios, Los Angeles, CA
We’ve lived in the south, you and I. And in the south humor is sewn, planted, ingrained, crocheted, firmly embedded into the culture. For every wanna be gangsta out here in Cali there’s a wanna be comedian in the south, I like to say. Given that, it’s harder to stand out as funny because many people are hilarious. How early in life did you begin to realize that you were not only funny, but arguably funnier than everyone around you? Ever since I was a young girl I was always known as the clown in my group of friends. I never thought I was funnier than anyone else because I was always just being myself. It wasn’t until I started creating videos and growing an audience that I realized ‘maybe I am kind of funny’ (Laughs!). You can always make your friends laugh but when you’re able to entertain people you don’t know, it feels pretty good.
I have watched too many of your sketch comedy skits. I wanted to pick a favorite to discuss, but could only narrow it down to two – and that was not easy: Brittany, Stephanie, and Kiesha playing would you rather; and the homie painting red bottoms and making a Chanel bag to go with her also homemade Gucci shirt, are classics. Talk a bit about your creative process. What’s conveyed in your work? I initially created these characters years ago when I first started making videos. I didn’t have anyone else to record with me so I decided to play all of the characters. The creative process behind each character is essentially making them relatable to everyday people. I created the best friend characters, Brittany and Kiesha, because everyone has that one best friend whose back they have until the end. Stephanie is that slightly slow friend which we all sometimes have (Laughs!). When I make my videos I like people to be able to relate to the characters. That gives it more of a personal experience where you can laugh and tag your friend.
Being a military brat who lived all over, traveled everywhere, and met people from all conceivable walks of life, do you draw from this in your work? If so, how so? Definitely! Because I moved a lot, I met a lot of people and experienced a lot of different situations, which I convey through my videos. Being a military brat and moving all over the world helped me with adapting to any environment, which actually helped me when it came to making the decision to move to LA and furthering my career. I grew up moving every so many years that I knew how to adapt to situations so when it came to advancing my career and moving to LA, I feel like being that military brat played a tremendous role in me taking that leap.
You are obviously a really strong writer. What stands out most to me are your character development and storylines. Without revealing the recipe, how are you fitting so much story into such a small timeframe? I won’t give too much of my secret away (Laughs!), but when I create a video the first thing I think about is how do I want it to end, aka, the punch. That has to be the strongest part of the video. Once I have that, the rest is easy.
From the beginning you’ve been the auteur, from concept to production to promotion of the finished product you’ve enjoyed complete autonomy. How much of this are you willing to share or relinquish due to a network deal or film studio deal? I’ve enjoyed complete autonomy for so long that I wouldn’t mind relaxing and letting a network take over. I always said that when I was on the set of Starter Pack. I enjoyed just going on set, doing my lines, and leaving. It felt good to not have to produce or worry about editing the content at the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I was still wanting to sneak into the editors room and edit at times but overall it felt good to not have to worry about that. So overall, I’m willing to share or relinquish depending on the deal.
Everything about Starter Pack feels new, fresh. It’s not formulaic or predictable. Ayana is Art History graduate degreed, which you’d think would be prerequisite to a career in education, yet here she is curating a meme museum. What’s up with Ayana? And what has your experience been starring in the show? Ayana is a 25-year-old graduate who has a love for art. She graduated with her Masters in Art History and wants to curate something meaningful in life but after trying to look for a job for almost a year she’s had no luck. She finally gets hired at a museum but they want her to curate something she hates the most which are memes. My experience playing Ayana was great! I related to her because I too had issues finding a job right after school so I understood the frustration. The cast and crew were great and I loved playing someone different from who you usually see in my videos. Overall, my experience was amazing.
You’ve made the transition from acting out skits as the sole character, or with few co-stars, to acting on set with a full cast appear to be a seamless natural progression. Has it been? It’s been great! The entire cast and crew was super supportive and what I loved most was that the director allowed me to be myself. She gave me creative freedom which I appreciated. It was good to actually interact with people on a set as opposed to just talking to myself in a room and playing all of the characters for a change (Laughs!).
Ultimately, are you headed for your own situational comedy series, your own sketch comedy show, or the big screen? Or all the above? All of the above. I’m not limiting myself to just one thing. I’m continuously writing longer content as well as auditioning nonstop for bigger projects. The sky is the limit.
What do you want from Hollywood, the entertainment industry? What do you feel the industry wants from you, in turn? What I want from the industry as a whole is to be given an equal opportunity. Not to be judged by my race or gender but for my talent. We are a generation of innovative and creative minds and when given the opportunity we can produce amazing things. In return, I feel like the industry wants me to use my voice and platform to speak on major issues that can help my generation. I want to use my platform to speak about major issues such as voting, education and women’s empowerment. The industry always needs new, positive voices and that’s what I’m here to give.
Your approach to comedic acting isn’t raunchy, in fact, it’s tasteful; smart. You’re consistent there. Why is maintaining that space important to you? This is very important to me because a lot my family watch my videos. I come from a pretty conservative family so when creating my videos I always ask myself ‘is this something my family would watch?’ I love knowing that anyone can watch my videos no matter their age, race or gender. I believe image is everything. I want to show women that you can be funny, confident and sophisticated and do it in a tasteful way.
From Leslie Jones, Sheryl Underwood, and Tina Fey, to Amy Schumer, Melissa McCarthy, and even Mo’Nique at points, one comedic angle they have all shared is playing up the “men don’t find me attractive” laugh line. Do you have emotional access to that approach? Do you need it? Have we outgrown it? I believe we have outgrown it and I’m glad we have because all of those ladies are so beautiful. It’s been years since this approach was used so I believe we have finally outgrown it.