Jillian “JJ” Simmons knew she wanted to be behind a microphone from very early on. She has interviewed many of your favorite entertainers and does an outstanding job doing so. This time it’s our turn to interview her. She talks about everything from her working alongside Wendy Williams in New York to her “I’m Me” Foundation and her eagerness to “open up the doors to teen girls and young women for projects that provide positive social experiences, character building training and self worth to young women through education and entertainment.” She’s JJ on the mic, a proud mommy and a blessing to others off the mic. Read the Jillian “JJ” Simmons interview below.
Parlé Magazine: When was your first experience on radio and how did you feel? Were you nervous, excited or both?
Jillian “JJ” Simmons: I don’t wanna say what year (laughs) but it was a long, long, long time ago! I was in Dayton, Ohio at WROU-FM. I did the overnight shift 2am-6am. Yes! I was extremely nervous and I totally sucked!
Parlé: You worked alongside Wendy Williams in 2001. How did that happen and what was that experience like?
JJ: Wendy had just started at WBLS in 2001. I was doing the 6-10PM shift on the radio. We had only met briefly before her first on-air shift there. I had always been a big fan of hers so I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to come on after her show! I remember actually listening to her first show at home and couldn’t believe she was talking about ME. “JJ is always walking around here with cut-off shirts, showing her belly ring…” I had to laugh cause I didn’t even have a belly ring! But this was Wendy’s personality. She made you feel like you were in the same room as her. I loved it! She is an awesome radio personality and definitely shines now as a TV personality.
Parlé: Why did you decide to move to Houston and join 97.9 The Box?
JJ: I was already working for the same company, Radio One, in Indianapolis. It was a promotion. The position became available because the midday Host prior moved out of town for another job position. I auditioned for the position and was blessed to get the offer!
Parlé: I think you’re very good at what you do. What advice do you give for inspiring Radio DJ’s like yourself?
JJ: Thank you very much! I think the most important thing is to be yourself! Don’t try to sound like or imitate other personalities… just be you! When you send in an air-check for a job make sure you have a resume, bio and your social media game is on point!
Parlé: You and I share a similar experience. You lost two uncles to AIDS. I lost my father to AIDS at the age of eleven. I’m sure that’s why you have the “J Darcey AIDS Foundation” (Now “I’m Me” Foundation). Can you tell me if your views of people with HIV/AIDS differed after losing relatives to it and also elaborate on your foundation.
JJ: When my uncles passed I didn’t have a full understanding of what the disease was and the many was to contract it. I’ve met all types of people since 1995 with HIV/AIDS. Some were drug users, some homosexuals, some simply got HIV from childbirth. It doesn’t have a face. My mission is to let people know that you NEED to get tested no matter what, and if you have it, it’s not a death sentence. You can get a great support system!
Parlé: Okay JJ! Let’s play a game. It’s called, “Getting to Know” JJ. What is your favorite food?
JJ: MASHED POTATOES!
Parlé: What is your favorite thing to do when you want to have fun?
JJ: I love games! Board games, outdoor games, etc.
Parlé: Are you a reader? If so, what type of books do you like to read?
JJ: I am all about self-help books!
Parlé: What is one of your most embarrassing moments?
JJ: My first day on the air in NYC, I had to interview this artist, Case. I introduced his new song but his CD wouldn’t play. I tried over and over but I couldn’t get it to work and I almost started crying live on the air. I didn’t know what to do and he was just laughing at me the entire time! My first day in the BIG CITY!!!
Parlé: What else can we expect from “JJ on the Mic”? And how can you be reached? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website, etc.
JJ: I’m working on a couple of projects and a book! I’ll give you the scoop soon! Twitter: @jjonthemic FB: JJontheMicFans IG: JJontheMic and my website is www.JJONTHEMIC.com make sure to sign up for my newsletter too!