Actress Jasmin Savoy Brown Is Not One To Be Counted Out
Jasmin Savoy Brown Talks Shonda Rhimes’ For The People Series, Finding Her Identity, and Living in Her Truth
At a time where oppression against women and people of color in Hollywood is at an all-time high, it’s merely expected to grow a strong appreciation for gifted creatives like actress Jasmin Savoy Brown, who only continues to use her craft as a vessel to drive worldwide conversation.
Raised in Springfield, Oregon, the art of performing nearly came naturally for Brown. Be it on the choir stage or at the forefront of a church musical, Jasmin was working on her craft at an early age. The 23-year-old was made for the spotlight, and it wasn’t long before her own light began to shine.
A small town girl with big city dreams, Brown set out to turn those dreams into a reality. After uprooting from Springfield, she soon acquired a number of minor acting roles, such as in NBC’s Grimm, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Freeform’s The Fosters.
However, with characters like ‘Evangeline “Evie” Murphy’ in HBO’s The Leftovers and ‘Emilia Bassano’ in the TNT-produced Will series, Brown has since taken her career to new heights, becoming a luminary force among a number of today’s burgeoning stars in the entertainment industry.
But, it’s not only her stupendous way of artistry that makes her stand out from the crowd; it’s Brown’s refusal to be muzzled in a climate that very often tries to bring us to silence.
Whereas many of us have been broken and battered, tossed and shattered, made powerless by the powerful, stripped of our voices and left with no choices, used and abused, horribly defeated and often mistreated for way too long, Brown only strives to keep pushing the envelope in her efforts to bring about social change and equality for all.
A leading lady, innovative performer, passionate advocate for women’s rights and the LGBTQ community, and just an all-around multifaceted woman—holding innumerable talents, this West Coast beauty is surely not one to be counted out.
Brown’s latest accolade happens to be snagging the role of ‘Allison Adams’ in the Shonda Rhimes-produced series, For The People, which premieres on Tuesday, March 13th, exclusively on ABC.
Check out our recent sit-down with Jasmin Savoy Brown, as we talk that and so much more!
Parlé Mag: I wanted to open up with talking about your latest project, which is really, really huge. You’ll be portraying ‘Allison Adams’ in Shonda Rhimes‘ forthcoming ABC drama series, For The People. So, tell us a little bit about your role and what initially drew you to this particular character.
Jasmin Savoy Brown: Yeah! So, I play Allison, who is roommates with Sandra Bell, portrayed by Britt Robertson. They are best friends, and they live together. They’ve just started working professionally as public defenders. It turns out that the job is a lot harder than they thought it was going to be, and they’re really challenged. Allison, especially throughout the season, is forced to examine her privilege and where she comes from, and [she] has to grow… in that sense. What drew me to the role was, I knew it would be a challenge for me to dive into our political system and to learn about government and more about law. I thought that [Allison] would have a lot to teach me.
Parlé Mag: In what ways do you feel that you relate to Allison, if any?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: I can relate to her work ethic. She really, really loves her job and gives it her all while she’s there, but she’s also really good at disconnecting and having fun. I feel like I’m good at that, too; I’m good at being at work when I’m at work and working really hard and earning the right to let go of work and have a good time with my friends. I feel like that’s the main way that we’re alike, but we’re actually really different.
Parlé Mag: How would you describe your experience having the opportunity to work on a Shonda Rhimes project and with the rest of the crew to bring this script to life?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: It’s a really big blessing! Especially right now, in the wake of the ‘Time’s Up’ movement and the ‘Me Too’ movement, just all of these horrible things that are coming to light. I would never experience anything like that on [a Shondaland] set. They’re so diverse and inclusive and just very kind. They’re all about collaboration and making others feel welcome, and that’s been a major blessing in our climate, right now, in Hollywood. It was fun to be on a Shondaland show and to work with all of these incredible people!
Parlé Mag: The premiere of For The People is quickly approaching. So, I have to ask, as a rising actress, is there ever a point where you feel a sense of nervousness, specifically when it comes to how the audience will receive your new work? If so, how do you overcome that?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: Yeah! I definitely deal with the nervousness. I overcome it by not watching. [laughs]
Parlé Mag: [laughs] Really?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: It just depends on what mood I’m actually in. Sometimes, I just don’t watch it live or hang out with my friends as a distraction. [laughs] I definitely feel some pressure and some nerves around this. It’s such a big deal to be on a Shonda show!
Parlé Mag: Yes, it is!
Jasmin Savoy Brown: I don’t really know how to particularly deal with it yet.
Parlé Mag: Well, hopefully, you’ll watch this one! [laughs]
Jasmin Savoy Brown: Yeah!
Parlé Mag: Let’s touch on your life before the acting. How was your childhood back home in Oregon?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: My childhood was good! I was raised by a single mom in Oregon, and Oregon is predominately white and lower or middle class. There’s not a lot of big opportunities available there. So, if you’re someone with a dream or big ambitions, you kind of stick out, and you have to work really hard to get out of town. That’s what I had to do to get myself where I am. But, growing up, I had a lot of fun! I played outside, went swimming, and climbed trees. I just made the most out of what I had.
Parlé Mag: You previously mentioned that you didn’t really identify with your blackness until you moved to LA, due to you coming from a predominantly Caucasian-based background. As a child, did you ever scuffle with feeling like you couldn’t fit in because of your mixed race? Like, ‘not being black enough’, or even ‘not being white enough’, at times?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: Yeah, totally! It’s still something that I struggle with and I have to face, head-on, every day. I feel this impulse to change who I am, depending on who I am around–to fit in with them, rather than just be me. Because I was never really celebrated or accepted jut for being me… outside of my home. I would hear things from other kids like, “You’re the whitest black person we’ve ever met!”
Parlé Mag: Wow.
Jasmin Savoy Brown: I hated that, but I couldn’t argue with that. However, the kids who were saying that were white and were raised by ignorant parents. So, it wasn’t their fault. It’s just a lot of perpetuated, learned racism, but it’s so deep at the core of what Oregon is. I’m becoming more happy and comfortable with who I am, but I still feel that need. If I’m around a group of black people, I feel like I don’t fit in; if I’m around a group of white people, I feel like I don’t fit in.
Parlé Mag: What prompted you to get into acting? Is this something that you’ve always wanted to do?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: Yeah! There wasn’t really a time where I decided to start acting. I was always performing and wanted to act and take acting classes. I always knew that’s what I wanted to do.
Parlé Mag: With colorism, racism, and gender inequality playing a very prevalent part in Hollywood right now, would you say that you still deal with those same ‘proving your identity’ struggles now? How has it affected you in your acting career?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: I still deal with them, but, fortunately, we’re at a place where we’re starting to actually talk about that, which is giving me hope that in time it won’t be an issue. Examples like Black Panther coming out, that speaks to racial inequality and colorism. Wonder Woman coming out last year and doing so well, it’s speaking to the gender stuff. Those are obviously huge successful examples, and they are starting the shift, even just in day-to-day conversations with other actors, executives. That gives me faith that we won’t have to be dealing with it, on a professional level, for too much longer.
Parlé Mag: Additionally, you are a supporter of women’s rights and the LGBTQ community. So, how do you hope to be able to use your platform to shed light on the issues that both women and the people of the LGBTQ community face on a daily?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: Oh, I hope to just continue to have opportunities and conversations to talk about the issus. I’ve been fortunate to have a couple of really great opportunities to share my views and opinions, and I think conversations are the most important thing, whether that be an interview or a talk show. Those conversations are a way that I hope to do that and just to continue to be myself and live my truth and not be afraid of sharing that with the world. I think that also has an impact.
Parlé Mag: Definitely. So, tell me, how did you get to that point? Being able to be truly comfortable with yourself and be so vocal about your truth?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: I’m someone who really shoves things down people’s throat. [laughs] I have to just dive into stuff. So, as I was discovering who I am, I just kind of threw that in people’s face. It was like, ‘Accept me or don’t.’ That’s part of that way that I became comfortable with myself, not allowing other people to even have an option. If I had said to my mom or certain friends, ‘How do you feel about me being this way?’ and then they didn’t like it, I would’ve had a lot harder of a time becoming comfortable with myself. But, by forcing them to, that allowed me the space to grow into myself.
Parlé Mag: Right.
Jasmin Savoy Brown: That’s just what works for me! I don’t recommend that for everybody! [laughs].
Parlé Mag: Honestly, that’s the best way to be. You know, just living in your truth, unapologetically.
Jasmin Savoy Brown: Exactly.
Parlé Mag: Moving forward, what are some of your goals and things you hope to accomplish in your career this year?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: For one, I would really like to do a few feature films. I’ve done a lot more TV work than film work, and I am starting to try to branch over to that side of things. I would like to direct and produce a short film that I have written. And, I just want to continue to expand in other areas of the industry and my artistry, that I haven’t shared with the world or really exercised yet.
Parlé Mag: Awesome. Are there any current projects that you have in place at the moment? Let the people know what else you’re working on.
Jasmin Savoy Brown: For The People premieres Tuesday, March 13th, on ABC! Season three of Love on Netflix comes out on March 9th. I’m in a few episodes of that. So, that’s what people can look forward to this month!
Be sure to catch up with Jasmin Savoy Brown on social media!
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