Issue: Issue Winter 2009 - 2010

Jayma Mays Living

By: DH
It began gradually, but once actress Jayma Mays’ career broke, she was on her way. Today with “Glee,” the Fox TV hit show, husband, actor Adam Campbell (also a rising star), a recent move to the Los Feliz area of Hollywood, Jayma is living the Hollywood dream.

With the comment “I think of myself as the poster child for everyone who has come out here to Hollywood from someplace else with the idea of getting into show business,” Jayma launched into the interview.

Like thousands who have arrived in Hollywood with dreams and stars in their eyes, after graduating from Virginia’s Radford College with a degree in Performing Arts, Jayma headed west. Like most, she was unfamiliar with the challenge and the reality that there seemed to be no clear path to follow, no formula. The storied yellow brick road was even more elusive than Dorothy’s in Oz.

“I didn’t know what the game was when I came out. You just come here with a dream and hopefully some goals set in your mind, but as far as the grind, you don’t really understand what you’ve gotten yourself into.”
  Although filled with a comparable assortment of characters, wizards, gremlins and witches, she found there were steps to follow that could help lead to her ultimate goal—a career in film and television. More factory than Oz-like, Jayma credits her father’s good advice with helping keep her on the path.

“My dad always taught me the importance of setting small, attainable goals for yourself. My first goal was getting my headshots, then to find a commercial agent. I set goals for myself that although not easy were achievable.” As she achieved her goals, she felt she was making progress. Although her degree was in performing arts, she had changed her major her last year in college, she needed more acting experience and got involved with Knightsbridge Theatre working with them for nearly three years. “It was really a good experience to do live theatre. I learned a lot about character development. It kept me fresh and gave me confidence.”

It began gradually, a one-episode part on “Joey,” with Matt LeBlanc in 2004, followed by five roles in a succession of TV series such as “The Comeback” with Lisa Kudrow in 2005. The next year there was more TV, a three episode recurring role on “Entourage” and a part in Clint Eastwood’s film “Flags of Our Fathers.” Things were moving. In 2007, she had more TV parts and a role in “Epic Movie,” a spoof on epic films, with an extra bonus. It was on this film that she met and then married fellow actor, Adam Campbell.

Her resume was growing adding eight episodes as Charlie in “Ugly Betty” and five on “Heroes” along with still more TV. In 2009 “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” with Kevin James was released and “Glee”—an American musical comedy/drama became a fall hit on the small screen. Her character, prim and proper school guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury, has become a show favorite.

She’s still getting used to being on a hit show. “It’s really been very overwhelming the response we’ve been getting. We filmed all 13 episodes before any aired so we were in our own little world until it began so it is like an added bonus and we thrilled the reviews have been good and it’s been wonderful and so exciting and I’m just really enjoying it.”

In between films and TV, Adam and Jayma love staying at home in Los Feliz with their two cats enjoying the small town vibe of that community. “We love going to the Vista Theatre and we’re able to walk down to the movie and stop for dinner. We love Little Dom’s and I’m addicted to the Chicken Mole at Mexico City. We love hiking in Griffith Park and the café in Ferndell.

It reminds me of being back home in Virginia,” she enthused.

Season two will begin shooting right after the holidays which Adam and Jayma will spend in Florida with her family. “We’re really excited about being with them all; we’re really just a regular loving family.”

Before leaving for Florida, Jayma will be shopping locally. “I really love Christmas shopping. I’m methodical and usually get started early. I usually shop in the smaller shops and I like to support our local businesses.”

While she’s with her family this holiday, Jayma remarked that she’s going to be sure to tell her father how his good advice really helped her earn her success.

“It is like the dream come true. It really is and I have to say that I don’t take it for granted. There’s rarely a day that I don’t realize how fortunate I am. Primarily because I’m working as an actress and it’s a goal I always had and didn’t know that I would be able to achieve it. I feel really blessed and really thankful.