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'Cherish the Day' Star Jason Mimms Discusses His Journey to Acting

Jason Mimms grew up as a shy young man in Chicago’s South Side, but as he got older, he broke out of his shell to become an accomplished rising Hollywood talent working with some of the top Black directors including Ava Duvernay.

Mimms began his acting journey at age 10 when he took his first acting class. “I was approached by my mom, and she told me that I was going to do some impressions for some kids. That was a way of cleverly masking [taking] an acting class. We thought about it, and a couple of days later, I was like, ‘No, I'm good.' So, my aunt who was over six feet tall, I was about 10 years old so I was probably maybe five something five feet even... was like, ‘Yeah, we are outside,’” Mimms stated. “So I ended up going and from that day I fell in love with it, and I never stopped going to that acting class,” he added.

Mimms’ early training landed him a role in his first major production, a stage play from the Chicago Theatre Company. The company is the same one where Robert Townsend and Irma P. Hall got their start. “I used to see all of their headshots going down the stairwell before you got into the theaters. So it was one of those things that I was like, my picture is gonna be on this wall too,” Mimms said about measuring up to the icons on the wall. After various projects in Chicago, Mimms made a move to Atlanta where he appeared in season two of Hell Date, then made his way to Los Angeles.

Aside from his well-known role as Hosea on the OWN series Cherish the Day, Mimms has also appeared in the television series Stuck With You as well as TV One’s Montross: Blood Rules. Speaking on his selection process in choosing an acting role, Mimms said, “I look for something that forces me to stretch and ultimately forces me to grow, it's sort of reminiscent of real life. I look for something that is challenging in a way where it's a great creative challenge, where it's like this is gonna cause me to dig deep."

“Fortunately, and unfortunately, sometimes I do, and don't get the opportunity to pick my roles,” Mimms said about the uncertainty when it comes to getting what you want in Hollywood as an actor. “But to me, at this point, what's for you is for you, and it's going to find you. So I've been lucky to get some really good roles that have come across the table, where I've got to play some characters that I feel sometimes are a little bit more of a stretch in different directions,“ he added. Mimms also expressed that after numerous roles as the smooth debonair, he is ready to play the “bad guy” to show off his range and surprise his fans.

Mimms briefly addressed the growth of Black filmmakers opening doors in Hollywood and creating content that helps employ Black actors like himself. “I think if many of us get out of the way of the tropes that have existed before, and get into a place where we can just unapologetically tell our stories. I think, at this place, we really have a platform to put some really great stuff out,“ Mimms said. “I want to take advantage of that myself because I think I have some things to say... coming from Chicago. I have a different lens. I have a Midwest lens as far as the Black experience. Chicago is extremely Black. You could throw a rock and knock out the entire south side of Black people because we're just that close. I'd say those are things the world needs to see and I think we're at that place where the world is actually asking and begging to see it,” he added.

Providing the different stories that are not often seen helps broaden the view of Black life in America and helps to fight some of the common tropes and stereotypes out there about the Black experience. “And when they get those stories. They're like, ‘Man, I didn't know.’ There are so many people that have been outside of the United States, even within the United States, who have only this monolithic viewpoint of what Blackness is, and what Black stories are, and that's changing. We're no longer just the basketball [player] or rapper, or the downtrodden I’m struggling from rags to riches story. We got a lot of different cultures and we have things to offer. I can’t wait to see what the people who are at play right now are able to do,” Mimms added.

Despite his successful professional acting career, Mimms still tries to find time to go back to train and study in acting classes. “In this business, I feel like you're always in class. So no matter how far you go from the classroom, I feel if you're a student of the business, you're going to find yourself right back in the front row of someone's class, auditing and participating,” Mimms said. “I have done some other classes, and I've really enjoyed them, but I started working after that. So I want to go back in and do some more, pick back up and just stay sharp because I'm always a student to this business,” he added.

Driven by a passion for learning and a willingness to accept the right roles Jason Mimms can only go up from here.

Check out the full interview below.

Photo Credit: Brian Alan

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