Over the years the City of Atlanta has been booming with talent, Black talent that is. Not only has great talent been coming from the city, but Clark Atlanta University has also produced great talent. CAU alumna, Jennifer Sears is living proof of that. She is an actor, writer and creator. She has been seen in HBO’s Bessie, Madea’s Family Reunion, VH1 and TV One. She is under Tassell Talent Group.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Sears where she chatted on her inspirations of getting into show business, as well as her experience in attending a historical black college and university. Check out the interview below:
Can you please tell myself and the reader’s about yourself?
I’m kind of an enigma. Lol! I’m an introverted extrovert, meaning my love for the arts places me in the limelight, but I’m actually quite the loner. I guess it has something to do with my being the youngest of four. I was always considered “the baby” so that left me with a lot of time to myself to create these imaginary circumstances in the land of make-believe. Fast-forward all of these years and it actually ended up paying off in my craft. Being in your own company allows you to hear your inner voice and make discoveries about yourself, which include your likes and dislikes; your strengths and weaknesses; and your goals and dreams.
Growing up and still to this day who inspires you?
I know this may seem cliche but my mother has always been my biggest inspiration. To know all the trials she’s faced and still persevered against all odds; she demonstrated that no excuses would be tolerated. She was raised by a single father after losing her mother at a young age. To help raise her younger siblings, she sacrificed her education to work and support the family financially. As an adult and mother of four working two jobs, she went back to school and received her diploma to stress the importance of an education. She’s the face of strength and determination. I press on for her because she sacrificed so much.
You attended Clark Atlanta University, can you describe to us your experience?
After attending a predominantly white high school in the rural south, it was extremely important that I attend an HBCU. My mother did an incredible job raising us with knowledge of self because she understood the responsibility of education begins in the home. With this upbringing, I knew an HBCU was in my future and the prestigious Clark Atlanta University was my top choice. The experience was indescribably beautiful, to know the cultural riches and heritage established by our ancestors, such as W.E.B. Dubois, it was awe-inspiring and filled me with such pride. You dare not take this incredible opportunity for granted.
While attending the prestigious university did you discover your passion for the arts?
I was actually a political science major but I also took several film and theater classes in the mass media department such as screenwriting, entertainment law, communications law and African American theater. I guess I was still (indirectly) answering the call. I didn’t actually begin acting until after graduation.
What influenced you to become a self fulfilling entrepreneur?
I think entrepreneurship is everyone’s calling. Unfortunately, not many of us walk in it for various reasons, whether it’s fear of failure, fear of success (which is a real thing), fear of responsibility and accountability or lack of knowledge of self. It’s important to know who you are so that you know your purpose. Because many of us don’t know our purpose, we find ourselves reporting to someone who gives us tasks for pay. That very thing inspired me to want greater for myself. I knew I wasn’t created just for tasks. There was a deep longing inside that a job could never fulfill, so I would work hard to fund my dreams with that goal and that goal only in mind.
Which of your talents are you more passionate about writing or acting?
I’d say they’re one and the same because my writing makes me a great actor. I can take just a few lines that a character may have and create this rich scene because I have the mind of a writer. My imagination is very vivid so I’m able to paint a colorful picture through my writing and acting.
Can you give us your preparation process that goes into writing a script?
I don’t know if I ever really “prepare”. I’m inspired by any and everything. My notepad on my phone is filled with concepts and ideas that come at any time. When inspiration strikes, you have to be ready. It’s not gonna wait for you to get ready because oftentimes for me, it’s a fleeting moment… like a wave, sometimes it comes back but with not as much force.
Can you give us your preparation process for when you’re about to act?
The preparation process for acting is slightly different than writing. It’s always living beneath the surface, waiting to be awakened. Because acting is drawing from real life, I just need an objective and my substitutions and I’m ready to tell a story, living the life of my character.
What are some of your previous projects you participated in?
My very first role was in Madea’s Family Reunion (the famous “getting the drinks out of the cooler scene”… lol). I will be forever indebted to Tyler Perry for launching my career with just that one line. Since then, I’ve worked on TV One’s Born Again Virgin, VH1’s Daytime Divas and HBO’s Bessie which has won several awards.
What are some new upcoming projects we can look forward to seeing from you?
I just worked on two incredible episodic TV shows. I’m not sure if I can speak on them at this moment, so I’ll just say both experiences were incredible. I’ll share more on my social media pages as the season premieres air. Also, I recently worked with the incomparable Taraji P. Henson on a film based in the 1960s. I can’t wait for the world to see this beautiful story told by an incredible cast and crew.
Any words of wisdom you would like to offer us millennials?
I guess I’ll end where I began and just say, quiet yourself and the noise around you so that you can hear the inner voice guiding you to your purpose. We don’t have time to waste on anything that’s not serving our purpose because it’s bigger than us. Others are counting on us to follow our calling for our purpose shapes the world.