Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Jarell.
Hi Chris, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started the journey to my acting career in 2013 with the faith of a mustard seed. Which in all reality just means I started my career broke. I’m talking about; I left my hometown and headed to NYC with a full tank of gas and $6 dollars in my pocket broke. So broke in a city that’s so expensive that I often thought about possibly trying to finance a hotdog from a street vendor. Most people would say that the cards were stacked against me. I never saw it that way. I saw it as the beginning of a story to my life. The Underdog Story. While facing all the adversity of being a college dropout, former class clown, and labeled as being failure. All I could think about was succeeding. I had a point to prove. Not just to my naysayers but to myself as well. Shortly after dropping out of college for the second time, I used the last little bit of money I had leftover from my student loan to get headshots from a photographer from one of my hometowns in Harrisburg. The photographer, Michael Letterlough, seemed to be doing well so I reached out to him and made a deal to get the hometown discount and get my headshots taken in his studio in Brooklyn, NY.
I’m a big believer in that you get out of life exactly what you put in; and sometimes the return on the investment is immediate because months later I booked my first feature film called ‘Brotherly Love’ and that was filmed in my original hometown of Philadelphia, PA. Funny how I went all the way up to NYC just to come back home months later. Fast forward and I have been in over 17 films and television shows. ‘Brotherly Love’ was nominated for NAACP award. I had the pleasure of being on an Emmy nominated episode of ‘Atlanta on FX'(Teddy Perkins Episode 6 Season 2). ‘Perception of Violence’ was selected to be in the Cannes Film Festival which allowed me to go overseas for the first time in my life. I could name a bunch of other amazing things that have happened since the $6 dollars and tank of gas moment but as of right now, I’m surviving a global pandemic. So life is, once again, giving me the ingredients to write yet another perfect underdog story. This sequel is about how I was making strides in my acting career which lead me to believe that it was time to go to the next level. I traveled 3000 miles to Los Angeles to recreate my success in Hollywood. I was certain that this was the right move. I got approval from my agents and had family members encouraging me to pack up my life and leave the comfort zone of NYC. That’s right, NYC had become comfortable. The same NYC that will eat you up and spit you out if you’re not mentally tough enough to handle it.
As someone who had become Daniel in the lion’s den while in NYC, I just knew that the sweet life of southern California wouldn’t break me. Jokes on me because what I didn’t know is that two months after my cross-country move, I would encounter a global pandemic. I went from having a deli man who knew my order by heart to being isolated, without work, and without friends. But there’s a silver lining to everything. I, much like everyone else, had to pivot. Which means zoom calls and self-tape auditions. I got a new place and a dog (Smokey–he’s amazing). I’m finding other passions such as fitness, real estate and gaming (let me know if you want to join my Madden league). This time has given me the opportunity to ask, “who am I outside of my career” and find joy in other places. Until Hollywood is running on all cylinders again, I’ll be enjoying this downtime. From what I’ve seen before, there won’t be any rest when this ball starts rolling again.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I have faced many obstacles along my journey. When I first started in 2013, I actually had to sleep in my car because I didn’t know anyone in NYC. I use to drive from Philly to NYC ans sleep in my car in order to not be late to auditions.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a comedy/actor. I do voice impersonations. I rap. I am also putting together my own landscaping business in honor of my grandfather. I love to be in garden. It’s something completely outside of entertainment that grounds me.
How do you think about luck?
I really don’t believe in luck. I believe God has a plan for my life and it’s up to me to stay the course. My destination can only be delayed by my own distractions. Which then, I have to end up taking the scenic route on occasion.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @chillrell
- Twitter: @chillrell