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December 2007
An Interview with Jill Marie Jones

An Interview with Jill Marie Jones

By Wilson Morales

December 18, 2007

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When you’ve been on a show that is both dramatic and funny, and you’re working with comedians on the screen, do you think you have ‘funny bones’?

JMJ: No, not at all. I didn’t even know or think I was funny. When I studied, I studied dramatic acting. In acting class, I studied drama stuff and then I got ‘Girlfriends’. I didn’t know til ‘Girlfriends’ that I was funny, and I have to say that I feel like I was in a university of girlfriends with Tracy, Golden, Reggie, and Persia. Who I am today is a culmination of all my experience up to this point. I feel as if I learned so much from those people from Mara, the writers. I was literally in class when I was there. I was so green. ‘Girlfriends’ was my third audition. I booked my first. I booked my second. I booked my third. ‘Girlfriends’ was my third. I was learning throughout the whole process. If you look at seasons 1-6 when I was on, you can see the growth.

It’s been two seasons since you left the show, do you miss playing Toni Childs?

JMJ: Oh my God! I feel like I gave birth to her. Obviously, Mara created the character, but for six years that’s all I had and her back-story and everything I worked on, I feel like I gave birth to her. I totally miss Toni. I love the fact that people still come up to me in the street and be like, ‘Toni Childs!’ It brings a smile to my face.

Would you consider coming back for a cameo or an episode?

JMJ: Anything’s possible. The life that I have right now is because of Mara Brock Akil, Kelsey Grammer, UPN, Paramount took a chance on a girl with talent or that they saw had talent that on my resume was blank. I don’t know how much you know about in this town, but that doesn’t happen all the time. So, everything I have at this moment and the life that I’m being able to live is because people gave me a chance.

Are you still doing the Bailey's Irish Cream commercial?

JMJ: I did a three year campaign for them and it’s weird because I shot 14 commercials but only 3 airs here in the states, but the rest airs internationally. I love Bailey’s. I think it’s a very sexy drink and I love how the whole push for Bailey’s the second go around was to incorporate the blended Bailey’s. I think it’s a great drink for the holidays.

Now that you are doing more films, do you find the work less grueling than TV?

JMJ: You know it’s just different. I still put the same work in, but you are talking to a girl who puts in like 5, maybe 6 hours in for an audition that I might not even book. The cool thing to me about movies is that the research part is what I love. Breaking down the character, but after two months, I get to do a new character, and that’s cool. Sometimes when you are on a TV show, and if you are blessed to go for six years like I was, it’s the same character. The difference, why I am so blessed, having ‘Girlfriends’ be my first big thing, is that my character from you met her and where she ended on the show, they (the writers) challenged me all the time. I felt as if I was able to play different characters. From promiscuous in the first season and then she has a STD, and she hates kids, and men coming through, and then she got pregnant, and then we went through the pregnancy, which I had never done before as an actor and I had don’t have children so I asked everybody I knew that had kids for everything they could give me. The baby came and I felt that I was really challenged. ‘Girlfriends’ like ‘Redrum’ was a great experience for me as an actor.

With so much done in six seasons, do you think the character ran its course?

JMJ: No, I think if Toni came back and when I say no, I say it because there are brilliant writers on ‘Girlfriends’. There is so much more that you can do. For me and my career, my contract was up after six seasons and there’s a whole film world that I wanted to experience and that’s what I’ve been doing. I think if Toni came back to the show, there would be so much more to write and much more to bring. That’s a testament to how great Mara and the rest of the writers are.

What keeps you grounded?

JMJ: My mom. Hands down, my mother. I talk to her like 5-6 times a day.

Why should anyone go see ‘The Perfect Holiday’?

JMJ: They should go see because it’s a great film. It’s a beautiful film about a family. It’s really a kid’s film. It’s about children. One, go see it because it’s a beautiful Black movie. Tow, go see it because it’s a beautiful Christmas movie and like I said before, it’s clean. I really do believe that this is a film that in ten years, you can pull out and show your children.


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