It’s not everyday we see someone succeed by simply being themselves, but comedic actress, Jasmin Brown is proving that it can be done! From self-made social media sensation to full-blown television star, Brown is using her raw, down-to-earth personality to her advantage. Known for her relatable rant videos, Jasmin (aka @WatchJazzy) has acquired over a half-million Instagram followers, to whom she vents about everything from relationships to social media trends. Now, the Florida native is making her television debut in BET’s new sketch comedy show, 50 Central— and this is only the beginning! We caught up with the rising star to chat about her exciting new TV gig, Toya Turnup, and more!
Interview by Shannon Phelps, Photo by Mike Ruiz
Shannon Phelps: Tell us a little about your life, growing up.
Jasmin Brown: I was born in Takoma Park, Maryland and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida with my immediate family. My mom is the most loving person I’ve ever met in my life. My dad; Hardest working man I know. My brother, Brandon; to this day, he makes me laugh like no other! My sister, Janel; my backbone and strongest supporter. I couldn’t have asked for a better family! Don’t get me wrong, we’re not the Brady Bunch — we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs and split ups. [But] our love for each other always brings us back together. Growing up, I was given a lot of creative freedom at a young age. I was able to pick out my own clothes, dress myself, and have imaginary friends — all which led to me becoming who I am, today. My brother, sister and I used to record ourselves doing skits on a camcorder and my mother never, not once, shot our ideas down. I grew up with the freedom to develop into who I pride myself on being today: Myself.
Shannon: When did you realize you wanted to be an actress/ comedian?
Jasmin: Well, I always wanted to be actress. I never saw myself doing comedy, but it sort of fell into my lap. As a child, I would put on shows for my family and play different characters, which is where it started, unbeknownst to me.
Shannon: Who/ what are your biggest inspirations, personally & professionally?
Jasmin: Professionally, I am inspired by Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle, but as a woman I want to be a role model in the light of these professionals. I want other young women to know that we can be funny, unapologetic and ourselves, while being great. Personally, I am inspired by those that look up to me, because this gives me motivation to wake up every morning and do the things that I am doing.
Shannon: How would you describe your sense of humor?
Jasmin: Raw. Unapologetic. Relatable. I don’t have jokes to tell, but I have stories and life situations that will make you laugh. This is my life!
Shannon: So many people enjoy your hilarious rant videos on Instagram. What inspired you to start posting them? Did you have any idea they would catch on like this?
Jasmin: No, I didn’t! I just needed to get something off my chest one day and I decided to vent on Instagram. I used the hashtag #EMWIV, which means ‘Excuse me while I vent’. [The tag] later turned into #ExcuseMeWhileIVent — I figured nobody would really understand the meaning of EMWIV, so I spelled it out.
Shannon: One thing I love about your videos is how real & relatable they are. How do you come up with the material? Do you typically draw from your personal experiences or just general observations?
Jasmin: Both. It’s usually personal, but then a general conversation can spark up a topic to talk about. My girlfriends would sometimes suggest a topic to rant on, because it’s something that happened to them. For example, I did a video about your ex receiving a signal when you move on, which was inspired by my girlfriend who’s happily moved on.
Shannon: You have a separate Instagram account dedicated to a character you created named, LaToya James aka Toya Turnup. What was the inspiration behind
Toya? Is she kind of like your alter-ego?
Jasmin: Yes! She is definitely my alter-ego. Having Toya on a separate account gave me the freedom to create without boundaries. She was inspired by the women I saw, growing up. We moved to West Palm Beach in a rough neighborhood and there were Toyas
everywhere. Not knowing it at the time, she was being created subconsciously.
Shannon: You’ve become quite the social media sensation! Would you say your popularity has affected your everyday life?
Jasmin: Yes, it’s affected my life, which is very inspiring. I go places and I’m recognized by people that follow me and love watching my videos.
Shannon: Have you had any interesting encounters with fans/ followers?
Jasmin: Yes, definitely! I’ve encountered fans that have met me and cried. We both cried together, because it’s new to me too. It’s like laughing and crying together, because tears are contagious to me.
Shannon: We’re very excited about your new BET show, 50 Central! What can you tell us about it? What can viewers expect when they tune in?
Jasmin: New fresh faces presenting a combination of sketch-comedy, hidden camera pranks, ‘man on the street’ segments mixed with music and celebrity guest appearances. Be sure to tune in September 27th at 10:30 PM/ 9:30 PM Central on BET.
Shannon: This show is a huge milestone in your career! How’d you land the role? Was your audition process long and drawn-out or was it pretty straight-forward?
Jasmin: They reached out, I submitted a self-tape audition and was invited for a callback in Los Angeles.
Shannon: What’s it like working with 50 Cent?
Jasmin: It’s great! He’s very hands-on with this project. He’s also very smart and we’re all learning from him throughout this process. He also mentioned learning a lot from us too, so it’s a great experience overall.
Shannon: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from the entertainment industry, thus far? Any advice for other aspiring actors/ comedians?
Jasmin: I would tell them to study the craft and don’t practice on the industry. Practicing on the industry means figuring it out, while on the job. Come prepared. Be Prepared. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my craft and most importantly my character. Being humble is key.
Shannon: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced on your journey, thus far?
Jasmin: Being a woman in a male-dominated industry and pushing through, while also maintaining my integrity.
Shannon: What are your thoughts on the representation of female comedians in today’s media? Do you feel there’s extra pressure on you as a black woman in the industry?
Jasmin: There is a shift in the industry that is showing the better side of female actresses, writers and comedians. Issa Rae, Tiffany Haddish, Shonda Rhimes, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Queen Latifah, Halle Berry, Tichina Arnold and many more. So, there’s no pressure, but rather a path that I feel was paved for me to create my own lane.
Shannon: Speaking of Tiffany Haddish, Queen Latifah, and Issa Rae, Girls Trip and Insecure have been huge steps forward for black women in comedy! Do you think the success of these titles will lead to more diversity in the future?
Jasmin: Of course! And I hope to create my own movies and star in them. Girls Trip grossed over $100M in the box office, which proves that the future is female! Issa Rae doing what she is doing with Insecure, again, proves the future is female! So, I agree that the success of these titles are huge steps forward for black women in comedy.
Shannon: So, what’s next for you, Jasmin? Any new projects in the works?
Jasmin: I’m moving to Los Angeles and I’ll be there for a while. Toya Turnup being on her own tour! The Turnup Tour may be coming to city near you! Our first date is September 26th in Philadelphia, PA, then we’re in Richmond, VA October 11th and Virginia Beach, VA October 12th. Also, stay tuned for upcoming projects that are currently in the works.
Shannon: Awesome! You have amazing skin, by the way. What are some of your favorite skincare products?
Jasmin: Thank you! I’m always trying something new, but I’m currently using Boscia, Origins, Fresh and Tata Harper.
Shannon: Your hair is also very beautiful & healthy! Any haircare tips you care to share?
Jasmin: I’m currently working on my own haircare line and it’s coming soon! FLOURISH by Jasmin Brown. Can’t wait for you ladies to try it! Men too. LOL
Shannon: What are some of your guilty pleasures?
Jasmin: Beauty products and sneakers
Shannon: If you could only keep three beauty products in your bag, what would they be?
Jasmin: Sunscreen, concealer, lip balm, and edge control, if I could have four products. In that order!
Shannon: What are some of your fashion essentials?
Jasmin: Sneakers and mini backpacks!
Shannon: What’s the last show you binge-watched?
Jasmin: HBO’s Insecure
Shannon: What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen?
Jasmin: Rush Hour 2
Shannon: What’s your favorite song/ album right now?
Jasmin: “DNA”/ DAMN. By Kendrick Lamar
Shannon: Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
Jasmin: When I was younger, I used to get $10 allowance every week that I would save up to buy a cheap wig and disposable camera. [I’d] pretend to be other people and put on talent shows for my family.
Photographer: Mike Ruiz
Makeup Artist: Gregg Brockington
Hair Stylist: Niko Weddle
Model: Jasmin Brown