Jill Marie Jones has come a long way from her role as Toni Childs, the fashionable, bougie, and fun-loving character on the UPN sitcom, Girlfriends. In her exciting new role she plays Amanda Fisher, a no-nonsense detective on the Starz original series, Ash vs Evil Dead. She’s investigating weird occurrences in a small Michigan town, fighting demonic creatures, amidst blood, guts, and gore, and oh yes, she’s does 92% of her own stunts.
What’s even more commendable is that Jones has received a second breakout role in Hollywood—something that’s very rare in the TV and Film industry. “Girlfriends opened the door of comedy for me,” said Jones. “And now Ash has shown me that I love action. After filming Ash in New Zealand, I returned to the U.S. with a mass of bruises all over my body. I’ve shown my bruises off like a badge of honor. I loved every minute of it.”
With a slew of other notable TV series and films under her belt, the Texas-born actress is sending a clear message—she’s a Hollywood mainstay who brings much more than beauty on set. Black Enterprise caught up with Jones to learn more about her new role, lessons from Girlfriends, and her best advice to aspiring actresses.
Black Enterprise.com: As a child, did you dream about becoming an actress?
Jill Marie Jones: No, I don’t remember being a little girl and saying I wanted to be an actress. But my mother wasn’t surprised because of the way I behaved throughout my life. I grew up on NBC soaps, and I do remember being obsessed with Susan Lucci, who played Erica Kane on All My Children. I would watch her and repeat her “lines.” I also loved Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues—the film changed my life. She was brown like me, so it was like, “Wow, I can do that, too.” So, no I didn’t have acting as a target but maybe it was already written.
What’s the best career advice you could give to an aspiring actress?
Everybody’s journey is their own. Stay true to who you are. It’s not only about the things you say “yes” to, it’s also about the things you say “no” to.
I hear people say all the time, “I think I want to start acting.” But if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. So study and take a class. You have to know what you want to do in this industry because there are a lot of different avenues you can take. When I came to Los Angeles I was very clear on what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. I’m very proud to say that I stayed truthfully on my path. A young actor can come here (LA) and just be mind blown. I don’t like the fame. I like being on set; that’s one of the happiest places for me. Someone could say I have to be on set for 18 hours a day and I get excited, like, “What? 18 hours? I’m there!”
(Continued on next page)