Entertainment

Actress Ja’el Roberson Praises Her Mentor, Robert Townsend, and Talks Impact of a Young Girl

Fri., Jul. 13, 2012 7:10 AM EST
by Yvette Caslin

Full given name: Ja’el “The Great” Roberson

Current Project: I have two films coming out this summer and fall [including Torn, an 11 Eleven 11 Project].

Zodiac Sign: Pisces

Why did you take this role?
I took the role in Torn because, first of all, it was written, directed and produced by youth and I was amazed at the talent these young people possess. I was also intrigued by the story line and am always looking for challenging roles as an actress. This was a great experience for me and I am truly grateful for it.

Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor?
Robert Townsend is my mentor. I have been blessed to work with him on a couple projects as well as have him pour into me as a writer, director and actress.

The one movie you will never forget:
Besides attending my first movie I ever starred in, I think The Color Purple is definitely one of the movies that after leaving the theater. I felt moved and inspired to look further into acting.

Your personal acting idols:
Robert Downey Jr. I love him. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is dope as well. So many people are really talented in their own right.

Last good movie you saw:
City Island

Some films you consider classics:
Do the Right Thing, Boomerang, My Best Friend’s Wedding. There are so many. [Laughs]

Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Prince

Pop culture guilty pleasure:
I love Jennifer Lopez.

Favorite cities:
I don’t have a favorite. I love traveling internationally, though.

Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:

When I heard a commercial on the radio that said, “Tonight on Oprah, a 12-year-old living her dream.” I think she was a singer. At that point, I was like OK, from now on, I will only do what I love and have been created to do. I will only live my life on purpose.

Most challenging role you have played:

Wow, I would have to say when I played an assistant DA who had all kinds of issues. She was cheating on her husband. He went to jail for murder. Her best friend was murdered. She was kidnapped. [There] was a lot going on. She was completely opposite of me so that was an awesome role to play.

Three things you can’t live without:

Lip gloss, hand sanitizer and a phone.

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