Somebody’s uncle somewhere would say Jharrel Jerome is cooler than the other side of a pillow, and he’d be right. With a blossoming career and youth on his side, Jerome radiates an undeniable charm. But there's more to this cool persona.
He’s a quiet storm.
At just 25, this actor first lit up the big screen in 2016 in the Oscar-winning film, Moonlight. History was created when he became the first Afro-Latino actor to clinch an Emmy for Best Lead Actor with his riveting portrayal of Korey Wise from the Exonerated Five in Netflix's limited series When They See Us. Jerome's horizon looks promising with flashes of brilliance, ushering in a cascade of enthralling roles. Following his acclaimed performance in When They See Us, the phone lines went into a frenzy with calls pouring in, eager to collaborate with this celebrated actor.
Jerome recalls a meeting with his team, "We collectively decided on the path forward to ensure I continue my journey with careful planning." Standing firm, he's adamant about laying a solid foundation of constantly exceeding his own expectations. His mantra is simple, “Choose roles that pose the same level of challenge as the previous one. If it doesn't, then how can I have gotten better?” His approach is calculated and strategic, aimed at longevity rather than fleeting fame.
Jerome recounts his tough upbringing in the Bronx, “It exposed me to certain realities, fears, and survival instincts. It shaped my personality into a mix of resilience, emotionality, and an unyielding attitude." This serious demeanor is contrasted by the vibrant child Jerome was - an effervescent boy, joking, dancing, and being the family's "jumping bean."
Growing up in a bustling household of 10, Jerome was the light of the family, always uplifting the mood. This attribute, coupled with his mother's belief in his acting potential, nudged him onto the path of acting. His parents serve as his cornerstone, his confidants. “They are my anchor, without a doubt,” says Jerome.
Early in the morning, on the rooftop of a renowned West Hollywood hotel, Jerome steps in for his photo shoot. Poised and self-assured, he transitions from pose to pose with ease. Jerome admits, “I have this bubbling energy within me which I attempt to keep reserved as much as possible."
This concealed energy was enough to pique the interest of Boots Riley, the director of Sorry To Bother You, leading him to cast Jerome as the lead in his new Amazon Prime series, I'm a Virgo. Jerome further broadened his horizons by stepping into the role of an executive producer. “Boots brought me in early on. I realized I had a role beyond just acting. I could collaborate equally, creating a world beyond!”
Jerome's journey has been an extraordinary adventure of self-exploration and growth. “Doing things I never thought I'd be capable of, like, playing a 13-foot-tall character or training to be a wrestler, is so exhilarating,” Jerome comments on his expansive endeavors.
Music is Jerome's secret passion that he’s ready to reveal. “Music has been my hobby since I was 11. It was born from a deep-seated passion." He's aware of the skepticism he might face, the confinements people prefer to place others in. But Jerome is prepared to shatter these constraints.
His vision is to surprise people with his multifaceted talents. Drawing inspiration from Donald Glover, who has successfully ventured into diverse fields, Jerome wishes to leave a similar impact. “This isn't an overnight mission. Patience is key as I want to execute it perfectly,” he explains. His aim is steady, and he's playing a long game. His latest single, “Chinatown,” is an auditory testimony of his commitment to getting it right. Jerome possesses award-winning acting skills, and his musical prowess is equally exceptional.
Jerome's prodigious talent makes him a tranquil force to be reckoned with. And, as with any storm, his career trajectory remains delightfully unpredictable. "I am still evolving. I still have so much more to offer,” he shares. Looking to the future, he asserts, "I aspire to be 45 and scroll through my IMDB page with pride, thinking, 'Wow, look at this!'” The world will undoubtedly be watching this rising star's journey as well.
I'm A Virgo is currently streaming on Prime Video.