We had the good fortune of connecting with Johnny Jay Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Johnny Jay, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I’ve found that there are 3 factors at play whenever I have experienced personal success: faith, humor, and blind leaps into the unknown.
1. Faith in God’s love and his ability to take care of me no matter what happens; no matter if I get the big auditions I have been dreaming about or if I never work in the entertainment industry again–just knowing He has me covered gives me the freedom to take risks and boldly pursue my career. Even if I make mistakes on the way. He’s got me, and if you want it, He has got you too.
2. Humor that allows me to not sweat the small stuff. Messed up a line? It happens. Had a bad day and now you have a last minute audition that you have had no time to prepare for? Lean into it. Have fun with it. Embrace the crazy uncertainty with a lightheartedness. The world is filled to the brim with humor if you don’t take yourself too seriously.
3. Blind leaps into the unknown: I’ve only lived in LA for two-and-a-half years. My wife and I moved here without representation, about $200 in the bank account after leasing an apartment we hadn’t seen in-person, a baby on the way, and very few film credits. A couple of kids with a dream. But we strongly felt that this was the right step for us, so we took that leap. Taking that leap changed our lives for the better. But at the start, we could never have seen the outcome.
The fact I have booked as much as I have is astounding; the fact that my management team (Kreativ Media Partners) took a chance on me and has since helped me book projects on NETFLIX, ABC, PEACOCK, CBS, & LIFETIME (as well as multiple features throughout my two years here), is nothing but a testament to Christ’s love, grace, and steadfastness in my life as I pursue more ways to use the talents I’ve been given.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve learned so many lessons these past couple years in LA. I’m pretty organized…. which is why you are getting lots of lists today, dear reader:
1. As an Actor, don’t take things too personally. There is so much happening that you may never get to see. Focus on the little victories. Focus on your work, and keep looking ahead.
2. Jesus has a sense of humor. Look to him for grounding.
3. Write your dreams down. Put them out there (Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso – Let’s talk about Fantastic Four!).
4. Share your goals with your collaborators, THEN help them with theirs WITHOUT the expectation of reciprocation–you’ll be wonderfully surprised by the form of payback you receive.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love the basics of LA. I would take them to Dino’s Pizza in Burbank, then go for a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains…. grab a quick beer at the Blue Dog in Sherman Oaks, and then…. as touristy as it is, nothing beats the sunset at Santa Monica pier for me.
In my opinion, wherever you look, LA is beautiful.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A little credit will always go to comic books. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created the Fantastic Four and I was lucky enough to discover and start reading those original comics from the 60s when I was very little. The adventure, the family dynamics, the costumes!!! They were super heroes, but they also had real life problems. They would work together to solve their problems on a personal level, but also on a galactic scale–I love that.
Disney gets a share of the credit too (and not just for inspiring a large part of my childhood, haha!), I was so stoked when I heard that Disney might acquire FOX and then MAYBE reboot the Fantastic Four; with that very real possibility out there, I knew immediately that I wanted to shift my entire career from stage to film.
I was even more excited when Jon Watts was officially announced as director of the reboot. I love his work. Cop Car and Clown are both genius in concept and character moments. As an Actor, I can only imagine what a dream it would be to meet with him and chat–if you haven’t looked into his career history, you definitely should: Jon manifested his career in such a gutsy and huge way. I will always admire and feel inspired by that. SO, I guess you could say that he gets a little credit as well!
I mean, what if? What if your childhood dreams were your real life future? Kind cool to think about.
Other: Personal website: www.JohnnyJayLee.com
Photographs By Lee Kaleb Seaton