Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.
Hey there! I’m Jaime Andrews and I’m an actress, writer and filmmaker. I do it because I’m impelled by a force beyond myself! Ultimately, I’m a storyteller, and I seek to connect with audiences to make them think, feel, and hopefully laugh a bunch, too. I want people to know that I overcame a lot of struggles and strife to get where I am, because, in knowing this, it can give hope to others.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
As easy as it is to think that actors are a dime a dozen, each one of us is an individual that brings their own particular self to their work. My life has been pretty extraordinarily singular, so I do think I offer a unique point of view in both my writing and acting. I also think my breadth of experience allows me an emotional access and understanding of humanity that serves me in both regards.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment?
I really didn’t have one of those moments, performing was always something I did. I was the lead in all the school shows starting in kindergarten, but it wasn’t a choice, it was more like an imperative. And I told anyone who would listen! There’s never been anything else I wanted to do, and thankfully, I was able to make a career out of it. It’s a great validation of all those years of passion and drive. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy, but, for the most part, I’ve been really lucky.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
Well, while my mental health struggle has been difficult, my life’s most significant challenge was the loss of my sister, Jennifer. We lost her at age 30 to leukemia and it was, and still is, devastating. However, her loss is also my greatest inspiration.
I want to make her proud, and to live my life to the fullest because she didn’t get to. I don’t know if it’s a thing you ever really overcome, though. I wish we could have shared our lives together, and I’ve definitely missed out on her guidance. She was the coolest.
Photographer: Stacey Bode | Hair and Makeup: Jacque Carder
You recently released your book The Brink: a memoir. Can you describe the inspiration behind this book?
There were a couple of driving forces behind The Brink. I knew I had a crazy story to tell and made several attempts to get it on paper. But, when the book A Million Little Pieces by James Frey turned out to be untrue, it really spurred me on to get writing, because I knew my story was maybe even wilder without making anything up.
I also got a free palm reading when I was doing a show in Edinburgh, and the reader said, “You’re a storyteller, you have to tell your story.” So it felt like a celestial decree, to be honest. I couldn’t very well deny the truth of my own hand!
What is something you hope that readers can take away or learn after reading the book?
I hope that people read my book and realize they can overcome anything. That no matter how dark life may seem, there is always hope. And I hope they get some good laughs, too. Even if they’re at my expense.
What did you enjoy the most about writing and bringing the book to life?
I certainly enjoyed how easily The Brink poured out of me. It was like an exorcism. I didn’t judge it; I just wrote like a madwoman in a fever. Then when I went back and read it, I was so thrilled with the result. I think there’s really fun use of language and turns of phrase, that’s my favorite part of it. And I’m proud of how honest I was able to be.
You are also an actress and producer. Can you tell us what has been your favorite project that you have worked on, and why was it your favorite?
I have a soft spot for the play I wrote, Cookie & the Monster. It was my first time writing something very autobiographical and putting it out before an audience. It was really terrifying to do, but its success has given me the confidence to continue writing and being vulnerable in this way.
The cast was made up of all my friends, too, which was so fun and comforting. When it won an award at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, I felt like I got hit by a truck. I was just so proud and overwhelmed. Also, I wound up getting together with my husband because of that show, so it was an all-around A+ experience.
What types of acting roles do you naturally gravitate toward? If you had to describe your ideal project in 3 words, what would they be?
It’s funny because, growing up, I always thought I was this serious actress, but my career has really gravitated more toward comedy. Still, I do love dark characters and content. Like most actors, I love playing people who are dealing with some great struggle. I think my ideal project would be dark, funny and meaningful. I hope to create work that can be described that way.
You also wrote, produced, and starred in Division. If you had to describe the film, what would you say?
It’s dark, funny and meaningful! I used to say that Division is a Romeo & Juliet story between a liberal and a conservative, but that’s not really true. It’s the story of an actress (me being autobiographical again) who connects with a fan online before the election of 2020, when we were all stuck inside. It feels like fate until she learns that he has opposing politics. So, it’s really the story of whether they can come together or if we are all too far apart.
What was your inspiration behind taking on this project?
There were a few things. Firstly, I’m a very politically passionate person, and I was super disturbed by the climate of our country leading up to that election. Then, I have had some interactions with fans online and I always establish firm boundaries, but I imagined what could happen if I crossed them.
Everything just kind of coalesced into the story of Division, and – just like with The Brink – the script poured out of me very easily. It was kind of magical. I owe a lot to my co-producer and actor in the film, David Lee Garver. He was pushing me to write it and then introduced me to his friend, our director, Jason Winn.
Do you have a memorable experience from your time working on Division that you can share with us?
Well, the funniest story from our shoot is the day we shot the scene with my neighbor, played by the awesome Corrye Harden. She’s supposed to offer me some pot to smoke, so someone had brought in these two pipes for us to use and we had gotten CBD that looked like weed but didn’t have any THC. So we are doing the scene and suddenly realize we are very high.
It turned out the two pipes we used hadn’t been cleaned, so we were smoking old resin, too. Somehow, miraculously, we got through the whole scene and it turned out great. Normally, this sort of thing happening would have freaked me out and really upset me, but I guess it was the way it was supposed to happen. The scene is VERY authentic.
Can you share with us how you balanced being an actress, producer, and the writer of Division? What were the biggest challenges you encountered?
I have to admit, it came to me very easily. I wasn’t sure it would, I had never done anything like it before, but I was really driven on making Division happen. Writing it made memorizing it much easier, as you could imagine, and I had done most of the aspects of production before the shoot, so I could focus on the acting.
I was really gratified when David told me after the shoot that I had nailed every aspect. I think I surprised everyone, including myself. There were some challenges with crew, but a lot less than there could have been, and we got a little flak from a neighbor when we did our big final scene, but otherwise, it was an incredibly smooth production.
Can you share with us the type of projects you are hoping to produce with your production company, Jaimation, for 2024?
I am super excited about my latest script, Hardcore. For one thing, it’s the first thing I’ve written that’s not about me. But it is a story with a message that I’m very passionate about. It’s based on the real true-crime story of a kid I went to high school with.
It’s truly shocking, and an indictment of the state of mental health care in our country. See that? Dark, funny and meaningful again. It’s the trifecta! My friend said I could sell it, but I really would love to produce again.
As a multi-hyphenate talent, what is the biggest piece of advice you can give to someone who would also like to act, produce and write? How would you recommend they get started?
Just do it! Write little scripts and shoot them on your phone with your friends. There’s a lot of content out there, so, most importantly, you can’t get discouraged if things don’t take off. Just keep doing it. Take classes, read books, learn all you can about what you’re trying to do. I also think it’s valuable to do background work to see what it’s like to be on a major set.
What is one interesting thing people don’t know about you?
I almost exclusively like old books. Dostoevsky, Kafka, Zola, Camus, those are my jam. Probably explains my tendency to gravitate toward dark content! The only modern writer that got close to what I’m into is Milan Kundera. I also didn’t finish college, so I think these books were my education, and the only reason I have some semblance of a grasp on language.
What advice would you give to young people who want to work in the entertainment industry?
As I said before, learn all you can about the field. Really immerse yourself in it and, most of all, treat it like a business. I think young people think entertainment is all fun and glamour, but it can be a really difficult road, so make sure you’re prepared for that. I’d also suggest they do theater. It can offer great experience and a community in a business that can be very isolating.
What are your professional goals for the next year?
I hope that Hardcore will have found a home by the end of the year, and I’m already working on the follow up to The Brink: a memoir. It’s called Further, and – believe it or not – things actually got worse for me before they got better.
I also have a couple of series ideas that I’m going to focus on writing. My good friend wants to shop a series of The Brink: a memoir, which would be very exciting. Of course, I’m hoping some juicy acting roles crop up again too. I was on a bit of a roll before the strike went down.
Do you have any other projects coming up that you can tell us about?
Sure! For the last couple of months, I’ve been co-hosting a podcast with Daniel Baldwin, and that’s been really fun. We’re live every Friday on YouTube and this cool platform, iShook. I’ve also been working on a graphic novelization of that play, Cookie & the Monster. I would love to see that happen.
If you had to pick the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could take your career (or business) to the next level. Who would those 3 people be?
I’m most excited about working with other female producers. Megan Ellison is making incredible movies, and I’ve been a fan of Christine Vachon for decades. Then, I can’t decide between Margot Robbie and Emerald Fennell. They work together, though, so maybe it could be two birds, one stone situation. I’ve always thought I would benefit from a mentor, and I would love to get the benefit of their experience.
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