Jaqueline Flemming has held many diverse roles in various recent movies and TV series including Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer, Treme, and The Beat of Bering Strait, a SYFY original movie. Though her newly opened acting studio was not originally part of her life plan, she’s currently pouring her energies into making it a success. Meanwhile, her acting career is still going strong. All in all, she’s a very successful woman who is seeking to inspire others through her actions and mentoring.
The Details: Jaqueline Fleming, 36, actress and owner of Jaq’s Acting Studio and Management Company
Tell me about your background.
I was born in Denmark to a Danish-German Mom & African American dad. My birth mom was killed tragically in a car accident when I was a baby and my father brought me to the United States where I was raised between NYC and St. Louis. I went to Little Red School House and Cathedral High School in NYC and Webster University in St. Louis and finished my Film/TV/Dance training at Columbia College in Chicago. While in college in Chicago I started working professionally as an actress in commercials and film and I landed a film called Losing Isaiah, starring Halle Berry and she persuaded me to head to Hollywood to pursue my acting career in film and TV. Halle said that’s where you have to go to do movies, so I went.
How did your parents influence your career?
My father was an actor and director. Growing up, a lot of actors came by our house in NYC and I would watch them do live theatre at the Negro Ensemble Theatre Company, and I wanted that life.
What made you decide to go into acting?
I was glued to the TV as a child and at the age of three and was reciting commercials, so it was organic for me—just what I was drawn to. I attended Little Red School in the village and we were all kids of parents in entertainment and it’s just what felt right.
Your roles are very diverse. Do you prefer comedy or drama? What was your favorite character?
I have lived a very diverse life and have played roles from a crack head, prostitute, scientist, attorney, trophy wife, a ghetto hoodrat, to a historical figure. There is a piece of myself, of my life experiences, in all the roles I play. I bring a part of me to all of them. I love comedy and drama equally. I find them both challenging and a reflection of my moments in life.
How did you like working around all those famous actors? Are there any interesting stories you have to tell about working with them? What did you learn from working with them?
I have worked opposite so many A list actors and at the end of the day, they are actors like me and we are all in the same space telling a story. Their energy and personas have all been different and some I respected and admired more than others, but it’s a job to me and I’m going to work just like them. My fascination is not with actors but with the directors, producers, and executive producers. Those are the ones I watch and speak with when given the opportunity.
Tell me about your current projects: A.D.A.M. and Barefoot and your roles as Agent Turner and Nurse Margie. What made you accept these roles?
I am set to star in “Adam” as a FBI agent. It’s a Sci-Fi film produced/directed by someone I truly admire, Dr. Mellisa Caudle, and we haven’t started production yet. “Barefoot” will be released soon and I play a ballsy nurse opposite Evan Rachel Wood and Scott Speedman. I just starred in the SYFY original movie “Bering Sea Beast” opposite three young Hollywood Celebrities. It’s set to air in September on the SYFY network.
What was your most challenging role so far?
A: In Bering Sea Beast, I play a marine biologist and we’re being hunted by sea vampires. This was probably my most challenging role to date. The Harriet Tubman role [in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer] was just as challenging but in a very different way. It earned me a lot of controversy over portraying Harriet Tubman…in fact, CNN hit me on Twitter for an interview and I declined.
You've been on Treme. Tell us about that and what it was like filming here in NoLa.
Treme was one of the reasons I ended up staying, which led me to doing volunteer work at Children’s Hospital which led me to opening an acting studio. Casting told me they loved me but didn’t want to waste me on the pilot and would wait for something bigger on in the series and then I got on the show and they killed my father on the show off and there went my storyline. Two great episodes. I couldn’t help but laugh at the time.
What is your dream role?
Anything that challenges me as an actor, makes me stretch. Great story, director, cast. I don’t audition that much in Louisiana because I am very specific on the roles I want to play. I am not interested in popping up on the screen in one or two scenes unless its pivotal to the heart of the story and opposite the star of the film.
What is one thing you don’t like about acting?
In the beginning the politics were draining and so now I do the leg work as an actor and stay out of the results and if I don’t get a role it doesn’t bother me because I am so confident in my craft and trust that I didn’t get that role for a reason. I learned to leave it and keep moving.
Tell me what inspired you to open your acting studio. What’s your overall mission there?
Opening my acting studio was not planned or on my agenda of something I aspired to so. Some days I just look back and laugh because God had a plan for me here in New Orleans and I didn’t even see it coming. Since having a studio my mission has been to help others achieve their goals in entertainment by mentoring aspiring actors and parents of kids interested in becoming actors.
How many students to you have, and what kind of programs do you teach?
We have kids at the studio so I have workshops going all throughout the week over here. We keep the actual classes small and I don’t like more than 10-12 students in each workshop. Its cool cause each day has its own energy at the studio depending on the age group coming to class and the teacher for that particular workshop. I love the Master Adult Workshop because it feeds my soul as an actor and I love seeing our teens at work because it takes me back to my dreams of acting. But my favorite is Disney Saturday, which caters to kids only. They are my babies and I love them all. They are VIP in my studio. Whatever they want I make happen for them.
Tell me about your plans for the future.
My acting studio is ever evolving. Some very exciting things are happening this year at the studio. Keep your eyes on us, because we are about to make some major noise!
As far as the WYEN Conference goes, what do you plan to speak about?
I plan to speak from my heart and my life’s experiences and it will be brutally honest. I am going to share my hard core testimony. I want to relay a message of empowerment and deliverance. A message that uplifts and inspires. One that says you can overcome any obstacle in life and become a superwoman.