Birmingham native JA. Mack is an up and coming veteran actor. The actor is much worthy of HypeFresh’s recognition as his talents continue to blossom after years in showbiz. Before HypeFresh could dive into asking any questions, JA. laid it all out. It is our honor to help celebrate such talent.
Meet JA. Mack.
As JA. prepared for his interview, he joked about his nights out in Atlanta while lighting a black and mild. He took a puff, then joked about how aggressive the “cougars” are in Atlanta. Although Mack is from Birmingham, the thespian now resides in Atlanta, Georgia to continue his dreams as an actor. JA. described his childhood growing up as an only child as well as being a military brat. His story is a little different from most, as his mother is a military veteran. JA.’s mother, a single mom, earned numerous rankings during the 80s, calling for Mack to have a nanny. This is where the magic began, explaining his younger nanny as being very hands on, participating in games with him. She would have JA. give his toys personalities and characteristics to interact with. This would be the start to young JA.’s acting career.
Growing older as a kid, acting is the furthest away from Mack’s mind. Describing himself as charismatic, he tells us how people were just naturally drawn to him. By the age of 12, things would take off. At that time, Mack explained his aspirations as an athlete rather than acting.
JA. Accepts True Talent
At 16, a drama teacher at JA.’s high school would randomly come to his class one day to ask him to audition for a play. Never seeing JA. act, this would come to a surprise for the then athlete. Although he didn’t understand her reasons, he would still go for the role. Without a doubt, he would score the role. Back then, drama classes would take plays on competitions. With his small role, he would go on to compete in the Alabama State Trumbauer Competition. With judges having an eye for his talent, he would win one out of two slots for the award, “All Star Cast Member”. From here, JA. would accept his talent of being a natural born actor.
And The List Goes On. . .
He would go on to compete for Acting Solo Dramatic and Acting Solo Comedic, where he secured first and second place winnings. Upon winning first place at the Alabama State Thespian Competition, he would advance to the international state competition. After winning third place at International he would get an invite to Los Angeles to audition for some soap operas, Nickelodeon, Disney and ABC, to name a few.
JA. Mack recalled phoning his girlfriend back in Alabama in late January—it was cold there but sunny in California. He told her about all the auditions and meetings, relaying to her that he could really see himself making it there.
Mack would be given monologues to practice amongst other thespians, receiving invites to corporate offices. He would constantly receive messages from agents. Then, Ubers didn’t exist, so taxi rides would become Mack’s friend. However, he was paying for this out of his own pockets.
With all of this happening, there would come a turning point for JA.. Upon being asked to quit high school to pursue a career in LA, things would change for the actor. Mack actually wanted to finish high school and felt that if Hollywood wanted him, they would pay for him to be there.
On Stage in Birmingham
UAB is also on the list for scoping Mack’s talent. The school would offer him a scholarship after seeing him in the state competition. He would receive offers from countless schools from Chicago to Florida.
“I didn’t want to play in Shakespearean plays. I ain’t want to be in no damn sheet.”
Upon choosing UAB to study, he brags about the school’s openness to different styles of acting.
“UAB had showcases, they had talent shows—it just felt right. I was able to maneuver how I wanted to,” Mack said.
He goes on to tell us that during his senior year at UAB, he gets the favor of performing August Wilson’s play, The Piano Lesson at the Sirote Theatre. “The Sirote Theatre is like the Super Bowl of theatres—we were the first and only black show there, to this day.” Mack’s biggest movie, Stakes, by director Brandon Mason, is at the top of the list. He performs alongside Disney actor, Tobie Windham in the movie. He also brags about starring on the radio show, Body Love, with Windham for seven years. After this, JA.’s resume expands to voiceover commercial work for McDonald’s, Burger King, Radioshack, and Blockbuster. During Obama’s first term, Mack secured a role in a Democratic commercial for the former President, airing all over the Southeast.
“I’m on the low with it, like an underground rapper. I just enjoy doing the craft. I do plays when I feel like it—I don’t feel pressured,” Mack said.
JA. Mack shared his most recent role in the play, THE LIGHT, directed by Charnele Brown, who is Kimberly in A Different World. The play is written by playwright, La Webb.
You can find JA. Mack on Instagram.