Guess what, readers? I have another installment of my Inside Scoop Series. In this series, I interview marketing professionals, models and actors with natural hair about their experiences in the industry. For this installment, I’d like to introduce J’Zhanel ‘JZ’ Cole. I first found out about this blonde bombshell during Fro Fashion Week, Fall 2012. She was the host of the fashion show, and she was fierce!
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, J’Zhanel JZ Cole is a talented Actor, Model and Host.
After graduating from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management with a concentration in Music Business and a minor in Theater, she quickly began building a career working in artist management and development within the music industry, which afforded her the opportunity to travel and work with clients in both Los Angeles and Atlanta.
While working in the music industry, she then decided to make a commitment to take a leap of faith and pursue her dreams of becoming an actor. She completed the Tasha Smith Workshop (TSAW) in January of 2010; a workshop that in her own words “changed my life!” She was then presented with an opportunity of a lifetime to work on a major project that would take her to Atlanta and would change her life as well as take her career to another level.
She was signed to Legacy Talent Management, and has quickly built a name and extensive resume for herself with credits ranging from film, television, radio, Ad campaigns, print, and theater. Working with the following networks and production companies; BET Network (The Monique Show, Tiny & Toya Season 2, and Let’s Stay Together), CW Network (The Vampire Diaries), LifeTime Television (Drop Dead Diva), Universal Pictures (The Change Up), QueenDome Entertainment (S.H.E. SPITS- The Play: 5 MC’s, 3 Nights, 1 Mic), Dream Catcher Productions (Black Man-o-Logues I, II & Fading Flowers), ABC Family (Christmas Cupid), 20th Century Fox (Big Momma’s House 3),Tyler Perry Studios (Meet the Browns and For Colored Girls) and VH1’s (Single Ladies).
In addition to her career as a professional Actor, Model and Host, she also currently serves as the Founder/CEO of QueenDome Entertainment (QDE) with subsidiaries such as Actors Monologues Forum (AMF), JZTV, S.H.E. SPITS-The Play: 5 MC’S, 3 NIGHTS, 1 MIC, and Versification.
With a busy production schedule that currently keeps her working between Los Angeles and Atlanta, to the demanding responsibilities of this budding entrepreneur, she makes it look so effortless, while providing the sky in which others can soar.
J’Zhanel is a true example of hard work, perseverance and determination and she is not just talking about it, but in essence, she is living her DREAM!
“I believe that acting is my ministry, my mission, what I was created to do, so I am just using my gifts and talents as a conduit to help others achieve their potential.” J’Zhanel
1. When and why did you decide to go natural?
To be honest, there was never a definitive time when I decided to “go natural” as the texture of my hair has always been naturally curly ever since I was a little girl. I recall people sharing a common affinity and admiration for my hair and the older girls in my school would want to comb my hair, style it and or just ask to play in my hair. For this reason, my hair became this textured playground for all those who wanted to dive right in and explore its natural roots. However, it wasn’t until my college years that I consciously began wearing my hair in its natural state more often.
2. Describe your hair regimen. Do-it-yourself or let someone else do it for you?
I am a no holds barred “Do It Yourself” type of girl. So I usually tend to do my own hair on a daily basis, except for when I am preparing for an upcoming production, fashion show or while on set, in which I have my personal hair stylist tend to my crown. I am very protective of my natural crown, so I don’t just let anyone just play in it as I did when I was a little girl. My hair is like this sacred bounds and I am very careful who I let in the Curly Queendom!
3. What, if any, are the advantages to being natural in the industry? Have you ever experienced any challenges? Rude comments? Negative experiences?
I think the biggest advantage to being natural in the industry is versatility, which is one of the key components of an artist. As a professional Actor and Model, it is very important for me to be able to portray many types of looks. Since my hair is natural, I have the ability to give the casting directors a myriad of styles. I can rock my hair in a curly crown, pin it up, adorn braids, ponytail, Mohawk and or bone straight. This has been a significant part of the casting process for me and it has served as a greater advantage. So far, in my career, I have never experienced any challenges and or received rude or negative comments as a result of me rocking my natural hair. If anything, it always seems to become a conversation piece prior to my auditions.
4. What do you think accounts for the representation of natural hair in the media? In your opinion, is it increasing, or has it always been there and we never noticed until we went natural (as some have suggested)?
I believe that it is increasing more as women are learning to accept and be comfortable in the skin that they are in and embrace their hair as a symbol of beauty as opposed to something that they should hide or cover up with weaves, wigs, hats or head wraps. I think that it is something that we do subconsciously as African American women because we are often taught to hate the texture of our hair instead of adoring it. This self hate is a result of the whole “good or bad” hair complex and I believe now, the tables have turned significantly because many women are learning that being natural is a beautiful thing!
5. What is your advice for aspiring models who want to wear their natural hair to auditions and casting calls?
I would just encourage ALL women to accept and love who they are from the inside and once that happens, that essence will transcend on the outside. I would say be bold, be versatile, be beautiful, but most importantly; BE YOURSELF! In the end, agents, directors, casting directors, producers and everyone in between will appreciate it.
6. What upcoming projects do you have?
I am currently producing a docu-series entitled, “I Am Arconic,” under my production company QueenDome Entertainment (QDE). “I Am Arconic” is a docu-series that highlights African American women within the industry who have made a mark in their respective fields (i.e. Photography, Acting, Modeling, Music, Make-Up, etc) as an artist and are quickly on their way to becoming an Icon, and or as I like to refer to them, “Arconic!” I am also working on some upcoming ventures for T.V. One as well as some upcoming national Ad Campaigns.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to add that beauty comes in all kinds of shapes, colors and textures and as women we need to embrace that, starting from the top of our natural crowns and all the way down to our pedi-cured toes. In my opinion confidence isn’t something that can be taught, however, it is something that one creates! As women, we can create the difference within the media as well as across the board when it comes to presenting another dynamic of the standard of beauty. I believe that if there was an election for the next Natural Chic to represent this great nation of the United States of Natural America…then hands down, I would be the next Curl Queen of Staff! Lol
8. Where can my readers and guests find you on the Internet? Readers can find me on Facebook or can visit my website. For general inquiries for QueenDome Entertainment (QDE) contact via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JZ, thank you so much for providing your thoughts on natural hair and acting, modeling, and auditioning with my readers.
For other interviews with industry insiders, check out: