On January 10th of this year one of the most talked-about movies of 2016 made it's way to stores and and digital outlets: The Birth of a Nation. Based on the based true story of Nat Turner, the enslaved man who inspired many and led a rebellion against those who held sway over them, the film's talented cast included actress Jeryl Prescott who has brought to life so many amazing characters over the years including on the popular television show The Walking Dead.
I had a chance to sit down with Jeryl and discuss not just The Birth of a Nation but what it's been like for her to slip into the skin of various characters, sharing some amazing stories along the way. "Every time I get a job as an actress I consider it a small miracle," she told me. Her desire to act came from her roots in the church. "The church is where I learned to play the piano and find the confidence to speak in front of a crowd and take a bigger leadership role," she says. "That gave me the confidence and the interest in being on stage and having something to say. That's how I began to see myself as an actress."
She went to college and did theater, but even though she saw herself doing more, Jeryl experienced what so many do when it comes to pursuing their goals and dreams: the individuals who told her what wasn't going to be possible for her. "Nonetheless I've been able to find a variety of roles to play," she says. "It's suggestive of the need for diversity and a appreciation of diversity." Realizing the conversations taking place about the roles of women---and especially women of color---Jeryl added. "It's suggestive of we are everything. We have always met challenges and create spaces for ourselves. Every profession will offer certain challenges. You have to go into it with a positive attitude and the belief that God put you there for something and move forward."
Talking about The Birth of a Nation, Jeryl says "It is a powerful project, and I am so grateful to Nate Parker. Nate Parker is an amazingly generous and bold director/producer/writer. I have an amazing amount of anticipation about the journey of this film." (At the time of this article it is in the top 50 Dramas on Amazon.com.)
Jeryl's journey continues with not just exciting projects but the relationships she is forging along the way. Whether discussing the talented cast of The Birth of a Nation or The Walking Dead, she says "There's an immortality that comes with all acting. The fans hold on to you and never let you go. The friendships that I developed have been real." Speaking of The Walking Dead in particular she says this: "The show will never die, because it constantly asks us to search inside of ourselves. It's a constant universal questioning."
As she prepares for what's next, Jeryl continues to enjoy the 'small miracle' that is her career and invites you to stay connected with her on Twitter and Instagram at /therealjeryl.