J.J. Totah Talks Jessie and Back In the Game!
J.J. Totah is a young actor originally from Sacramento who has appeared on Disney's Jessie and ABC's new show, Back In the Game! We chatted with J.J. about how he came to be an actor and about the highlights of his career!
"I was 2 years old when I knew I wanted to do musical theatre," J.J. said.
When he was 10, he realized that he wanted to take his acting career to television. J.J. located an application that allowed him to call casting directors.
When J.J.'s sister was admitted to UCLA, he came with her to Los Angeles. He started attending an acting class and joined a stand up comedy group, and his career has continued to take off from there!
"My sister is why I started," he said. "She did a lot of professional musical theatre back home in Sacramento."
His mother was also in show business as an intern for an 80s band called The Cure.
"She's a really cool mom," J.J. said. "And my dad likes to sing sometimes. Well, he tries to. We're a very fun and crazy family. If you put a camera on us we would all go crazy and blow up on cable!"
J.J. is well known for his recurring role on the hit Disney Channel show Jessie as Stuart Wooten.
"Stuart is really nice, and he's kind of a nerd," J.J. said. "He's really smart, and he's absolutely obsessed with Zuri. We would do anything to get to be her boyfriend."
J.J. said that he loves playing the role of Stuart.
"He's a fun character to play," he said. "He's crazy, like me."
Acting on Jessie also gave J.J. the chance to act alongside veteran actors.
"It was really cool working with Debby Ryan" J.K. said. "She was so experienced. She has spent a lot of her time acting on Disney Channel shows, and she gave me a couple of tips. It was great working with a professional."
J.J. said that his family members constantly inspire him.
"My brother and my sister are definitely my inspirations," he said. "My sister is the reason I started in show business. My brother is 18 and he has autism .We've done what we can to get him help, and he's amazing and extraordinary. He's the reason I keep going everyday."
But his siblings aren't the only family members who keep him motivated.
"My mom is awesome, and my dad is crazy but also awesome," he said. "I just love everybody in my family. They are my biggest inspiration."
J.J. explained that when he came to Los Angeles, he didn't expect to get achieve as much as he had.
"I was just expecting to come to L.A. and have the time of my life," J.J. said. "I felt like I was redoing the 10 years I lost by not being in L.A."
J.J. was also bullied when he went to school in Sacramento.
"I was being bullied, and I didn't have friends. I just didn't fit in in there," he said. "But here, I'm having fun and doing what I love to do."
He is very vocal on the subject of bullying, even participating in anti-bullying advocacy. He hopes that he can help to put a damper on bullying.
"I just did a video for GLAAD," J.J. said. "It's ok to be different. You shouldn't have to be labeled, and you shouldn't be bullied just because of silly things like because you don't like sports. People should know it's ok to just be yourself."
He has made some extraordinary memories since moving to L.A. to pursue acting.
"The most outstanding moments were when I booked Jessie and when I booked Back In the Game," J.J. said. "Those were the best feelings. Now I have the time of my life and I die and go to heaven everyday."
Even though J.J. has to wake up at 5am each day to drive to the set, he thinks every day of acting is absolutely worth it.
"I have my own little situation where I cuddle up with a blanket in the car," he said. "If I can't fall asleep I get to my trailer and take a nap there, and I wake up for my call time. It's hard, but as long as I'm acting I love every minute."
He also had some advice for aspiring kid actors.
"If you really really want to be an actor, you should ask yourself if you want it because it's money or fame. That's the wrong reason," J.J. said. "Passion is the reason I do it everyday. If I'm not having fun, I'll go back home."
He said that not everyone might be cut our for acting, but if you are, you're destined to succeed.
"Other kids might not have fun in this business, but if you care about it, it will come to you," J.J. said. "There's no possible way for you to come to it. It's completely based on luck. If you belong here, it will come to you."
Catch a new episode of J.J. Totah in ABC's Back In the Game tonight at 8:30pm!
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