SMC "brat" makes guest star appearance on ABC-TV's "Modern Family"
By James Spellman, Jr., Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs
/ Published January 13, 2016
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The siren call of Hollywood as the entertainment capital of the world and its images of fame, fortune and celebrityhood have lured many to try and "Make it Big in Tinsletown."
Although many have had their dreams dashed, a few who once served in the Air Force have gone on to notable careers, such as Academy Award winning actors Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable and Morgan Freeman. Others, like comedian Flip Wilson, martial arts expert and action superstar Chuck Norris and country singer-songwriter Johnny Cash have made their marks on the collective consciousness of television viewers and movie-going audiences worldwide.
Given its close proximity to the entertainment industry, it's no secret the Space and Missile Systems Center and Los Angeles Air Force Base -- as the only military installation in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area -- are occasionally called upon by Hollywood. For instance, the base's Honor Guard appeared in an episode of NBC-TV's smash series, "The West Wing" in 2006.
Working in conjunction with the Secretary of the Air Force's Entertainment Liaison Office in Westwood, Calif., personnel from SMC and Los Angeles AFB have even served as technical advisors or background extras in many motion picture and television shows ranging from "Air Force One," "Call to Glory," "The Right Stuff," "Rocket's Red Glare" and the "Transformers" series of blockbuster films
Add to that cast of notable players with Air Force connections the name Asia Jackson. The aspiring model and actress is the daughter of Baron Jackson, the Launch Enterprise Directorate's chief of the information technology branch at SMC. The younger Jackson made a screen-credited guest star appearance during Wednesday evening's prime-time broadcast of ABC-TV's "Modern Family."
As an Air Force "brat," Jackson moved from California to Mississippi when she was just two weeks old. Since then, she moved nine more times around the world before she was 13 years old. She spent two years of her elementary studies in Tokyo, Japan as well as Baguio City in the Republic of the Philippines. She discovered her passion for modeling and acting while attending college for computer science. She graciously took some time out of her active schedule over the Christmas break to answer a few questions about her profession:
SMC/PA: What was your role on "Modern Family"? How long was your involvement with the show (a full week with script rehearsals, wardrobe / makeup / camera blocking and run-throughs or just a couple of days)?
Asia Jackson: I play one of Alex Dunphy's university classmates at Cal Tech (in an episode entitled "Spread your Wings"). I worked on the show for just a couple days; I came in to meet with wardrobe and to have a fitting, then shoot day! We shot the episode on the day before Halloween, so the production crew was all dressed up in costumes!
How did you get the part? Walk-on / Open audition / Casting call or Agent referral?
I got the audition through my talent agency. I'd auditioned for "Modern Family" before, but it was for a different role. I received a producer callback but didn't end up booking that role. The casting director and associate, Jeff Greenberg and Allen Hooper, liked me so much in my initial audition, that I was the first actress they called in to read for this role that I did book!
Is this your first major network show to guest star in?
Yes, this is my first television network credit!
What other shows/appearances have you been in?
I made a small cameo on ABC-TV's "The Goldbergs." Ironically, "The Goldbergs" and "Modern Family" are both ABC network shows and both my characters wore prom dresses. Coincidence? ABC shows love to put me in prom dresses, I guess! (Laughing)
How long have you been acting? What's your favorite thing you like about it?
Honestly, I've only been acting for not even a year. My favorite thing about acting is the challenge. I love challenges. When you get the script to play a new character, it makes you question everything. Oh, my character dropped her pencil in class? Why? Was she nervous? Is she taking a big test that will determine whether she goes to college or not? It's really fun to get creative with building the backstories of my characters, even if it's not written in the script.
How did you get the "acting bug"? Any formal training?
I started out modeling, and just like literally every other model in the city of Los Angeles, I wanted to cross-over into acting. I took one acting class and fell in love. After the first day of that first class, I knew that I was doing exactly what I was meant to do.
What or who has been your inspiration or mentor (Actor / Actress / Family member / Friend / Teacher / Clergy)?
My biggest inspirations are Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Gina Rodriguez, Viola Davis, and Ava Duvernay. As women of color in the industry, they've managed to remain positive and successful in the face of extreme adversity, so that's really inspiring to me. As an actress of color myself, media representation is extremely important to me! I'm dedicated to the visibility and representation of the marginalized, as are these five lovely women I've mentioned. There is nothing I want more than for everyone to see themselves positively and accurately represented in the media.
Where do you see yourself "In the Business" over the next 10-20 years?
I love the business side of this industry. I love creating and producing content. So I hope to have started my own production company by then and using my platform to give voice and visibility to the marginalized.
What have been some of the challenges you've had to overcome as a military family member and how has it benefitted you in your creative process/acting skills?
One of the biggest challenges I've actually ended up benefitting from as a 'military brat' is essentially being taught how to adapt to different environments very quickly. As a military brat, you're moving to different schools/cities/states/sometimes even countries every one or two years. Once you get settled and comfortable in one place...oops! It's time to go somewhere else again! So because of that, I'm able to adapt to different auditioning and working environments very quickly and effortlessly. I'm definitely proud to be an Air Force brat!
Jackson's proud father echoed his daughter's opinion of growing up in a military environment and channeling her experiences into her chosen craft.
"Being an Air Force brat I believe has helped her manage and adapt to different environments and situations. I'm surprised, however, at the pace in which my daughter's acting career has taken off," said the elder Jackson. "She's been acting for only about a year and has managed to land a co-starring role on ABC's "Modern Family." Needless to say, I'm very proud of her accomplishments and look forward to what the next few years will bring. Who knows? Maybe she will be walking the red carpet at the Oscars one day."