Jason Stuart is an actor, comedian, producer, writer, director, host, lecturer, LGBTQ activist, and mentor. He has appeared in over 150 film & TV shows such as Goliath, Love, and Sleep Hollow. Stuart is best known for his supporting role in the film The Birth Of A Nation, Amazon comedy series Smothered, and hit indie film Tangerine.
Growing up I had an over-the-top Jewish family with a father who went thru the Holocaust with post-traumatic stress syndrome, a flamboyant mother with 4 husbands from Brooklyn, an overweight, angry brother who has a daughter who is schizophrenic, and an orthodox Jewish sister who has banished me from her family with 4 children. I have never been allowed to meet my nieces and nephews, yet live five minutes from their home. But I released the pain and it has taught me how to move on to find the love and self-respect with a family that I have created with my friends and my 83-year-old mother.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
That forgiveness is the best medicine one can have with people who you feel have wronged you. Also letting go of the results and just doing the footwork in life one day at a time.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Do the work. Showing up and be willing to be uncomfortable. You must have a passion for the work and want it more than life itself
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I think that was when my dad passed a few years ago, he was a Jewish immigrant. The positive take on this is…. So my Dad always said to me (in a thick Polish accent). “When you go to the interview, wear a tie and show them you mean business”. I took that to mean, “Be your best self”. And that’s who I strive to be.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
When I was in the film THE BIRTH OF A NATION the filmmaker Nate Parker had the confidence in me that could play a white, heterosexual, Christian plantation owner in 1831, when in reality I am a gay, Jewish liberal.
What is your morning routine?
Wake up text a friend what I am grateful for, work out in my apt, make my calls, and return all my emails
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life? Being kind, telling the truth, being a good person, and being of service in the life of others.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most?
Wow, that’s a hard question to answer but I love reading biographies. The ones I like the most were Lauren Bacall, Hattie McDaniels, Katherine Hepburns, Shelley Winters, Bryan Cranston, Vivian Vance, Ernest Borgnine duo many more. I love the works of John Cheever, William J. Mann, and David Levit. David’s book “The Lost Language of the Cranes” is one of my favorite.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“When people show who they are, believe them the first time”, “When you know better you do better”, “What other people think of me is none of my business”
Where can you go to find out more?