Jake Allyn is a Texas native who made his way to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being a professional actor. Along the way he made a pit stop at Cornell University where he majored in history. He’s educated, well traveled and very talented. Jake has just scratched the surface of what is destined to be a very fruitful career.
Allyn was a series regular on BET’s The Quad and was recently seen in Overexposed, a Lifetime Movies film directed by his big brother Conor Allyn.
Where are you from?
Jake: I’m from Dallas, Texas.
What brought you to Los Angeles?
You attended Cornell. Can you tell us about that?
Jake: I mean what led me there was wanting to get away from Texas for a bit and see what else was out in the world. I love Texas, it’s my favorite country in the world if you know what I mean. But I figured it was time to get out of there for a couple of years and see what life is like on the East Coast.
What did you study at Cornell?
Jake: I was a History major. I’m a big history buff. I love to travel. A beautiful thing about college history is it’s really more of the study of people, culture, and things like that as opposed to dates, locations, and people’s names. It can be very boring in high school, but in college History, it’s really really fun. Maybe not fun for everybody but fun for me.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?
Jake: Indonesia. I lived in Indonesia for a year. I also took a trip to South Africa.
What’s your favorite cheat meal?
Jake: Probably Chick-fil-A. Getting my three or four Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches and going to town.
It’s Friday night, are you dressing up and going out or are you staying at home?
Jake: I’m chilling. Maybe Saturday night, Saturday night I like to kick back a few beers but Friday night, no. I’m a once a week kind of guy at this point.
If there was any other career that you thought you might like to try, what would it be?
Jake: Well, I love horses and horse life. I think if I wasn’t an actor, I would probably work on a horse ranch in Montana or something like that. Then, apart from that, I don’t know if I’d be any good at this job, but being a National Geographic photographer. That’s something that’s always seemed exciting.
What was going through your head the first time you stepped in front of a camera on the professional level?
Jake: The first time I stepped in front of the camera on a professional level was this show called Killer Kids, on Lifetime. It’s a recreation show. I got paid 150 bucks and I remember, we basically just got to improv. It didn’t have scenes written down or anything like that. They just said, “Okay, this is the scene where these kids are planning the murder. Just go.” I don’t think I even realized it at that time, but it was actually a very liberating, free space as an actor. You rarely actually get that so I’m very grateful for that. They had a bunch of fog machines going for this first scene and it was pretty unreal. It was cool. I hope I always get that excited. I hope that stays with me.
What is “Overexposed”?
Jake: Overexposed is a film I made with my brother last year. It was a gritty little thriller set in a small town in Oklahoma. I played this character that was dealing with the death of his younger brother. Not only just the immense grief that comes with it but the immense guilt. I have an older brother obviously, the one that wrote and directed the film. It was very, very special film to my heart to make.
Where can we see it?
Jake: You can see it on Lifetime Movies. It’s one of the grittiest movies ever on Lifetime. I’m so surprised they let us get away with some of the things that we put up on the screen.
Tell us about The Quad.
Jake: On The Quad, I play Bo John Folsom, he’s a young Texas kid that lost all these chances at college football at all the big schools. This small HBCU in Atlanta decides to take a chance on him, brings him into their struggling football team. My story is this character taking on his second chance to make his football dreams come true. It’s really an ensemble of a bunch of kids. Very different from Bo John in that they’re not small-town Texas football kids. But they’re all struggling in their own ways with their own second chances and things like that.
Did you relate easily to your character?
Jake: Definitely. I mean, the whole Texas thing, it’s just a unique culture that we have down there. That was something I didn’t have to do much research on. That’s in my bones.
If you could pick a dream role to play, what would it be?
Jake: A dream role to play would be maybe Indiana Jones or On the Waterfront is my favorite Marlon Brando movie. I always think they could have done a TV show with that. I could play the Marlon Brando role. That would be pretty exciting. A lot of responsibility but a pretty exciting challenge.
Give us your five-year plan.
Jake: My five-year plan is to keep working with exciting people.
Is there anything else you’d like to go on record?
Jake: Yes, I would love to go on record and just thank my family. They are in every aspect of my work whether it’s my acting or my writing, just my everyday life, and they bring me so much joy. It’s so easy to work hard in this industry when I have a great family supporting me. Thank you, guys.
Keep up with Jake on Instagram @jakeallyn85
Photos by: Mario Barberio
Grooming by: Kimberly Johnson