Jill Marie Jones always had the acting bug in her from the time she was a child.
Though she never could pinpoint what art was at the time, Jones says that she was always doing some sort of artistic venture, whether it was writing poetry, dancing or acting.
“I think was destined in another way, I never made the choice but it was who I am,” said Jones. “In terms of acting, I always knew I wanted to explore that, so I saved up my coin so I could move to Los Angeles. My whole story is art from the very beginning.”
Jones made her way to Los Angeles and built a solid career in the industry. She became very well known for her role as Toni Childs in UPN’s award-nominated series “Girlfriends,” which earned her nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2004 BET Comedy Awards and Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2006 NAACP Image Awards. She then went on to star in in Starz’s “Ash vs. Evil Dead” opposite Bruce Campbell.
Jones has picked up roles in “Sleepy Hollow,” FX’s “American Horror Story,” TBS’ “Gillian in Georgia,” and “Meet the Browns,” and played parts in films such as “35 and Counting,” “The Longshots,” and “The Perfect Holiday.” Though she has made a name for herself, it still feels unreal to Jones sometimes.
“The craziest part is that I’m still that little girl from Texas that is still working very hard. After all these years of me doing this, I still feel very fresh and spirit jovial,” said Jones. “I’m a worker bee, I love what I do. With how many talented people there are in the world, the fact that I am blessed to do what I do, I am living inside of my dream. There are so many talented people on this planet, you have to be willing to lose it all. I’m not a gambling girl but you have to be able to bet it all on black — I guess I bet it all on me, and thank God it worked out.”
Jones’ recently hit the silver screen with her starring in Warner Bro. and OWN’s drama series “Delilah.” Made from showrunner Craig Wright and executive producer Oprah Winfrey, the show follows Delilah, played by Maahra Hill, a lawyer and single mother who takes on cases big firms ignore and finds herself, more often than not, going head-to-head with the powerful and privileged as she fights for the disenfranchised. Jill stars as Tamara Roberts, Delilah’s confidante and best friend who is a lawyer to the wealthy and powerful.
“Delilah” premiered on OWN on March 9, 2021. For Jones, working with Winfrey was something that she never could have imagined for herself.
“I didn’t think I could respect that woman any more than I already did, Oprah is so hands-on,” said Jones. “It’s crazy because we know the queen is busy, she has a lot of things going on. But down to hair, makeup and wardrobe she wanted to see everything — she wants to know every single detail about it in an incredible way.”
For Jones, the role of Tamara Roberts was very appealing because while she is a strong woman, she also has moments of weakness and is human, just like the rest of us.
“I like to dive into the deep waters of complex, strong women characters,” said Jones. “The writing was so incredible. Tamara is this strong, dynamic woman who works in a nice office with a nice view and is doing her thing. Often times with African American actors, we play strong, strong, strong — that’s just not how we are as humans. For me, [my character] is strong at work, but she loves hard, is a ride-or-die friend for Delilah, who she’s known since Junior High. I like to play with Tamara with all of the colors that make up who we are.”
For those who are planning on tuning in to watch “Delilah,” Jones says the show is dramatic and sexy. She also hopes that the audience can be seen in the characters that are on the screen.
“I worked on a show before that I’m proud of but we didn’t know what we were doing for the culture in that moment. What was really cool was being outside that bubble and hearing young girls coming up and saying, ‘I watched you growing up and I’m a realtor because of your character,'” said Jones. “It was huge for representation for African American women in the culture. I hope that the audience feels represented and seen.I hope I can hear someone come up to me and hear ‘I’m a lawyer because I loved ‘Delilah,” or ‘I’m an actress because of that show.’ It’s important to be seen, especially in African American culture. That’s my hope, for the audience to be seen and go on the ride.”