Before North Dallas actor, Jermaine Johnson, signed with the Callidus Agency, he was working his way through prolonged grief and an intensive 4-semester acting program at KD Conservatory in Dallas. Having lost his brother in a house fire at a young age, his mother during his last semester of community college and more recently, two of his best friends in a fatal car accident, Johnson struggled to say the least. In spite of these heart-shattering obstacles, Jermaine Johnson found his way to healing through passion in the arts.
Though Johnson has been film-obsessed since he was 7 years old, he credits the push to pursue acting to his mother.
“I remember walking into her room and just saying, ‘do you think I have what it takes to be successful in this art form?’” And she would be like, ‘Are you kidding me? Yes. Just continue to do what you have to do. You can do this,’” Johnson said.
Sadly, Johnson’s mother passed away soon after while he was in his last semester of community college. Motivated by her words, Johnson chose theater arts as an elective and was soon admitted to the class. His first day he was taught to channel the pain and grief from his losses, leading him to solidify confidence in his artistic abilities. His desire to act then turned into a need to act.
“I was very reluctant,” Johnson said. “But during my first monologue, my teacher asked if I had ever lost someone and told me to use it. I thought of my brother. My mother. And I did the monologue again. Then, I knew. This is what I have to do.”
Johnson later received a scholarship through Richland College and auditioned for a multitude of universities among some 300 other prospective students. Over 25 schools responded to his auditions, but he chose Oklahoma University. In preparation for his journey to college, Johnson gathered all academic essentials, turned them in, and waited. As deadlines crept closer, Johnson became nervous. Due to technical misunderstandings and difficulties he was unable to join the program.
“The program director told me that ‘Time is of the essence for you.’ Meaning, I shouldn’t wait for another semester to join the OU program. Instead, he mentioned this acting school in Dallas called KD Conservatory.”
For four semesters, Johnson trained at KD Conservatory and became part of the family. He successfully graduated from the program and is now a professional actor as he continues to build his resume.
“Through all of this I was able to form a family in the arts,” Johnson said. “I’ve lost so much of my own and this has brought me into a community that saved my life.”
It wasn’t easy, he said. Johnson had to focus, work hard, and fight for his passion.Even his teachers were moved by his experience. When he could have given up, he pushed through, and now he’s committed to succeeding.
“I’m so proud of him,” said KD teacher Linda Leonard. “There were times over the last 4 semesters when he could have said, ‘Nope, not going to do it, I can’t show up, I can’t do this.’ But he showed up. And not only has he, but he’s done it so successfully. You’re going to see him on the big screen or on broadway very soon. He’s going to be another KD Conservatory success story. Jermaine is certainly dear to our hearts.”
Johnson wants to be happy and practice his art comfortably, he said. With big dreams, his goal is to walk into a room with Samuel L. Jackson as his equal, continuously strive to better his abilities and ultimately, be respected as a performer.
“I’m going to move people,” Johnson said. “I can feel that. That is what this is all about.”