While Jay Ellis’ claim to fame is starring in Insecure as Lawrence, the 40-year-old actor racked up many acting credits prior to and after the iconic series. He starred in The Game and currently, he’s promoting his new film Top Gun: Maverick where he plays the character Payback. The role could be considered a full-circle moment for the actor since he was a military brat.
Jay’s father was in the Air Force and they moved around a lot. In an interview with SSENSE, he revealed that he attended 12 schools in 13 years. Due to his successful career, he has been able to give back to his parents who had him when they were teenagers. Jay was a keynote speaker at CultureCon in Atlanta earlier this month and he spoke with xoNecole about the sweet gift he bought his parents for their wedding anniversary.
“I remember the first time I bought my parents cars this year for their 40th wedding anniversary and that to me felt like a full-circle moment,” he said. “I don’t know if I ever really thought about it before then but that to me was just this moment of like, 'Oh I can do this for my family. I’m excited to do this and proud to do this for them.' And that was huge.”
The former model is also a huge proponent of self-care. While there is a community on social media that believes “sleep is for the weak,” Jay has no qualms about prioritizing eight hours of sleep a night.
“I get eight hours of sleep no matter what. Always. If I gotta go to bed at 8 o’clock at night that’s what I gotta do I don't care,” he said. But he also enjoys his quiet time and explains how that has helped him over time. “Whether that’s meditation, whether it’s prayer, whether it’s a walk. I go on a walk pretty much every single morning for like 45 minutes,” he said.
“I wake up early before I gotta go to work before I gotta get ready for work to go on a walk just to have some quiet time and to me that’s been super helpful. I think it’s helped with my energy and endurance but I think even also decision making and all the things coming at you so fast. I feel like it’s really helpful to be able to have a moment to step away from all of that and get back to get grounded.”
It may be surprising to know that the NAACP Image award-winning actor manages to get eight hours of sleep and finds quiet time now that he’s a father. Jay welcomed a baby girl in 2020 and in an interview with Essence that same year, he noted the exhaustion with balancing work and becoming a new father.
“Then I was directing and then becoming a father. I was back and forth to New Orleans every week, and I was just so exhausted that God was like, You need to sit down, and this is the week to do it.”
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Featured image by Derek White/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures