If you still haven't heard of The Quad, the newest college drama from the BET (Black Entertainment Television) channel that's sure to become your newest series addiction, read on 'cause you're in for a real treat! Chalk got the opportunity to get to know one of the show's cast, Jake Allyn, and we tell you, this dashing actor will blow you away. Not only does have exceptionally good looks, he has an impressive set of skills, a well-rounded personality and a really beautiful mind that will make you fall head over heels in love with him!
In this Chalk exclusive, Jake shares how his love for football plays out in his role as a quarterback in The Quad, and how he pursued his passion for acting even while he had an Ivy League degree to help shape his career. Read on and find out how this cutie found his life's purpose!
Hi, Jake! We heard that apart from acting, you’re also a writer and you wrote a screenplay titled Ex Patriot. What inspired you to do it?
It was simple, my writing partner and I wanted to put our hero on these incredible cable cars that take tourists from the bottom of the city of Bogota to the very top of a mountain that overlooks the entire city. There's a small church at the top and we knew it would make for an incredible location for a final shoot out. Then we worked backward. We were both really taken by the Edward Snowden CIA whistle-blowing case a few years ago. Edward blew the whistle on illegal CIA surveillance so we decided our story would ask one question, "What if in doing the right thing by blowing the whistle you allowed an actual terrorist to run free?" From there, we off and running and Ex-Patriot was born!
If you were to choose between writing and acting, which one would you prefer?
Acting. I love writing and will continue it, but the simple fact is I know I'll be an actor for the rest of my life. Sadly, I can barely even go on the set of films that I write because I have a hard time being on set NOT as an actor. It feels weird to me. I want to jump in the fire with the other actors whenever I'm there.
What drove you to take up History as your major in college?
At the end of the day, acting is just story-telling and in college, history is not the study of dates or famous people's names. It's the study of people, the differences in civilizations, how the world as a whole has evolved. What could be better for an actor than to study that for four years? I learned basic human instincts, what drives civilizations whether you're on a small island in Indonesia or a Native American in North America. I was actually lucky to spend a year in Indonesia and that was the best acting class I ever experienced. I saw so many different cultures within one country. I also learned that people, can in some ways be the complete opposite of me, while also being the exact the same. The best thing I learned: English and the Bahasa Indonesian languages couldn't be more different yet we all laughed at the exact same, we all cry the same, we all bear the same fears, desires, and loves.
There’s no doubt that football has been a huge part of your life. When did you start to develop your love for the sport and what kind of impact did it bring to your life?
I've loved football since before I can remember. I grew up watching the Dallas Cowboys on my dad's lap and it was a huge part of my life and still is. I can say with certainty that I learned more on the football field than I did in any classroom. It taught me hard work, teamwork, how to live in the moment, and what it means to a part of something bigger than yourself. While I may not catch footballs for a living anymore, I carry those principles with me for whatever I'm involved in whether it's acting, writing, or my every day relationships.
Aside from football, were there any other kinds of activities that you were involved in in college? How did this help you post-graduation?
I was a frat boy. I was lucky to have two communities in college. I had my football team which to this day are still some of my best friends and then I had my fraternity brothers, which was a great escape from the pressures of football. I made some friends there that I also still connect with and consider my brothers to this day. It was great for me to branch out and meet all kind of new people. As a football player, sometimes we can be a bit isolated so I'm glad to have had the opportunity to diversify my portfolio of bro’s.
What was your best college memory?
Too many to count. I'll definitely say my best memories were in the football locker room after a big win. There's no better feeling than bumping the tunes and dancing with the team celebrating a W! Those Saturday nights after a big win were pretty fun too but I won't go in to that...
Can you describe what you were like back in college? Can you tell us how different you are now from your college self?
I'd say I'm the exact same guy except about 30% more serious about everything. I took life pretty light back in college. I was definitely having a blast which was great for some things but definitely caused me to miss out on some serious future opportunities. While it was definitely a bummer to miss out on some great opportunities, sometimes you have to learn from your mistakes so I don't regret it too much. Now my motto is "Focus on the goal, enjoy the moment".
After graduating from college, did you find yourself having a career crisis like most fresh graduates or were you already sure in taking the path to show business?
No, I definitely had some tough moments. I remember driving home after countless auditions gone wrong asking myself, "You have an Ivy League degree sitting at home, why are you wasting your time on this?" But it's all about the long game. As long as you know that the highs in this business are much better than the lows then you'll be just fine!
What can you say about your new show The Quad and how do you think college students would relate to it?
What I love about The Quad is that while we focus on a specific Historically Black College campus, it is 100% relatable to any college student across the world. We focus on simple worldwide personal issues that whether you're going to college in the U.S. or not, whether you're white, black or other, whether you're a male or female, you can relate.
What can college students learn from your new show?
That you're not alone. No matter what you specifically are dealing with, somewhere out there in the world someone else is going through the same trials and tribulations. I remember being so homesick my freshman year of college. For some reason, I felt so weak because I had no idea all my other friends were also homesick. Especially as young men, we don't have always want to talk about our feelings so we can isolate ourselves. I hope that viewers watching relate to the show and that it helps them to vocalize any issues they are enduring.
What pieces of advice do you want to give college students as they try to build their identity and find their purpose in life?
Go after whatever you want 100%. No matter what you want to do in life, go dive in the deep end—don't just stick your toe in. It is unbelievable how much you can accomplish in this world by simple hard work and dedication to yourself and your craft. Please take me as a small example of that. Three years ago, I was watching interviews of my favorite actors on YouTube while I dreamed about being one and now I'm blessed enough to act beside two Tony Award Winners, an Emmy winner, and people don't even think I’m too bad myself.
What are your future plans for your career? Do you see yourself being in show business for good? Or do you have any other profession/business in mind that you wish to venture into someday?
While I'll always be an actor, I do plan on continuing to write scripts. After having the privilege to be on The Quad, a show facing real social issues in our everyday society, I am now much more inclined to continue my efforts to join socially relevant shows that serve to tell great dramatic stories but also effect change and raise discussions. Nothing takes my acting to the next level like knowing people will seriously be affected by my work or the story I'm telling.
Do you see what we mean? This hottie's brain is the new sexy! The Quad has just been renewed for a second season, but if you can't get enough of him just as much as we do, you can also catch him in Overexposed, an indie thriller set in small-town Oklahoma written and directed by his brother Conor Allyn.
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Original photo for banner by Marin Hamataj. Grooming by Lauren Uptegrove Represented by Michelle Q Beauty.