[Kontrol Exclusive] Milauna Jackson: An Actress On The Rise
You may not recognize the name Milauna Jackson right now but soon her name will be on everyone’s mind. Milauna is quickly showing the world that she is definitely a force to be reckon with. Jackson is a chameleon in the acting world; she has the ability to make each role she plays seem natural as if it were written especially for her. Jackson is most known for her role as Agent Kim Martinez on Cinemax’s “Strike Back”. She has also had guest starring roles on ABC’s “Flash Forward”, TNT’s “Rizzoli and Isles”, and NBC’s “Aquarius”. Jackson’s most current role is playing Assistant District Attorney, Renee Atwood, on ABC’s hit drama “How to Get Away With Murder”. Recently, Milauna took time from her busy schedule to sit down with Kontrol to discuss her new role and her career.
From a young age Milauna knew that she wanted to pursue an acting career, and growing up she didn’t really focus on any other career paths. Once she was bitten by the acting bug, there was nothing that could change her mind.
“There hasn’t been a lot that I have been exposed to that energizes me, inspires me, or motivates me as much as acting. That’s how I know this is what I’m supposed to do. There is nothing else I see myself doing. The other occupation I was drawn to was medicine. Being a doctor. The healing aspect is very much what I have done. Acting has a healing effect indirectly. I may not have chosen the path of medicine but laughing has healing powers. Acting provides that.”
When it comes to her career, Milauna explains how she has been influenced throughout the years by many people but the one person that stands out the most was her high school acting teacher.
“There were a number of people that influenced me and my career. Some of them are famous and some of them aren’t. Looking at the work of Whoopi Goldberg, John Ritter, Bette Davis, Denzel Washington, Marlon Brando, and working with Viola Davis. There are so many people for so many different reasons. It wasn’t just one great influential individual outside of my acting teacher. If I were to say one person, it would be her because I knew her personally and she assisted with honing my craft in high school.”
Actors sometimes draw their inspiration from their surroundings and often fellow actors. Milauna explains how she would have loved to work with the late Robin Williams and how he has inspired her throughout her acting journey.
“I think as a comic he was a genius and he inspired me in many many ways. I feel like I would learned so much from that man that would impact my life and my craft.”
Milauna’s star power automatically makes her a role model and influential to young actors and actress. She explains how in order to have a successful career it’s important that you “do the work”. Jackson also tells us what qualities she thinks every good actor should have in order to have longevity in this business.
“Particularly now, society has kind of shown us that many of us get around ‘doing the work’. That’s the only reason I am where I am now, because I did the work. I continue to ‘do the work’. That is what matters most. I believe every actor should have tenacity, preparation, and opportunity.”
Many actors are in search of that perfect role that they feel will showcase their acting chops in just the right light. Milauna talks to us about what her perfect role would be.
“The perfect role for myself would probably be being the President of The United States. It would be the perfect role because we have never seen that cinematically.”
Every role that is offered to an actor is not always the best fit for their career path or their brand. According to Milauna, there are some roles that she just won’t consider portraying.
“There are certain films that even before I was supporting myself as an actress that I turned down. There were absolutely jobs and auditions that I said no to. I didn’t like how it depicted our community. The vast majority of this country is extremely limited to the exposure to black people. It’s jarring the number of Americans who have not experienced personally the majority of the black community and this is all that they see. I can’t contribute to that. I can’t perpetuate that stereotype.”
“How To Get Away With Murder”
Although Milauna joined the cast of “How To Get Away With Murder” in its third season, it was easy for her to fit in and form a bond with everyone.
“I was brought on board during the third season of the show and everyone knows now that the show is losing someone. They [cast] absolutely embraced me in a time where they were impacted on the loss of someone that they worked with for years. It has been an overwhelming amount of support with me coming on board and it’s been a collaborative effort.”
If you have seen “How To Get Away With Murder”, you already know that Milauna’s character is the rival both personally and professionally to Viola Davis’ character Annalise. The two characters often go head to head regarding confrontations. Milauna gives us the scoop on what it took to prepare for this role.
“I have never played an attorney. I have never played a prosecutor. But I also knew very little about law, legal jargon, the essential responsibility of the prosecution. That was the biggest research that I had to do. Then finding out exactly who this woman was and trying to give life to her outside of her profession. How many of us really know about the prosecution? How sometimes they actually are the winning team. We are used to seeing them as the enemy when they’re coming up against the people we favor. The people we want to win. In the show Annalise is the favored opponent. She is the winner. People want to see her win. That is the challenge within itself and I still have to come in and do it with the belief that I’m going to win.”
Remember, you can catch Milauna’s stellar performance on Thursdays on ABC. You can also keep up with what she is doing by following her social media here.
By Ronda Brooks