Performing has always been a part of actress Jasmine Davis’ DNA. Her earliest memories of performing before an audience were of family talent shows and school plays in her hometown of Chicago. Those humble beginnings would eventually lead her to the small screen—first on L.A.’s Finest as the transgender character Claire, then on The Chi as Trig’s girlfriend, Imani. “That’s where the fire started,” Davis tells EBONY of her early start. “But then, I went to Hollywood and didn’t know how I was going to make it. I got a lot of nos.”
Among the closed doors that Jasmine experienced while trying to pave a way in Hollywood was a starring role in CW’s Supergirl series. One audition away from being cast as the transgender superhero character Dreamer, she intended for it to be her breakout role in addition to the vehicle through which she would come out to the world as being trans.
“I’ve always been open with my close friends or any lover that I had. But as far as general society was concerned, it was like, it’s not your business,” Jasmine says.
Ultimately, the role of Dreamer went to another actress, but the universe had other plans that would lead her back to where it all began—Chicago. She landed the role of Imani on The Chi, who was revealed to be transgender in season three. “Coming out during the pandemic had its pros and cons,” Jasmine admits. “On one hand, I was able to stay in the house and feel safe. However, on the other hand, hateful internet trolls had a lot of time on their hands to send hate mail and leave negative comments on social media.”
“I was probably getting more love than hate,” Jasmine reflects, “but the hate was so directed and so loud and in my face.” Having worked through the highs and the lows by seeing a therapist and leaning on her “supportive circle,” which consists of her mother, her best friend, and The Chi creator Lena Waithe, the transgender actress is appreciative of the experience—both the good and the bad.
“I’m glad that I am living my truth,” she says proudly. “I’m glad that I can inspire others to be whatever they want to be. I’m glad that I can represent my LGBTQ+ community and just my Black community in general.”
If people could walk away with one thing after having heard her story, Jasmine wants them to take away this, “You don’t have to tell everyone everything until you’re ready. And I feel like a lot of people have to understand that. When you’re ready for whatever you’re ready for—whatever the time or situation, what is meant for you—you will have it.”
The Chi airs on Sundays at 9 pm on Showtime.