Birth Date: September 18, 1971
Birth Place: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Husband: Will Smith (December 31, 1997 - present)
Jada Pinkett Links:
"I'm extremely ambitious. I don't know why people are afraid to say that. I won't sell my soul to the devil, but I do want success and I don't think that's bad."
Jada Pinkett-Smith was born to Robson Pinkett, Jr. and Adrienne Banfield in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father was a contractor, and her mother was a nurse. Pinkett Smith's mother got pregnant with her while still in high school. Her parents married, but divorced after only a few months. She majored in dance and choreography at the Baltimore School for the Arts where one of her classmates was Tupac Shakur. She spent a year at the North Carolina School of the Arts before dropping out to pursue her career in acting.
Her first order of business when she arrived in LA was to get on the hit series In Living Color. She auditioned for the job of choreographer and while she didn't get the job (she had almost no experience with choreography), she did make a friend-for-life in series creator, Keenen Ivory Wayans. It was Wayans who was instrumental in helping her get her career started by hooking her up with an agent.
In 1991, Pinkett Smith auditioned for, and won a role, on the sitcom A Different World. The character she played, Lena James, was based on Jada's own personality and style. She was a regular cast member for two years before making the jump to the big screen. Her supporting role in the critically praised Menace II Society, gave her the exposure and good reviews she needed to start landing other roles in feature films. She followed up with roles in her friend Wayans' film Low Down Dirty Shame, a lead role in Jason's Lyric and playing Eddie Murphy's love interest in The Nutty Professor. Of her experience playing "the girlfriend", Pinkett Smith is outspoken. "It was hard bringing that woman to life, because she sure didn't jump off the page." Proving that she is an actress comfortable working in any genre, she then tackled the ensemble drama, Set It Off.
Ironically, it was an audition for a part in a television series that really changed her life. When she read for the part of Will Smith's girlfriend on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, she was considered too short to play the part (Smith is six-foot-two), but won the role in real life. Both actors felt an immediate friendship, but it was when they both went through painful breakups, and Smith ultimately divorced his wife, that the two connected as more than just friends. "It's nice to have someone who understands what it takes and what we go through as actors. You don't have to explain anything. We have an unspoken language," explains Pinkett Smith.
The high profile couple married in a very private ceremony in her hometown of Baltimore on December 31, 1997. The couple have two children, Son Jaden Christopher Syre Smith (born July 8, 1998) and Daughter Willow Camille Reign Smith (born October 31, 2000). Pinkett Smith is also stepmother to Smith's son, Willard Trey, from his first marriage.
The actress prides herself on her drive and ambition, which extends beyond acting. She has become a respected music video director, entrepreneur (she has a line of clothing called Maja) and has even penned a script entitled Love for Hire, with her husband. "I'm extremely ambitious. I don't know why people are afraid to say that. I won't sell my soul to the devil, but I do want success and I don't think that's bad."
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