By Chandra Meadows
Jacyln Betham. Read that name and remember it. Jacyln Betham plays “Amanda Cryer” on Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots. It is a television drama series that follows the lives of a wealthy family (The Cryers) and their hired help. The story unfolds in Savannah, Georgia and you can catch it on Oprah Winfrey’s Network (OWN) . In real life, Jaclyn Betham, is a ballerina turned actress who has definitely been making a name for herself in Hollywood. It’s very seldom that you come across individuals who possess the ability to make you feel like you’ve known them for years, and she definitely has that affect.
You play Amanda Cryer on The Haves and the Have Nots.
Is there any correlation between that character and who you are in real life?
Jaclyn Betham: Amanda is an introvert, insecure, and perfectionist. Every person has insecurities, it’s something we have all struggled with, but eventually Amanda starts to find her inner strength. I am definitely more outgoing and confident.
How did you actually get the role?
Jaclyn Betham: My agent got me an audition in L.A. I received a call back in ATL. Within two days, I found out I got the part. It was a very quick process.
I know your co-stars are people whom you spend so many hours on set.
Does everyone get along, is there any drama or cattiness?
Jaclyn Betham: We all get along. We actually went out to dinner before shooting and we all still talk off set. We are blessed to be able to work with people who we actually like being around.
How is working with Tyler Perry?
Jaclyn Betham: He’s so awesome. He’s the most humble, successful person I know. So powerful, yet such a giver. I was invited to dinner at his house before we started shooting for the show, and I was a little nervous. I mean it was Tyler Perry (laughs) but he is an amazing person.
You are also a professional ballerina. How cool is that. How did you go from that to being an actress?
Jaclyn Betham: Ballet is a hard world. The ballet world is very small, and there are less jobs. The pay isn’t that great, so you definitely have to love it. Performing is my passion. I ended up taking an acting class, and then got a manager. I loved the fact that I got to tell a story with these characters. I don’t feel like myself when I don’t dance, but acting has definitely become a love of mine as well.
Was it difficult making that transition?
Jaclyn Betham: During ballet you arent allowed to talk in class. It is very discipline. So, that was a hard transition when it came to acting. If I could just look into a camera without speaking, and cry or express whatever feeling, I would be okay with that (laughs). So going from expressing emotions with only movement to using words was kind of challenging at first.
I know you teach ballet at the Edge Dance Studio .How is it teaching young girls who look up to you and who may also be aspiring to be where you are one day?
Jaclyn Betham: I think it’s the most gratifying thing in the world. To see someone be so passionate and driven to learn something, and then it clicks and they finally get it. It’s such a beautiful experience. I was in an outreach program growing up, so I know how help from others can make a huge difference. Ballet is a dying art form and I want to keep it alive.
What advice would you give someone who would like to take two different career paths such as yourself, but may be afraid to?
Jaclyn Betham: Being fearless and having courage, discipline, and drive are very important factors. Ive been rejected so many times, but you just have to get right back up and go for that second audition. Go to that class, and better yourself. It took me 3 years. Keep busy. It will be hard sometimes, but that is when you will grow the most. There will be competition, but be dedicated.
If you could talk to your 13 year old self, what would you say to her?
Jaclyn Betham: As a dancer, I was more of a timid and nervous teen. I think your teenage years can be the hardest times of your life. You’re like a sponge, you take everything and apply it.
I would tell her she’s beautiful. If someone says you’re not good enough, know that you are. I know it’s hard at 13 to know your worth, but know your worth. You are strong and powerful and you have all it takes to be something in this world.
What inspires you on those days when you’re not really motivated?
Jaclyn Betham: On the days when I dont want to dance, workout or audition, I try to not let the negativity get the best of me. I will sit in my car, close my eyes and say a quick prayer. Thats all it takes, just 60 seconds to reconnect. That one minute to yourself can give you so much power, and change your day.
What’s next for you?
Jaclyn Betham: Well, Ive shot a few commercials since Ive been back home and I currently have a non-profit organization where I teach disadvantage youths how to dance. I am also gearing up for the second season of The Haves and the Haves Nots.