Y&R’s Ana has captured the hearts of everyone in Genoa City. Meanwhile, her portrayer, Jamia Simone Nash, has captured the attention of both the entertainment and music world, and even got to perform Best Song Nominee, “Raise It Up,” (from August Rush) at the 2008 Academy Awards. Digest caught up with the 12-year-old superstar, who despite her success, is just happy being a kid.
Soap Opera Digest: How are you liking Y&R?
Jamia Simone Nash: I’m loving every minute of it. It’s very fun to be the only kid there.
Digest: How did you get the job?
Nash: Miss Maria Bell, the head writer, called me directly. She called me after seeing me perform.
Digest: Do you like acting or singing better?
Nash: I actually like them both because they’re both so different. I can’t choose just one of them! I’m going to continue to do both as I get older.
Digest: After doing movies, was it harder or easier doing a soap?
Nash: It was easier because I’m fresh in the morning [laughs].
Digest: Do you hang out outside of work with your co-stars, like Kristoff [St. John, Neil] or Eva [Marcille, Tyra]?
Nash: Not really, because I’m younger and I don’t spend time a lot of time with adults other than my family outside of work. I think they’re so nice, though, and I appreciate everyone’s love and support.
Digest: Are you and Ana anything alike?
Nash: Not at all! We have absolutely nothing in common. I have two parents. My mom is not on drugs and my character’s experienced all this stuff I’ve never experienced. The stuff Ana is going through I haven’t really been through.
Digest: Were you nervous when you sang at the Academy Awards?
Nash: No, I wasn’t nervous at all. I was really surprised when they turned the lights on. It looked really huge when it was dark, but when they turned the lights on, there was this whole crowd there. It was really great.Digest: How was it doing August Rush?
Nash: It was fun. I was only 9 years old and it was my first motion picture so to imagine it being in theaters and having millions of people go to see it and then have my face up there — that was pretty exciting.
Digest: Did you see it with friends?
Nash: Yes. I went to see it with two of my close friends. They were all excited about it. But then when they turned the lights on, everyone else there realized it was me from the movie [laughs].
Digest: Do you go to school or are you tutored on the set?
Nash: I do go to school, but when I’m working there’s a tutor there.
Digest: Do the kids at school watch you on TV or in the movies?
Nash: Yes, but they don’t make a great, big deal about it. That’s what I love about it. They’re like, “Oh, we’re so proud of you; keep up the good work,” but then they don’t talk about it anymore. Then I can focus on everything else without having people bombard me about my career.
Digest: What do you like to do for fun besides acting and singing?
Nash: I like hanging out with my sister at the mall and with my friends. I also like going for drives with my family, through mountains and canyons and stuff. I like to go around the world and travel to different places.
Digest: Where have you traveled to?
Nash: I traveled to Georgia, which is where I’m originally from. I went to Nebraska and also Chicago. That was fun because we visited our old pastor there. I don’t even remember all the places because there were so many! But I’ve always wanted to go outside of the country, like to Brazil and Argentina and Italy. My dad used to live in Sicily so that would be fun to visit.
Digest: You mentioned having a sister. How many siblings do you have?
Nash: I have one sister, Olivia, who’s 8. She is amazing. She’s only 8 years old and she has the voice of Tina Turner and the dance moves, too. She’s like a little, tiny Tina [laughs].
Digest: You obviously have a talented family. Are your parents also musical?
Nash: My mom and dad both sing.
Digest: What do you see yourself doing as an adult?
Nash: Hopefully doing more of what I’m doing now — acting and singing and enjoying my life.