INTERVIEW

ICYMI Jacob Aaron Gaines Interview

Not too long ago, sports was the most important thing in the young life of Jacob Aaron Gaines. “I went to a small private high school where I met my best friend Gordon,” shares the actor. “We were involved in sports together, so I played baseball and basketball until my junior year. That’s when Gordon decided to drop out of sports, which sort of took the fun out of it for me and that made me think, ‘Now what?’ ”

Becoming an actor was a thought in the back of his mind, but Gaines assumed it was an unattainable goal. “When I was about 10, I loved watching Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, and I really wanted to be on one of those shows, but to be honest, I didn’t know how to get into acting; I thought you had to be born into it,” Gaines chuckles. “I was clueless about what the next step would be, so I never said or did anything about it.”

With athletics on the sidelines, Gaines started to make some subtle inquiries about his dream profession. “One day, my mom’s hairdresser said, ‘There’s this school that I could connect you with and you can see if you like it,’ ” he recalls. “It was a little conservatory in Santa Monica and I had to ask my mom three times about going there before she realized I was serious. At first, my dad was like, ‘What?’ It’s not that he thought it would be a waste of time, but it was expensive, so he told me if that was what I wanted to do, then I would have to put my full effort into it.”

Gaines agreed and was enrolled, which meant every Saturday was devoted to acting class. “I was having a blast,” he enthuses. “I was learning improv, making people laugh, dealing with my emotions and making new friends. When we had to create our own little skit, I came up with a commercial about a kid who had no Wi-Fi and was running out of data. It was me screaming and freaking out because I couldn’t get on Snapchat.”

Then came his first lucky break. “I was 16, almost 17 when I got signed with an agent,” he notes. “Unfortunately, I didn’t know how lucky I was that I got signed, and I decided to concentrate on sports again. I hadn’t met my agent in person yet and a month later, they called. When I said I was getting back into sports, they advised me to really think about focusing on sports or acting. It was like trying to decide whether to turn left or right and I finally decided on acting, and I’m really glad I did.”

Soon, Gaines started booking national commercials. “I had bleached blond hair and I did AT&T, Finish Line and Mazda and three other major companies,” he relays. “After a couple more years of acting classes, I started going out for TV shows and movies.”

Gaines first appeared on the TV series DIMENSIONAL SHIFT before landing in the feature film Fatal Affair, which starred Nia Long (ex-Giuliana, EMPIRE; ex-Kat, GUIDING LIGHT) and Omar Epps. Despite the promising start, he was considering college. “I had ideas of being a physical therapist and then I ended up changing my major to business,” he explains. “But then I decided to take a year break when Y&R happened because I wanted to see where that would take me.”

After booking the role of the late Neil’s 16-year-old son, Gaines admits, “I didn’t really know what I was getting into. The only person in my family who watched a soap was my great-grandmother. Still, it seemed like an awesome opportunity, so I was really excited.”

Along with being understandably nervous on his first day of work. “It was a little nerve-racking but everybody was really nice and really sweet,” he reports. “I didn’t realize how bright the lights were on set. It was hot so I was sweating and couldn’t see. I thought the sound people were the directors and I didn’t know where to look. I was kind of frantic. When my best friend watched me on TV, he said, ‘Oh, you looked nervous, but it worked really well with the scene.’ I didn’t tell him I was actually scared to death.”

Gaines already feels he has a handle on his character. “Moses is trying to find his way like anybody else,” he assesses. “Because of his father’s passing, he had it in his head that he wanted to be a doctor, but after living with Devon and being away from his mom, Moses has seen another way of life and he wants to follow in his brother’s footsteps. I think I’m a smart person but I feel Moses is way smarter than me. He’s put together, while I’m flustered and he’s more focused and organized than I am. It’s fun playing him and I’m really excited to see where his storyline goes.”    

Here’s what Gaines thinks about his co-stars.

Bryton James (Devon): “He has been the best. As soon as I got there, he didn’t try to be my mentor, he just wanted to be my friend. He showed me where everything was and where to get food and who to talk to for what I need. He also helped me with my lines and helped me to get better. I’m really grateful for him.”

Reylynn Caster (Faith, above): “First I worked with Aly [Alyn Lind, ex-Faith] and I enjoyed getting to know her. Then Reylynn came and I just love her. She’s really sweet. We actually have a couple of friends in common. She’s been in the business for a while and I enjoy talking to her about the business.”

Christel Khalil (Lily): “She’s really sweet but I haven’t gotten to do many scenes with her, so I hope I get to do more soon. I see her in the halls all of the time and she says hi and is always smiling. I think that she, Bryton and I have a great sibling vibe going on.”

Sean Dominic (Nate): “I love him. That dude always makes me laugh.”

Brytni Sarpy (Elena): “Another sweetie. She’s always game for anything.”

Joshua Morrow (Nick): “He’s very cool. He went to Thousand Oaks High School, so we had something to talk about on my first day. But I have to stay out of his and Bryton’s dressing room because they have video games. I used to have a problem with that and I had to give it up. I spent way too much money on Fortnite.”

Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki): “Oh, she’s funny. It’s cold on set and she always has a blanket. When we were in rehearsals, she saw me shivering and she gave me her blanket to use. She’s so wise and gives such good advice. Reylynn and I are soaking up everything she says and hopefully we can make her proud. She’s very meticulous with her work and is a really smart lady, so you pick up little things that you want to do for yourself. She knows when the camera is on her and how to use those angles, which I had no idea about, so she’s really helped me out.”

Just The Facts

Birthday: November 29

Birthplace: Born and raised in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Singular Sensation: He is an only child. “I would tell my mom she should have another kid but it never happened. I’m really close to my parents and we would go on vacations every year, visiting national parks and also going on cruises.”

Merry Maker: “I love to make people laugh. It makes me happy. I just want everybody to have a good day no matter what they’re going though. I have a lot of corny jokes but I desperately need to get some new material.”

Hero Worship: “I love superhero movies — mostly Marvel — but I’ll dabble in DC and watch Superman and Batman.”

TV Guide: “I like SQUID GAME, OUTER BANKS and BIG LITTLE LIES. I shouldn’t admit this but I also watch GOSSIP GIRL, and BREAKING BAD is my all-time favorite.”

Pet Project: “I have a German shepherd/husky puppy and he’s black and gold. He just turned a year old and he’s kind of a runt. He’s been my little sibling around the house. His name is Sir Winston. My mom actually added Sir because she wanted him to sound more regal.”

Keyed Up: “I’m learning to play the piano, so right now I’m into sad music. Next year, I want to take on the guitar.”

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