Actor, Designer Jes Davis finds success by following her passions

Jes Davis is an actor originally from the Bay Area of California; currently living in in New York. She began a serious pursuit of her acting career when she was 15, auditioning for her school’s plays and participating on the Improv team. After high school she went on to perform in her college’s productions while auditioning for independent short and feature films. Her first principal role came in the form of a young slave girl who has an emotional exchange with a Spanish priest, in the film called, ‘The Virgin of the Candles’ released 2009.

Jes continued to appear in small roles in both feature and short film in California until her move to New York in 2012 where she was cast as an inmate in the popular Netflix series, ‘Orange is the New Black.’ Since then she has appeared in films such as ‘TASTE’ which has received a wealth of festival nominations and awards, ’Tragic’ about a slave woman who has a complicated and violent relationship with the slave master’s son; the film is based on an original stage piece titled, ‘Northbound’ which she also performed.

In addition to her acting career she is also a designer with her own brand, ’TUNC by JESXDAV’ of edgy modern punk casual and evening wear. Her brand has been gaining traction and has shown her collection on the runway in NY 5 times in the last year; this year she will show during NYFW2018 , this will be her 2nd time showing at NYFW.

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Jes Davis: My current Project is a film titled, ‘PLAY.’ Directed by Jay Palmieri Jr. About a man who seeks closure after the death of his wife but does so in a very sadistic way. We’re currently in pre- production and are set to shoot in April. I’m really excited for the film. I’ve worked with this director for the third time.

† C H A R A C T E R †

Jes Davis: My character is a bit of a femme fatal; she’s very mysterious you don’t quite know her intentions. The audience gets an idea of why she is doing what she does, but it’s just an idea there’s nothing explicitly telling the viewer her motives/agenda. Which is why I find her intriguing as a character, she is very much a chameleon, you don’t who she really is but it’s fun to watch her pretend.


† T H E  D I R E C T O R †

Jes Davis: I really enjoy working with Jay. He allows the actor to breathe while working on the actor. What I mean by that is he really gives you room to explore; he’s not rigid, though he has a vision he wants to actors to pursue the character with as much natural candor as possible. Apart form the freedom to delve into the character; I also love the stories he chooses to tell. The characters always seem to have very clear and prominent inner conflicts that I find are extremely relatable. The stories and worlds he creates are very character driven through the characters you understand the environment and scape of the world.




Jes Davis: I don’t have a favorite character. This has always been a dicult question for me and the reason is because I enjoy all of them I’ve learned what to say yes to and no to interns of projects and characters and the character whom I’ve said yes to have all been a joy for me to play. I find it extremely satisfying to play characters that are dierent but the same as me, if that makes sense; what I mean by that is I enjoy playing a character who is on the surface so dierent than me but on a deeper level we connect I find a way to identify with them. Those are the most interesting connections when you find someone who is dierent but the same as you exploring how you can come from such dierent places but have the same feelings and pursuit of life.


Jes Davis: I love to act because I love having dierent experiences. Getting to explore life as someone dierent with every role is like having an infinite supply of life. We only get one theoretically speaking but as an actor you have so many you can achieve some semblance of immortality.


Jes Davis: I’m also a designer. I have my own brand of clothing under the name, TUNC by JESXDAV. I started it years ago when it was only me painting designs on shirts and cutting them up, seeing them on Etsy. Now the brand has expanded into primarily jackets. I started just making my leather jackets look dierent because everyone and their mother has a leather moto jacket; I HATE looking like everyone else it makes me uncomfortable I need to be dierent to have my own voice I am passionately against oppression in any way. The jackets and clothes I design are an expression of that distaste I have for oppression and commonality. Apart from design I paint and primarily do collage art which I incorporate as graphics in my design work. I also write an inordinate amount.


Jes Davis: I’m working on a script adaptation of Josephine Baker’s life, a passion project of mine that manifests it’s self soon. While also expanding my clothing brand.

†A D V I C E †

Jes Davis: When it comes to auditioning or anything in life that you want for that matter, just trust your instincts. If you go into an audition and you feel like doing something do it. Don’t worry about whether or not it will be received positively by others, in that moment just go for it. The worst thing about an audition, is the regret you experience afterwards, don’t regret not doing something. Do not go into an audition looking to impress anyone but yourself, if you focus too much on others you loose sight of what your goal and intention is keep these people in mind of course but always seek/strive to do and be better than you were the last time.


Jes Davis: I am a huge supporter of mental health awareness and support. I am someone who is clinically depressive and have my moments of extreme anxiety, that I have to fight through everyday constantly. I want people to know that although depression anxiety and other mental challenges can feel so isolating you’re not alone. I am there too but we don’t have to stay there you may be depressed or have a depressive nature but it doesn’t need to encompass your existence. I also have Cystic Fibrosis, which is a chronic genetic lung disease. Whenever the opportunity presents its self I like to help out the CF Foundation. In addition I just want to help those in need on a health basis. I’m working on figuring out how to make my art an avenue to assist in this philanthropic venture. As I am not a supporter of our current President I have an anti Trump shirt where I donate to Planned Parenthood each time one is bought.


Jes Davis: I am extremely grateful for my health. Being born with something that takes a toll on not only your physical health but emotional health is draining and scary. But I’m a strong person because of the ailment that I have to deal with. I’m grateful for my strong resolve and that no matter the situation I always remain loving and thoughtful. It’s easy to be bitter cold and distant when you are met with the harsh realities of life but to face them with optimism and vulnerability takes strength; perseverance is what I am most grateful for.









PHOTO BY BLAINE PENNINGTON IG@blainepenningtonphotography

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