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Jasmine Batchelor: Journey from WSU to lead actress

The surrogate | Photo provided by Jasmine Batchelor | Monument Releasing

Jasmine Batchelor graduated from Wright State University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in acting. Batchelor is now receiving tremendous reviews for her work as the lead role in “The Surrogate.” 

Bruce Cromer, professor of theatre at WSU, was a mentor to Batchelor. He worked with her numerous times throughout her time at WSU and got to know her fairly well.

“I knew she was driven to excel at her craft.  If she left her classmates behind, so be it. She’d seek out the ones who learned lines, blocking, all the beginning stuff early (like her), and who could additionally play with possibilities, moments, interpretations as deftly as her,” said Cromer.

Batchelor excelled at WSU and acted in a multitude of plays. This prepared her well to go to graduate school.

“She has a kind of intensity, her eyes are so alive and engaged. She has a heightened presence. When Jasmine came in I felt that she was ahead of the curve,” said Joe Deer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures at WSU.

After she graduated from WSU, she attended the world-renowned Juilliard School in New York City. She wanted to truly hone in on her craft and become the best actress she could be.

“I knew I was going to Julliard to really be laser focused on what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. There was no slacking at Julliard, it was life changing,” said Batchelor.

How she got started

Batchelor knew she wanted to be a performer at a young age, but never considered acting until right before high school.

“I randomly auditioned for my high school drama class, and I didn’t think I would even get in because I didn’t really understand what it was,” said Batchelor.

She attended Pebblebrook High School in Atlanta, where she was a student of the magnet program within the school, the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts.

“The school was specifically for artists and to train artists to continue to be artists beyond,” according to Batchelor.

Batchelor was well prepared for the schedule and the process of acting in college, because her high school trained her to become an artist in some way.

“The Surrogate”

Batchelor auditioned to be Jess in the movie “The Surrogate,” in November of 2017. Jess was the main character in the movie.

“I’d read the script and loved it, and knew Jess had a spine I could recognize, so the stakes were high for me,” said Batchelor.

Batchelor didn’t hear back from the director after her audition for months. She was moving on with her life and her career, at which point she received an email from her agent.

“And then in March I got an email from my agent saying they wanted to bring me in for a chemistry test and I yelped. I was so damn excited,” said Batchelor.

After she found out she was going to be the lead actress in this film, she got back to work. This was all still a learning process for her too, considering this was her first role as lead actress in a film.

“The Surrogate” went on to do extremely well, and Batchelor received amazing reviews for her work in the film.

“It’s all about the performance of Jasmine Batchelor. [The Surrogate] is wonderfully anchored by her,” according to Claudia Puig, movie critic for Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Batchelor encourages other black women to pursue their dream, and to leave behind anyone who attempts to reduce them to a stereotype for this work.

“I want you to know that there is a community of like-minded Black Actresses who are ready to welcome you, and know what you’ve been through and what you’re currently working on. We are your lifeline,” said Batchelor.

Batchelor had a couple plays that were coming up, but the whole industry is on hold due to the coronavirus.