You started your acting career at a very young age, what inspired you to pursue acting?
I started acting/modeling when I was three years old and I always had so much fun on set. My mom knew that it would be something I would love to continue doing.
You are known for your lead role in the incredible movie “Black or White”. Can you explain the process of how you got this role?
I did a self-tape as the initial audition for Black or White, then they had me send another self-tape. After that, they had me do a skype call, with the casting director and the writer/producer and they loved me. Then they flew me to New York to do a chemistry read. A chemistry read is where you do the scene with the actual actor, which was Kevin Costner. They had me there for a few days and during those few days we did some touristy things and it was also my ninth birthday. They called on my birthday and told me I booked it. BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!
Can you explain the character you portray?
I was a biracial girl who lived with her white grandparents whose mother was young and died at childbirth and my father was a drug addict.
What was your favorite part about being in “Black or White”?
My favorite part about being in Black or White was working with Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, they were both amazing people and they were so fun and funny to work with.
What was it like guest starring on the popular NBC TV series, The Night Shift as Jennifer Beal’s daughter?
It was so much fun everyone on set was super sweet and all the crew was amazing and Jennifer Beals and all the actors on set were amazing.
Did you have a favorite role you played? If so what was the role and why was it your favorite?
I don’t have a favorite, because they are all different and awesome in their own ways.
Are there any other acting projects in the works you can tell us about?
I’m working on some stuff currently, but nothing I can talk about. When I can start talking about it I will post about it on my Instagram @jillianestell.
You also started your dancing career at a very young age, what inspired you to pursue dancing?
I have always loved dancing, my mom put me in classes and I have always loved it!
Did you always know you wanted to be an actress and dancer when you were older?
I have always been outgoing and loved to entertain everyone, so I think was just destined to be in the business.
How would you describe your dancing style?
I mainly take hip-hop and contemporary, so I’m between both styles.
Are there any actors or dancers that you look up to right now?
An actress I look up to is Amandla Stenberg, she is an amazing actress. I don’t look up to any specific dancer, but a lot of my friends are in the dance world and they are all really good.
Have you ever been starstruck by anyone you’ve met so far?
I love Grey’s Anatomy, and I have met some of the people from that show and I was so excited to meet them.
What goals have you set out for yourself in your career and in your personal life?
I would love to book a lead on a T.V show that is on for many seasons.
What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
I would say moving to L.A and booking the movie Black or White.
Overall, how has this whole acting and dancing career experience been for you?
My experience in both have been amazing! It’s just very hard industry to be in.
Do you have any advice for anyone trying to make it as a actor or dancer?
They are both hard careers, if you choose to be a dancer/actress just know you’re not going to immediately book a job, so just keep trying and work hard, it will be your turn soon.
You have also created a huge social media presence for yourself. Why do you think social media is so important for teen actors today?
It is important, because it is a way for me to inspire others. It’s also a great way to work with different brands, and also to talk to your fans and give them insight into your daily life.
How do you want your relationship to be with your fans?
I want to have a real relationship with my fans, so if they see me in public they feel comfortable coming up to me and talking to me.
What social media platform do you use most to stay connected to your fans?
I mainly use Instagram to connect, but for more insight on my life they can follow me on Snapchat @jillian.estell.
Does your fan base have a name?
I have not come up with a name yet but soon.
What was the craziest fan encounter you have had?
I’d have to say the craziest fan encounter was when I was in Las Vegas walking through the MGM and a fan recognized me and yelled my name from several feet away. I looked totally different at that time and couldn’t believe she recognized me.
Do you have any last things you want to tell your fans?
You guys are amazing and always keep your head up and never let anyone get to you. I love you guys.