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Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince Forum


JumpinJack AJ

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On playing two separate roles in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (a one-off as Claudia in 1991, and a recurring role as Will Smith's girlfriend-turned-fiancée Lisa from 1994-1995), and her deep love for Smith in the wake of the actor’s uncharacteristic attack on Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars

"They recycled me on Fresh Prince… You know what, I think sometimes that's where you take the creative license and you're like, 'I don't have to explain s***.' Forget Claudia, you are now Lisa. Those were good old days. It was my first consistent job where I was actually working every day and learning what it meant to be on a show with three cameras versus film where there's one camera… And I just remember that Will was this energetic, goofy, funny guy that was obsessed with playing golf and sneakers. And he was just the happiest person. He was like Disneyland. Will Smith was like Disneyland during The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And I love him and I will always love him. And he's had an incredible career and he's carried a burden for many years to try to represent what perfection looks like or achievement looks like. And I don't think that, at least when we were growing up, there was room to be human. And I think he's now able to be human and I'm just thankful and grateful for that moment in my career because it taught me a lot about comedy.

"Sometimes I'm like, 'Can you stop being so damn happy?' You cannot be this happy. But he really is. He's a joyous person. But I think we all have our moments in life where we have to reconcile things that maybe we suppress. And I think it's hard growing up in this business and being front and center every day, all day… I can go to the grocery store anytime I want to. And for the most part people are like, 'Hey Nia Long, how you doing?' No one's chasing me down the street. I still have my anonymity and I appreciate that about my career. I appreciate that. However I've managed to do that. That it's, it's the thing that allows me to stay connected to the people and to be human and not try to be this perfect being. And you know, I've had some pretty devastating moments in my life over the last couple of months and I've had to just say, 'It's all right. You'll pick yourself back up…' Oh my God, I'm about to cry. You pick yourself back up and you keep it moving.


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