November 1, 2019 Interview – Jailen Bates
The future belongs to those that are young and young at heart. Talented Actor Jailen Bates might be young, but he has already amassed an exceptional resume for himself. A series regular on Nickelodeon’s WITS Academy and DreamWorksTV’s OMG!, he’s also held a recurring role on CBS’ hot Comedy Superior Donuts. If all of this isn’t enough, Bates starred as the fresh-faced announcer in Gwen Stefani’s 2017 You Make It Feel Like Christmas NBC special.
With so much material already under his belt, as well as a brand new web series called Every Freakin’ Friday, Bates has a lot to discuss. The talented actor recently sat down to talk about his varying roles, WITS Academy, Gwen Stefani, donuts, and much, much more.
Cryptic Rock – Jailen, we read that you started acting when you were just four-years-old. Is that correct and, if so, what got you interested in being on a stage at such a young age?
Jailen Bates – Yes, that is true. When I first started acting I really didn’t know the world I was getting into because, well, I was four. But as you know, I started out in theatre in San Francisco which was truly an eye-opening experience which really started all of it.
Cryptic Rock – That’s wonderful that you found something you love so young, though. Now you’ve been acting for over four years, mostly in TV series. What do you love about being on set?
Jailen Bates – What I love about being on set is being surrounded by people who have the same passion and drive as me, not to mention the endless support from my castmates.
Cryptic Rock – That’s great! Speaking of being on set, one of your most notable roles was as Ben in WITS Academy on Nickelodeon. That was a pretty fun and fantastical series, sort of in the spirit of Harry Potter. What did working on WITS Academy teach you about yourself and acting?
Jailen Bates – WITS Academy was an amazing experience that shaped me as an actor and as a person. I learned how to work in a collaborative team, and I also made not only friends but family.
Cryptic Rock – That sounds like a success. Now, please forgive us, but because you’ve had a recurring role on the CBS hit Comedy Superior Donuts, we just have to ask: Do you get to eat a lot of donuts on set?
Jailen Bates – I actually did not eat a ton. I remember in craft services they would have some every once in a while.
Cryptic Rock – They should have them every day, right? Okay, DreamworksTV’s OMG! series is obviously a lot of fun. What was it like to be involved with that, and did you laugh non-stop when you were working?
Jailen Bates – DreamWorksTV was amazing to work on! I laughed so much because the people I worked with were hilarious. Sometimes I could not stop laughing!
Cryptic Rock – That sounds like a great job to have! Okay, to be more serious: Is there additional pressure on you, as an actor, when you’re working on a hit series for a major network? Be it Superior Donuts, WITS Academy, OMG!, or any of your other impressive roles.
Jailen Bates – I wouldn’t say there is pressure, but I would definitely say it is hard to keep your audience engaged and interested. But when you get there it is completely rewarding!
Cryptic Rock – Well-spoken. Tell us about your new web series Every Freakin’ Friday.
Jailen Bates – Yes! I am currently filming a web series with Arlington Randolph called Every Freakin’ Friday where we talk about and go to the weirdest, freakiest, and scariest places in Hollywood. We post every Friday on YouTube @everyfreakinfriday and IGTV @jailenbates. Make sure to subscribe, like, and follow.
Cryptic Rock – It’s a fun series. Clearly you have very eclectic episodes, and the one that caught our attention revolves around the conspiracy theories behind Easter Island. That’s not a typical topic for teens to sit down and discuss, but you do have a lot of fun with it in the episode. Are you into conspiracy theories?
Jailen Bates – Yes! Yes! Yes! I absolutely love to learn about conspiracy theories about mysteries no one can solve. I find it so interesting—that’s why we tried to kind of base our show-off of it.
Cryptic Rock – Maybe you will be the next host of Expedition Unknown! Speaking of hosting, in 2017 you starred alongside Gwen Stefani in her You Make It Feel Like Christmas TV special. What was that like and do you have any favorite memories from the special?
Jailen Bates – That was truly an experience I’ll never forget. Some of my favorite memories were meeting her for the first time—she was so sweet and genuine. Another one of my favorite memories was finding out I got the role. I remember I was so excited I ran across our living room over and over again.
Cryptic Rock – You should have been excited, it was a great opportunity! Now, is there a single role that you’ve played, to date, that you feel represents a good chunk of who Jailen is as a person?
Jailen Bates – I feel it is a cross between Ben (WITS Academy) and Andre (Superior Donuts). A lot of fun and kindness from Ben, and logical-thinking and smarts from Andre. I feel that is an accurate way to describe me through my characters.
Cryptic Rock – That is a great combination, personality-wise. Obviously, you’re still very young but you already have an impressive and diverse resume. What are some of your goals for the future of your career?
Jailen Bates – Some of my future goals are trying to broaden my range and be a very good dancer, and maybe even try professional theater and maybe move to New York for a little while. I definitely want to go to college, because education is very important to me.
Cryptic Rock – Education is very important and New York is magical. So, when you’re not acting, what do you like to do with your time?
Jailen Bates – I love to sing! I also dance. I take class three days a week, and I am also in a dance crew. I really love to hang with my family, and I also love traveling.
Cryptic Rock – Those are all great interests. We also read that one thing you’re very into is giving back to your community, and that you’ve become heavily involved with Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk, the Los Angeles Mission, and Teen Cancer Awareness, among other causes. What drives you to give back and how would you like to see other teens get involved?
Jailen Bates – Giving back is truly a huge part of my drive to act. By acting, I am able to reach a larger audience to spread awareness of these causes. I would love to see other teens take part in these foundations to let people know that this stuff is real and it has to be acknowledged.
Cryptic Rock – Absolutely. It’s important to use your platform wisely. Okay, last question. At Cryptic Rock, we cover music as well as movies, particularly Horror and Science Fiction. Are you a fan of either of these genres and, if so, do you have any favorite Horror and/or Sci-Fi movies?
Jailen Bates – Some of my favorite Horror movies are Scream (1996) and Us (2019)—these movies are a work of art. (Laughs) I really love Us, in particular: it is so strange but at the same time intriguing.