DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE COVER: Jaz Sinclair On Her New Single, ‘Dosey Doe,’ Role on ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,’ Journey From Texas to Hollywood, BLM, Isolation, Hair Love + How the World Looks to Her Now, With a New Black Vice President-Elect
Born and raised in Texas, Jaz Sinclair is not only killing it in Hollywood but is now also making herself known in the music scene.
She just released her first single, “Dosey Doe,” which is now available everywhere. She can also currently be seen in Netflix’s hit series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as Rosalind. The dark and provocative reimagining of the iconic ’90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch and based on the popular Archie Comics characters will be ending the series with Part Four on December 31.
The versatile actress made her feature film debut in 20th Century Fox’s critically-acclaimed Paper Towns, which was based on John Green’s best-selling novel. Jaz also starred as the femme fatale in the Screen Gems psychological thriller When the Bough Breaks. Her first appearance onscreen was as herself in the 2013 Emmy-winning HBO docuseries Masterclass. Sinclair appeared in all three seasons of Joe Swanberg’s Netflix anthology series Easy. All three of her Easy episodes were nominated for GLAAD Media Awards for “Outstanding Individual Episode” in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Future projects include Please Baby Please and her first EP, which is coming out early next year.
We sat down with Jaz to find out the inspiration for her new eclectic and soulful single, the journey to releasing it, and what we can expect for future music. She opened up about the new season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and her role as Rosalind. She also shared her thoughts on all things 2020, including what it means to feel safe as a Black woman, our latest election results, diversity in Hollywood, the importance of using her voice, hair love, and all the details on Please Baby Please. Read below to find out more.
GLITTER: What was it like growing up in Texas?
JAZ: Hot. Southern. I loved some things about it, like how friendly people are; southern hospitality is a real and wonderful thing. And some things were not great about it; I definitely had more than a couple of experiences where people treated me unfairly because of my brown skin. I wouldn’t move back, but it was a nice place to grow up.
GLITTER: What was moving to Los Angeles like, and what are some of your favorite aspects of residing there?
JAZ: My best friend and partner in crime, Alyx Soard, and I moved out to LA when we were 18. We packed our cars and drove from Texas to Cali with my grandpa and her mom. We didn’t have much of a plan, just a lot of passion and hope that LA wouldn’t chew us up and spit us out. Those first couple of years in LA were tough for sure. Lots of odd jobs, not many friends other than each other. But now LA is pretty good to me. The food is some of the best in the world, and I have my little tribe out here now.
GLITTER: On November 11, you’re releasing your first single, “Dosey Doe,” what was your inspiration for the song and what message do you hope fans get from listening to it?
JAZ: When I wrote “Dosey Doe” I was in a love affair with my bass guitar, I’m not an expert at any one instrument, but I fiddle with a lot of them. I wanted to show myself how simple getting into a groove could be. I played these two notes on the bass over and over, and they made me feel this funky cool, weird sassy tension that I couldn’t get enough of, so I let the words start to pour through. I wanted to sing about riding this line of pleasure and recklessness. I feel like we so often squash our own desires out before we even get a chance to enjoy them, so this song is about allowing yourself to enjoy your own wanting.
GLITTER: Can you describe your sound?
JAZ: I honestly have no idea. Funky, folky, hip-hop, maybe?
GLITTER: Which artists have been your biggest music inspiration?
JAZ: The Glass Animals have been my biggest musical inspiration. Their songs touch me in such a way that I hope one day to inspire other people. I’m a music fiend, so I listen to a lot of random stuff. I’m also a big Ibeyi fan, Erykah Badu, Nina Simone, Ella, Louis, really digging Still Woozy lately.
GLITTER: What was the journey like recording and finally getting to release the song?
JAZ: LONG! This is my first time doing this, so every step of this process has been a discovery/patience game from those first two notes on the bass to trial and error of three different rap verses. My homie/musical partner Myrlin Hepworth and I spent many days trying to figure out what “Dosey Doe” was, and it just ended up being one of those songs that had to tell me what it wanted to be rather than be forced into submission. Some of the lyrics were written in my living room, some of the beat I made on an airplane with my laptop, and then Garrison Jones came to town and added this synth that took the whole song and made it float. I really believe in allowing art to take form at its own pace rather than rushing it, and that’s more about divine timing than anything I actually have control of.
GLITTER: What can fans expect to see featured on your new music account on Instagram?
JAZ: All kinds of stuff. I have some other songs in the works, but I wanted to come out with a bang and have my first project be cohesive; once I get that ball rolling, I’ll hopefully just be dropping songs every now and then. I want that page to be exciting for anyone who is a fan, so I’ll post about all things music, sing and eventually put some merch up.
GLITTER: What do you love most about creating music?
JAZ: Great question! There is so much that I love about it, but I have to say my favorite thing is the moment when you’ve discovered a groove, and you hear a melody, almost like it’s coming from the air, from the sky. There’s this moment where you have to open yourself up to receive something you’ve never actually heard before, and it’s the most invigorating feeling in the world; equal parts magic and trust. I love that feeling more than anything.
GLITTER: Can we expect more music from you in the future? Is music something you have always wanted to pursue?
JAZ: Yes, and yes. It was just a long road to realizing that music was in me and worthy of pursuing and sharing. It’s something I’ve loved for my whole life, and now the stars have aligned enough so that I know how to express my voice, truth, instincts and that I have super talented friends/collaborators who can help me bridge the gap when there are learning curves involved.
GLITTER: Is there a song that, no matter what you’re going through, it has a message that’s always meaningful to you?
JAZ: “Summertime” by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. I feel that song in my bones. Like my ancestors are singing right to me.
GLITTER: What was the moment like when you knew you wanted to begin a career in acting?
JAZ: Acting is something I’ve wanted to do since before I can remember, and at this point, it sort of feels like it chose me, like I couldn’t help myself from pursuing it with my whole heart. YoungArts is where I realized that acting could be not only a passion but also a career. They do amazing work at empowering young artists to believe in their own power and potential, myself included.
GLITTER: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s final part is coming to Netflix on December 31. What does the series mean to you, and what are you going to miss most about it?
JAZ: Sabrina means so much more to me than I could sum up in words. I learned, grew, and laughed so much while I was making that show. I’m going to miss the table reads the most. I loved having an excuse to all get together and be reminded of just how talented and unique all of the show’s actors are.
GLITTER: What can you share about Rosalind’s storyline for this new part?
JAZ: Its hands down my favorite part for Rosalind. Some exciting discoveries happen involving her powers! And she and Harvey get a lot of really lovely scenes as well. I loved shooting part four, and I think the Roz fans have a lot to look forward to.
GLITTER: What is your favorite characteristic of Rosalind, and what attracted you to the role?
JAZ: Well, initially I loved that she was this funny and bold feminist on a cool witchy show, but now I feel like I’ve gotten to go through so much with Roz that I have to say, I loved getting to play a part that was comedic sometimes and dramatic at other times. Roberto really kept me on my toes.
GLITTER: What message do you have for fans that have been watching since the beginning?
JAZ: Mostly, I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for your passion, your time, your love. I appreciate each and every one of you so much, and your love is surely felt. I think you have a lot to look forward to in part four.
GLITTER: Do you have a favorite on-set memory or a favorite scene you filmed?
JAZ: This is always such a hard question; my favorite moments were those delirious giggle fits at 3 a.m. around crafty. You just get so tired that eventually, everything turns funny. I love those moments. I’m going to miss those with the Sabrina gang.
GLITTER: Is there a specific show or film franchise that you’d love to join in the future?
JAZ: Harry Potter. I would time travel if it meant I could be a part of that world.
GLITTER: You made your feature film debut in Paper Towns. Can you tell us how you felt when you got the news and what that experience meant to you?
JAZ: Yeah, well, I was just talking to my manager about it; I honestly almost forgot that I was at Disneyland when I got the news. I just remember, like, I don’t remember what ride I had just gotten off of, but I was there with one of my best friends in the world. I got the phone call that I booked Paper Towns, and I just remember jumping around Disneyland, like screaming from excitement. That was a really special day for me; it was wonderful.
GLITTER: All three of your Easy episodes were nominated for GLAAD Media Awards for “Outstanding Individual Episode” in 2017, 2018, and 2019. How did that make you feel?
JAZ: Proud. I think Easy is a spectacular show made by wonderful people lead by the incomparable Joe Swanberg, so any excuse to dress up and drink with the homies is a win in my book.
GLITTER: You were named a National YoungArts finalist and had your first appearance onscreen in the HBO docuseries Masterclass. How did the experience shape your approach to acting?
JAZ: It changed my life in a very big way. It was the first time in my life that I realized that I might actually have what it takes to make a career out of acting. Not to mention my amazing manager, Beth, discovered me through that very show. She was watching one night then looked me up on Facebook, we had a mutual friend, and the rest is history. I’m just going to take a moment to gloat. I have the best manager in the world. She’s family at this point.
GLITTER: You are currently shooting Please Baby Please, what can you share about that project and your role?
JAZ: I’m having so much fun up here in Montana. I have a total lady crush on our director, Amanda Kramer. She’s some kind of brilliant. I get to play this like kind of squeaky, shameless, 50’s New York debutante, and I love every minute of it. It’s one of the more heightened parts I’ve played. It’s nice to put my actor hat back on after so long in quarantine.
GLITTER: What work do you think the entertainment industry has to do moving forward to give everyone proper and accurate representation?
JAZ: We’ve got a long way to go. I think a good starting place would be if creatives stopped deciding before auditions what race each part has to be before the project begins. I’ve read many scripts where they decide from the jump that the good roles are for white people and then try to make up for that in underdeveloped parts for every other ethnicity. I do think it’s changing, but the opportunities are just not the same. I believe there are more now than there ever have been for non-white people, but we are at this jumping-off place where I still think execs don’t believe brown people are as marketable/profitable, and I disagree. The human experience is complex and colorful, and I’d love to see more movies and tv shows where there are brown people, and it’s not only about that because there is so much more to everyone than the color of our skin. I want the whole rainbow.
GLITTER: You were very vocal for the BLM movement; what has that experience been like for you, and why was it important for you to use your voice?
JAZ: It was important for me because it scared me. I grew up in a very white part of Texas and experienced varying levels of racial inequality from people who consider themselves to be fair and good. I wanted to use my voice to bridge the gap, to be honest, even with some people I knew were watching who had been unfair to me in the past. As a Black woman, I feel there’s this unspoken assumption that I should just be grateful and not complain because I’m lucky to be where I am. But I have actually worked very hard to be here, and I feel that expressing my truth is my duty not just to the Black people who know or follow me, but to the white people in my life to challenge them to learn more so they can do better.
GLITTER: We have a new President-elect, Joe Biden, and our first Black and South Asian Female VP-elect, Kamala Harris. What was this moment in history like for you?
JAZ: Well, I had many feelings on the days around it, before and after, but overall my feelings are really good. I felt so relieved when Joe Biden gave his acceptance speech because it was the first time I felt like I had a leader in a while, and it just felt like it was unifying us rather than dividing us. I felt like I could breathe, and I didn’t really realize until I heard Kamala Harris’ speech, which made me cry like a baby by the way, because as a Black woman, I’ve never felt represented politically, not ever, and so to hear a woman speak on my behalf made me feel so emotional. Yeah, it was a really, really powerful moment for me. One where I was like, “Oh, I actually am allowed to be hopeful,” because for a while there it literally felt like in any freaking fantasy film when there’s this evil bad guy, he’s about to prevail, and you’re like, “oh my god, is he gonna win?” It felt like that for a second where I was just like, “How can so many people, who consider themselves to be good and decent people, just completely overlook my existence and my safety as a woman and as a woman of color?” You know, after the election, I also felt a lot of emotion about that. I was happy, of course, but I was also so disappointed that it was so close at all. I don’t know, there’s something about having a huge sigh of relief after four years like we’ve had that makes you realize how much burden you’ve actually been carrying the whole time, and so I feel relieved, and also I have a new awareness of how upset I was at the corruption at play for so long.
GLITTER: Like, everyone was just staring at their screens, like holding their breath.
JAZ: I was a mess. It was tough. And then it was funny, though, because Biden was winning the whole time. But the news likes to make it seem like it wasn’t that way, you know, because he was ahead in electoral votes pretty much the entire election. But you’re still like, [sarcasm] “…yeah, but one of those states could come through, and f*** this whole thing up.” So, it was stressful, but it’s such a relief. I was just on the phone with my grandma; my grandma is white, by the way, and just a wonderful, amazing, amazing woman. We talked about how politics really play a part in our social lives more than we realize, and being in a political climate that is so divided really gets to you, making you feel unsafe as a Black woman. She brought to my attention that I’ll probably feel more at ease in the months to come knowing that I’m being represented, and it’s going to be a huge sigh of relief; as I said, I just want to feel safe and heard by my country.
GLITTER: What inspiring message do you hope to send through your work to young girls who look like you and also that do not look like you?
JAZ: (screams) I love it! Well, I kind of do everything that I do for them, so I’m always thinking about those girls watching because I didn’t have a lot of people to look up to that looked like me. A lot of the people I look up to don’t look like me. Because we live in a culture that is so focused on beauty, particularly for women, we teach young girls that the most valuable thing they can be is beautiful, and I think that that’s false. So while our boys are learning to cultivate their skills and their intelligence and all of these things, our girls are taught to be beautiful. And so I would like to inspire young women to have the courage to pursue what they love and to get good at what they love because they’re so much more than what they look like, and you know half of our population is women. I just think it’s such a waste of so much talent and brilliance to focus on external things alone. I want to inspire women to believe in themselves more than anything else.
Otherwise, it’s just a waste of so much brilliance. Men are not smarter than us; they are not more talented than us; they’re not more anything than us. Their energy is just allowed to be spent in better ways, whereas we are told to look perfect, and that shit takes time; it takes time, energy, and effort that could be spent learning the things you love. So I want to inspire people to believe in themselves beyond their outward appearance. It might seem like a small thing, but it really does take away so much brilliance that is available to us because all of those brilliant girls are focused so much on what other people think rather than what they love. So I want to inspire people to focus on what they love more than anything.
GLITTER: What advice do you have for young people to continue to help bring change to our country after such a historic election with so much more work to do?
JAZ: Oh, we do have a lot of work to do, we sure do. I think I just want to inspire people to be brave. Just be bold and be young and dare to suck and dare to be wrong and dare to be loud and dare to be annoying. I just want people to break down these barriers about how women and girls are perceived and what our roles should look like. I love loud women and brave women and rude women. I want to inspire that in other people, you know? Because its something that I’m scared of in myself sometimes too, and releasing this song is such an example of that for me because I’m sassy in it. I’m honest in it. I’m bold in it, I’m telling my truth, and I’ve lost many nights of sleep thinking like, “oh my god, is everybody gonna hate me because I’m being honest,” and for me, that is such a growth point because I’m like well I don’t care. I should not be scared of my own voice, and if I’m scared to use mine, then other people are probably scared to use theirs as well. So you know, I’m breaking that down in myself, and I hope to inspire other people to break it down in themselves too.
GLITTER: California just passed the Crown Act; what was that like for you hearing about the law to ban Black hair discrimination?
JAZ: I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but if you google “professional hairstyles” and google “unprofessional hairstyles,” all of the search results for professional ones are white girls, and all of the search results for unprofessional ones are Black girls. It’s literally that black and white. It’s nuts. I did it one time, and I was like, “are you f*cking kidding me?” So I’m so excited to hear that because it’s different, we’re all different. Our textures are different, our genes are different, our leaves all grow different, and that’s a beautiful thing. It’s a lot of work again to try to look a certain way, and if you’re a Black girl with Black girl hair trying to make your hair look like white girl hair, it is expensive, and it takes time. So having it to where you can just be who you are and not be discriminated for that is f*cking wonderful.
GLITTER: It should never have ever been an issue, you know, it’s crazy, the things that are wrong in our society.
JAZ: It’s just it’s not an accident, though. It’s not. We’re aware of it now, but these things are not accidentally at play. It’s intentional to keep us in line. But I think that’s now changing.
GLITTER: You wear your hair natural and set an example for so many young girls; what has your natural hair journey been like? Have you always embraced it?
JAZ: No, I have not always embraced it. I grew up in Dallas, Texas, where it was really cool to be super white and to have really straight, preferably blonde hair and really skinny legs. So my journey to loving my luscious booty and big hair definitely took time. I used to get my hair relaxed, I’d go get it straightened, I’ve done so much shit to my hair, and then I just finally was like, “You know what, f*ck this. I actually don’t have to look a certain way to do a certain thing, I’m just gonna embrace the way that I look, the way that I am,” and again hopefully inspire other people to do the same. My hair is a handful, it’s not easy, I have so much of it, it’s a pain in my ass, but I love it, and I wouldn’t change it for any other hair texture, and again just inspiring people to be themselves and to love that and to be proud of that and to wear it boldly. I am super happy that I’ve gotten to have a hand in that because when I started acting, it was kind of assumed that I should straighten my hair before I went in before I would film. It was a decision to go in with my natural hair, and now whenever I do a project, they’re like, “can you wear your hair curly?” But it didn’t use to be like that, so it’s been a long journey for me. Still, I’m really happy about where things are at as far as natural hair goes because there are so many different beautiful, wonderful textures of Black girl hair that I’m excited that people are embracing proudly now.
GLITTER: Do you feel more TV and film sets should accommodate actors with Black natural hair? Is there more work to do in that area?
JAZ: Yes. I’ve worked with some amazing hair and makeup people and producers. Every time I go on a new job, and every time I sit in a new hair chair, I’m holding my freaking breath because you do not know what you’re going to get. Sometimes you get people who are equipped, and sometimes you get people who are not equipped, and it’s freaking stressful. And I actually had a conversation after the first part of Sabrina with some of the execs. And I just said, “Hey, I’m waking up early and doing my hair before I come to set, and it’s not fair that my white costars get to roll out of bed and feel taken care of and that I don’t have that same luxury. So I would really love it if you guys could have someone on set next season who is experienced with ethnic hair or is Black, therefore experienced with ethnic hair.” And they were so kind. They were like, “Thank you for sharing; we’re on it.” And they found me someone, Cheryl, who was amazing with my hair and did a great job every day. I got to roll out of bed and come to set and feel beautiful. It makes a huge, huge difference, and we do have a long way to go because I wasn’t the only person of color on that set and wasn’t the only person feeling that way. It’s just important to have these conversations because the more we do, the more we create the standard. And one of the things that make Black people beautiful is the texture of our hair, which needs to be accommodated for and prioritized. It should just kind of be expected, I think.
GLITTER: Speaking of hair, do you have any favorite hair products?
JAZ: I do. I use this curl-enhancing mousse by Design Essentials, and then I use Indian Hemp & Tamanu Deep Treatment Mask by Nubian Heritage. And then there’s this, I can’t remember what it’s called, but there’s this gel that comes in the big green jar, and all the Black girls have it, and it’s the shit. Any time I need to do like the slicked-back look, that’s my go-to.
GLITTER: Skincare products you can’t live without?
JAZ: I love skincare. I really got into it the last couple of years. Yeah, I don’t even know where to start. I apply vitamin C serum in the morning and moisturizer with sunscreen. I also use retinol, like a really light retinol cream at night and moisturizers. And I use shea butter things and oils. But some of my favorite brands are Derma E, which they sell at all of the health food stores. I also really like Aluminé’s stuff and Éminence, and there’s this Canadian company Sunday Riley that has these skin oils called Luna Sleeping Night Oil that I’m such a big fan of. So those are probably my favorite. And then for spa treatment, I use Indie Lee.
GLITTER: What are some of your favorite fashion brands?
JAZ: Oh, man, Free People, I love Free People, I wear a lot of their stuff. There’s this t-shirt company that I’ve been wearing a lot of t-shirts from called For Days. It’s a sustainable company, so they are good for the environment, and I really like their stuff. I also just love thrift shopping in general. And I just got this like jumpsuit from Madewell, that I’m obsessed with; I wear it like every other day. It’s perfect. I love it.
GLITTER: If you could travel to one place right now, where would that be and why?
JAZ: I think I want to go back to Ireland. I really, really love Ireland a lot. I’m 30 percent Irish, so I think I just kind of feel called there sometimes, but I just kind of want to go be there because it’s so green and beautiful.
GLITTER: Did you learn anything new about yourself during quarantine?
JAZ: Oh, yeah, so much. So much. So much. That’s hard to boil down. Yeah, because it’s still going on, it’s honestly hard to pinpoint cause I feel like I’m in the middle of learning a lot of things. I guess I’m learning how to feel safe with myself and other people and feel safe with whatever is going on. Even if I’m anxious or happy or scared or whatever it is, just to like understand that I’ve got me and that the people who love me have got me, because it’s been such a roller coaster. And if you’re scared of the roller coaster, it makes the roller coaster worse, but if you’re just like, “okay, I’m on a roller coaster,” it’s a little less scary. So I think I’ve been a little bit more grounded in whatever waves this year wants to take me on, which has been pretty okay.
GLITTER: What is a day in isolation like for you during COVID-19?
JAZ: Oh, well, it depends on what day. I definitely spend a lot of time at home. Been working on my songs, just working on finishing them up because it’s the first time that I’ve done this, so it’s like the mixing process, and all of the like making sure the high hat sounds right and the harmonies are good and figuring out how to EQ things, and just that whole thing has taken up a lot of my time. So my quarantine days look like waking up, snuggling and then snuggling my dog and then feeding her, making breakfast and then spending time on music, probably going for a walk, maybe working out, and then eating all of my favorite snacks every night. I’m like such a shameless snacker. So me and food have gotten really close this quarantine, and lots of TV.
GLITTER: Is there any piece of advice you live by?
JAZ: Oh, that’s so good. That’s a good question. I don’t believe that there’s only one right path for everybody. I think that there are a hundred different versions of everybody’s life that could be so beautiful and lovely and that are completely available to whoever wants to believe in them. So I like to believe in infinite possibilities and infinite ways into those possibilities. I feel like it just leaves room for a lot of freedom for discovery if that makes sense. There’s no right choice; I mean, there’s right and wrong, obviously, but sometimes there are four right choices, and that’s okay.
GLITTER: Glitter has a celebrity #SelfLoveCampaign. What does self-love mean to you?
JAZ: Self-love, for me is patience and compassion because it’s a growing, changing relationship. Sometimes self-love means I’m doing yoga every day at six in the morning, not me, I hate six in the morning, but you know what I mean. Sometimes, self-love means I don’t need to see anybody for three days, and I need to eat a pizza every day, you know? Having flexibility for self-love creates sustainability because when you get rigid with your self-care, self-love beliefs, it stops feeling so much like love. So I think self-love is about asking yourself every day, meeting yourself where you are, and figuring out what you need at that moment because it’s different every single day.
GLITTER: Do you have any new projects coming up that you can tease?
JAZ: I’m working on this movie right now, directed by Amanda Kramer called Please Baby Please, and it’s like this weird like Clockwork Orange meets West Side Story, like heightened kind of sexual dark movie that takes place in the 50s. So it’s so cool. The cast is amazing. I’ve got a lady crush on Amanda, and I get to play this like squeaky like New York Joanne, and she’s like kind of shameless and kind of like, you know, looking for trouble. So it’s really fun for me to get to play such a ‘charactery’ character. And then other than that, I have my first EP coming out early next year. It’s called Bought Myself Daisies, and it has five songs on it. It’s a little chunk of my heart that I’ve spent a lot of time, love, energy, and intention on that I am really excited to share. I don’t have a date for that yet, but that’s what I’ve been working on.
GLITTER: What are the best social media platforms for fans to keep up with all things Jaz?
JAZ: Definitely, Instagram @Jaz_Sinclair, as well as my music account @Jasimi_Music. I’m probably going to build a music Facebook page at some point. I’m the worst tweeter. I never use Twitter. I go on there every once in a while, and I say something like not that interesting. So Twitter is not the way; I’d say Instagram for me for sure.
Photographed by Adeline Wohlwend
Styling – Jessica Paster @ Crosby Carter Management
Styling Assistant – Gabrielle Wells
Hair – Tanya Quintero Abriol
Makeup – Shannon Pezzetta @ Starworks Artists using NARS Cosmetics
Black Top: Alberta Ferratti
Floral Dress: Giambattista Valli
Suit – Tibi | Top – MESHKI | Shoes – Tory Burch
All others, stylist’s own.