Jessica Mikayla: From childhood inspiration to NAACP Image Award Nominee  

Jessica Mikayla. Courtesy

Jessica Mikayla’s journey from being a young admirer of television shows to a thriving actress has earned her a nomination in the NAACP’s Image Awards for her work on “Disney Launchpad” season two.  

The local actor is nominated in the Outstanding Performance in a Short Form Series category. The ceremony is scheduled to air on BET at 8 p.m. Saturday. 

Mikayla knew she wanted to pursue acting after watching an episode of the hit 1990s sitcom “Full House.”   

D.J. Tanner, played by a young Candace Cameron Bure, stood out to Mikayla the most out of the three young protagonists. At 6 years old, Mikayla knew she wanted to be on television and in film. 

“I’m hooked, I’m not going anywhere,” Mikayla said, reminiscing on her initial thoughts after taking her very first acting class. “I was young but I knew what I wanted and I’m very stubborn.”  

Mikayla has slowly made her dream a reality. She has booked acting opportunities on and off the screen, also lending her voice for characters in projects such as “Mindhunter,” “Diary of the Wimpy Kid” and the Oscar-winning animated feature film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” 

Jessica Mikayla (right), Courtesy.

Her workdays can seem different depending on her duties, she said. If she is voice acting, her days are a bit more relaxed and look like a traditional 9-to-5 job. If she’s scheduled to work in live action, she’s up before the sun rises ready to look and perform her best for the camera. 

“It’s just been fun. It’s doing what I love as a career,” said Mikayla. “It’s been a long journey. I wouldn’t say it’s too difficult. Maybe just a tiny bit. But I’m having a blast.” 

As a young Black actress, Mikayla’s journey has had small challenges but nothing that has discouraged her from giving up on her dream. During her time growing up and being a child actor, she said that the entertainment industry wasn’t using kids anymore and it wasn’t as diverse.  

“Some roles you didn’t get because of the color of your skin, which was not fun,” she said.  

Nonetheless, Mikayla has grown up to be an actress who has become a part of shows in some of the biggest streaming apps to date. Some of the works she has been in are streamed on Disney+, Netflix, Showtime, Apple TV, Amazon Prime and many more.  

Mikayla likes to enjoy her free time taking private ice-skating lessons at the Cube and going to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Originally from Compton, Mikayla’s family moved to Santa Clarita in 2017 and she has since graduated from Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School in Castaic.  

She also volunteers at her church as a children’s church leader, overseeing 2- to 5-year-old children.  

“I wanted to start helping more with the younger kids,” said Mikayla. At first, it was something she began doing during quarantine. Now she creates lesson plans and has a leadership role, she said.  

Her years of hard work have paid off with the Image Awards nomination. The 55th NACCP Image Awards aims at “celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color across more than 80 competitive categories spanning film, television, streaming, music, literature and podcasts,” stated the official website.  

“Being nominated is such a huge honor already,” she said happily. “Knock on wood that I win but I’m just happy to be there.”   

Mikayla currently attends college and continues to pursue her acting career simultaneously. She hopes to continue both voice and live acting in the future, she said.  

“I would love to do both for the rest of my life.” 

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