By Pat Prescott

The critically acclaimed and film festival stand out “Jean Of The Joneses” is scheduled to air this Sunday October 23rd on TV One. The TV One original movie stars Michelle Hurst, who you probably know from her role as Miss Claudette on the Netflix hit show “Orange Is The New Black.” Michelle and I had a spirited conversation about her career, about working on one of the most popular shows of the past ten years and about the new TV movie.

Michelle says she was always into speaking and telling stories when she was growing up. In college, she got a degree in theater arts, thinking she would have a career on the stage but as it turns out, television and film came calling. Most of what she has done has been a surprise for her including the role on “Orange Is The New Black”. She told us the story of how that happened.


We discussed how the award winning Netflix series changed many things about the way we watch television. It was one of the first original series on Netflix and it introduced many of us to the concept of binge watching. Michelle was surprised when people began to recognize her on the subway as the show gained traction.


Since the success of “Orange is The New Black”, Michelle has had some wonderful career opportunities, including going to England and doing an episode of a series called “Last Tango In Halifax”. She went to an audition for “Jean Of The Joneses” without knowing anything about it. The made for TV movie has been well received by the critics and it premiered at SXSW. Michelle says it’s a movie about five women of Jamaican descent, most of whom live in Brooklyn in a dysfunctional family that is like many of our families. It’s the family secrets that add context to the story.


Michelle does not have Caribbean ancestry; she’s just a great actor! She has had a lot of success playing West Indian women but she does a lot more than that and she is always pleased to get a chance to show her range. She loved working with her fellow cast members on “Jean Of The Joneses”, including Sherri Shepherd, Erica Ash, Gloria Reuben and Taylour Paige. The chemistry was great which made making the film a lot of fun. It’s a funny movie but it does have dark overtones and Michelle says the soundtrack is wonderful. Check it out this Sunday night, October 23rd, on TV One.


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