From the moment you speak to up and coming actor phenomenon Jay Hunter, you know you’re dealing with a star. Hunter is one of the new stars of Tyler Perry’s, If Loving You Is Wrong and also co-stars opposite Taraji P.Henson in Tyler Perry’s upcoming film, Acrimony set to release Spring 2018. We had the opportunity to sit and speak with this multi-talented actor and see how his life has changed from being a teacher to becoming a Hollywood actor.

How long have you been acting?

My entire life, I wasn’t a bad kid but I was definitely the class clown. When my teacher wasn’t looking, me and my friends were re-enacting scenes from our favorite movie. Who would have ever thought that all that play acting would turn in to something so powerful. It was slowly building me up to the guy that I am today.

How did you land this role in Tyler Perry’s, If Loving You Is Wrong?

It was crazy, I had just got another contract as a teacher at a new school. More money, more students. 300 to be exact. I got an audition the day before. Since I was new to the school I had to politic with another teacher to watch my class. It was an audition at Paramount. It was pouring down raining, I ran to my audition, and ran back to my school. I get a call from my agent the same day telling me to come to a Tyler Perry interview so I went to that audition too. I was late because I was coming from my teaching job. The casting director of the Tyler Perry show is at the audition and I’m so embarrassed because this is my second time meeting him and I’m late AGAIN! Two weeks later I get a call from agent telling me that I just got the part as a season regular for the show, If Loving You Is Wrong. He said, “Pack your bags, you’re leaving.” I was working as a teacher by day and a security guard by night. I was so humbled. I no longer had to work all those hours.

How was the transition?

I’m still transitioning. They say one day you struggling, the next day you’re on top of the world. You hear it happening but then when it happens to you, it’s humbling! My whole life has changed completely. Before you know it 2017 is almost over.

How was it when you first met Tyler Perry?

I’ve liked Tyler Perry since I was a kid. I was super hype! He’s a down to earth dude. He’s very humble. He knows how to express what he wants. He’s fast paced; but he knows how to relay the message and knows how to make you comfortable. Always ready to work. He doesn’t make you feel like if you mess up, then you’re going home. He is an actor himself, so he gets it. He comes from humble beginnings.

What’s next for Jay Hunter?

I have a film with Taraji P. Henson coming out in March of next year. I can’t give out too much, I’m a part of triangle. I’m a supporting cast member. This too is a Tyler Perry film.

Do you ever plan to go back to teaching?

I don’t know if I will go back to a classroom setting. But teaching the youth is something I will always do.

What advice would you give to that struggling actor who wants to give up?

Don’t give up. You have to know why you are doing what you are doing. Keep pushing, keep going. Just don’t give up!

Be sure to follow Jay Hunter TODAY on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Photos by Shaman Ku | provided by Underwood Multimedia Associates (UMA) Worldwide, LLC