The Ascendance of Armani Jackson

The Ascendance of Armani Jackson

The Ascendance of Armani Jackson

The Wolf Pack actor discusses his meteoric rise from child star to leading man

The Wolf Pack actor discusses his meteoric rise from child star to leading man

Photography: Michelle Genevieve Gonzales

Styling: LUCA FALCIONI

Text: Henry Chandonnet

It was a tumultuous journey to the top of the call sheet for Armani Jackson. The 19-year-old starlet, who currently stars in Jeff Davis’ newest werewolf drama Wolf Pack, has jumped some incredible hurdles to reach his current actorly stature. Having now coasted into maturity, Jackson reflects on it all with cheer and an ounce of nostalgia. With his tightly-kept natural curls and a sophisticated new look, he’s officially entered a new era of his career: not just a burgeoning child actor, but a bonafide star on the rise. 

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Unlike the industry’s ever-growing docket of nepo babies, Jackson wasn’t born into the Hollywood limelight. Having lived in Madison, Wisconsin for the first five years of his life, his world changed when he moved with his mother and sister to the bright lights of Los Angeles, where he now resides full-time. Though it was certainly an abrupt transition, Jackson still waxes poetic about his love and gratitude for his mother. “My mom gave up so much for me and my sister,” Jackson muses. “That’s mainly the reason why we’re here. She just saw the potential in us.” 

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Unlike his sister Talia, Jackson was slower to pick up the whole acting thing. Shy and guarded in his youth, it took a fluffy incentive from his mom to get his feet in the door. “She offered me a Webkinz,”  he chuckles. “Those little stuffed animals you could log online. She said she’d buy me a Webkinz if I went in the meeting with her. And I did, and they ended up liking me as well.” Leaving his nerves by the wayside, Jackson signed with a manager and quickly immersed himself in the child-acting world. 

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With bit-parts in media mainstays like Ready Player One and Grey’s Anatomy, Jackson was often the only kid on set. Still, he struck gold with his most recent project, the film that would guide him into adulthood: Honor Society. Surrounded by actors his own age, Jackson flourished. “You immediately get close with those people, because you’re both going through such a unique experience.” Though now entering the adult world, Jackson maintains his childlike spirit from these early projects. That youthful instinct is apparent even over Zoom, as he grins his glowing smile and rushes excitedly through tangents. 

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With a constant slurry of children’s comedies and prestigious indie flicks, Jackson’s resumé definitively points upwards. This isn’t some stroke of luck. No, Jackson is very particular about how he wants to grow as an actor. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to make sure I shape what I do and not take everything,” Jackson comments. “I have always had an image in my head of how I’d want to be perceived as an actor. It is tough to keep that like how you’ve had it in your head and then also not just take work because you want to.” Though likely known for his adolescent gigs, Jackson prides himself on having always thought like an adult. 

Now Jackson takes on a new challenge, reaching yet another career milestone: starring front and center in the highly-anticipated Wolf Pack. Described by Jackson as “a darker werewolf show with more of everything Jeff (Davis) wanted to do in his previous show,” the project is certainly causing a stir. Who doesn’t want an edgier Teen Wolf? As an added bonus, Jackson gets to star alongside horror royalty: the incomparable Sarah Michelle Gellar. Nerves were high meeting Gellar, with his young costars hosting a viewing party of cult-classic Cruel Intentions just days earlier. “And then we met her and she was literally the most humble, sweet person ever,” Jackson gushes. “The second I filmed a scene with her, I felt like it really elevated my performance.” 

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Filming Wolf Pack wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, with its physically grueling stunts and crazed sleep schedule (or lack thereof). Still, no matter the challenges Jackson faced on set, he felt amply ready. He had worked his way up to a leading turn, putting in the hours and building out a skillset. “As an actor, you always want that lead role. You realize, when you get that role you’ve wanted for so long, it makes sense why you needed to wait,” Jackson noted. “So now, having this, it feels like I’m finally prepared for it.” From bit-parts and child-acting stints to leading a major television show, the ascendancy of Armani Jackson has reached a brand-new peak.

 

Credits:

GROOMING BY MICHELLE HARVEY AT OPUS BEAUTY USING CHARLOTTE TILBURY AND PROSE, PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT: ASAD PETERSON, ASSISTANT STYLIST: FRANKIE BENKOVIC

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