AN actor who was told to lower his expectations by his school friends says he has had the last laugh after being cast in films and TV shows in America.

Jermaine Griffiths, 26, from Frinton, is appearing in programmes set to be shown on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

The budding star, who grew up in the seaside town, always wanted to perform. But he admits it hasn’t been an easy process.

“I remember a time in school during a class project we were discussing what we wanted to be when we grew up,” he said.

“Everybody took turns mentioning to the class what they wanted to be, when it was my turn to answer I said to the class that I wanted to be either a professional wrestler or a successful Hollywood actor.

“Everyone laughed and said that I choose something more realistic so that I did not disappoint myself.”

Despite the reaction he got, Jermaine said he was determined to keep his dream alive. He said: “I always believe anyone can achieve anything they set their mind to. Often anything worth having takes a long time to achieve, with many ups and downs along the way.

“Pursuing an acting career can be difficult, you have to be able to endure many nos when attending auditions, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, put on a smile and go to the next one.”

And Jermaine’s perseverance has paid off after he was cast in American Christmas movie Hip Hop Holiday.

The film is about a larger than life hip hop diva, Leesa J, who takes a walk down memory lane.

It stars Empire actress Ta’Rhonda Jones and Wendy Raquel Robinson from The Steve Harvey Show. Jermaine plays Jaden Rowe and the film will be shown on the BET channel in America and be available on Amazon Prime.

He has also found success with a film in Africa and had been filming for TV show Secrets and Scandals which will be available on Netflix. And Jermaine, a former Tendring Technology College student, hopes to use his success to inspire other young actors across Essex.

He said: “I aim to one day have a platform with enough influence to help other young people explore and pursue their passions, especially young people from some smaller towns in Essex where opportunity can sometimes appear limited.

“I recently launched my Rise With Jay podcast where I will be sharing my journey, including my failures, successes and lessons that I learn along the way to pursuing my acting career.

“I decided to create this podcast as I have overcome many obstacles on my journey so far.”

“I believe by sharing all of this on my podcast and being an open book, I will be able to help many others overcome their fear of failure and any other behavioural inhibitions.”

Jermaine hopes to have guests on his podcast who will share their own journeys and tips to overcome adversity. And what does 2020 hold in store for Jermaine?

He hopes to crack the US market and it could possibly mean a move stateside in the future.

“As much as I love my home town and being surrounded by family and friends, remaining there certainly would not help me obtain my goal,” he said.

“Therefore, I will be spending much more time in the US going into 2020.

“I would love to showcase more of my acting abilities by starring in an action adventure movie,” he said.

“I plan to stay focused, keeping my eyes on the prize, and to continue forcing myself outside of my comfort zone.”

Anyone who would like to appear on Jermaine’s podcast can contact him via Instagram at @JermaineGriffiths.

To listen to the podcasts, search for Rise With Jay at podcasts.