Feature: Los Angeles Creative, Jarrett Ellis
MEet LOS ANGELES CREATIVE,
A Conversation about Culture, Clothing, and Cinema.
Jarrett ELLIS GETS SHiT DONE. IN JUST 23 YEARS ON OUR PRETTY LIttle OVER-HEATED PLANET EARTH, JARRETT HAS STARTED a CLOTHING LINE, CO-FOUNDED AN ANNUAL HOLIDAY HAMPER for kids in SAN BERNADINO, STARRED AS SNOOP DOGG IN ALL EYEZ ON ME (2017) AND RECENTLY FOUNDED HOOP DREAM STUDIO. HE'S STILL DABBLING IN COLLEGE AND HE'S HERE TO CHAT WITH US ABOUT CULTURE, CLOTHING, AND CINEMA.
Hiya, Jarrett. Let’s take it waaaaaay (hah) back. What did you wanna be when you grew up?
JE // Ahhhhh. Growing up I wanted to be a sneaker designer.
SS // THE first gig you executed was Xtra Kredit. what is it and how did XK come together?
JE // I was literally a freshman in high school math class when I came up with Xtra Kredit. At the time, I wanted to put random and funny graphics on shirts - some for me and my friends to wear around campus. So I saved up money from selling shoes on eBay and got my first run of tees printed. It was a shirt that said “We are the Future” in Star Wars font lol. After that, me and my friends were not only selling tees out the back of my trunk during lunch, but we also had kids at other schools in the district selling XK as well.
SS // Hypest AND/OR MOST UNEXPECTED thing that's come from XK?
JE // Davantae Adams from the Green Bay Packers wearing XK before a couple games last season and DJ Mustard wearing our entire collection while on tour.
SS // You’ve consistently incorporated a “giving back” element in your endeavours before it was “cool.” When did charity work first come up for you?
JE // Charity work for me goes back to high school again when I was like a junior or senior and we randomly came up with the idea “FEED THE IE” - and that was to cook as many meals as we could with $150. So we made about 60 meals and drove around the streets of San Bernardino handing them out. The meals were super fire we made turkey, gravy, mac and cheese and green beans! The following years we’ve been getting more and more volunteers and donations. We’ll be going on year number 6 this Fall and for Christmas we do “XK Luh da Kids” where we have a toy drive and go back to the same area San Bernardino and give toys to all the kids in the community. Its really dope. We pull up with a caravan of cars carrying toys and "XK Santa" hops out, and all the kids run out from the houses super hyped! Last year we gave out over 600 wrapped toys.
SS // Some might recognize you because you played !!SNOOP DOGGY DOGG!! in the hit movie All Eyez On Me (2017). Tell us the story of how you got the role.
JE // I was going to LMU at the time when LT Hutton (the producer of the film) who is also family, flew me out to Atlanta to audition for the film. I then read for the producers and director. While I was back in in LA taking classes LT called me to let me know I booked it! Then I withdrew from all my classes as fast as I could haha and next thing I knew was in Atlanta working on for the next 2 months.
SS // What was it like being on set? Did you feel pressure, having no previous professional acting experience? How’d you prep?
JE // I definitely felt a huge responsibility to honor Snoop's and Tupac's legacies and make sure I could portray the character as honest and authentic as possible. I watched hours and hours of footage of Snoop from the 90s on YouTube. A lot of clips where he’s just chillin' with Pac or with Daz and Kurupt (members of his rap group DPG) to capture the essence of who he was.
SS // Tell us the wildest thing that happened on while you were filming All Eyes On Me.
JE // My first day on set I spent 13 hours straight in hair and makeup getting my dreadlocks removed so I could rock an afro for the scene. And as I’m leaving the trailer Daz Dillinger and Snoop’s actual dad were standing right outside and both of theirs eyes lit up when they saw me in character, it was a pretty surreal moment. They then both gave me some really good insight on Snoop.
SS // Now you’re making custom hoops (the hoop dream studio). They are wild. I love them (where’s my homie discount for the mirror one?) How did the idea come to you?
JE // Haha I can see what I can do about a friends and family promo code.
The idea came to me while I was in class— it was a project for 3d Design. I remember I was constantly listening to Kid Cudi’s “Indicud” album everyday and the album artwork has this super dope ornate frame on it. and I thought “It would be really cool to have a framed basketball hoop in posted in my apartment.”
SS // YOU've only been making the hoops for what, a year now? any notable buyers?
JE // Drake, Rich the Kid, Sean Wootherspoon, DJ Skee, OVO Ryan, Mohammed Sanu from the Atanta Falcons, Travis Kelce from the Kansas City Chiefs.
SS // Do you have a support system that tells you to sell your stuff and make it happen, or do you think it’s an innate drive that’s in you?
JE // My biggest support system is definitely my Mom. Since the beginning, she's always pushed me to follow my dreams and constantly told me I can accomplish anything I put my mind to -- whether that be acting or in business. I remember early on she would drive me to different business talks to learn more about the industry. One year we drove all the way to Las Vegas to hear Johnny Cupcakes speak on how to run a business.
SS // You seem to come up with concepts and execute them, seemingly effortlessly. Without hesitation. Was there a part of your childhood that you think has contributed to your ability to just get shit done?
JE // When I was 13 I had a shitty basketball court in my backyard and I knew the only I would go pro would be practicing on the same court Kobe played on. So I saved up for a 72” Mammoth Basketball Court (an official size basketball hoop) For an entire year, I sold random stuff on eBay until I had enough [money]. I think that was the moment when I realized, if there's something I want to accomplish, all I got to do is put my mind to it.
"When I was 13 I had a shitty basketball court in my backyard and I knew the only I would go pro would be practicing on the same court Kobe played on. So I saved up. [...] For an entire year, I sold random stuff on eBay until I had enough [money for a pro hoop]."
SS // What do you think the purpose of life is?
JE // To do what you love.
SS // Best advice you’ve received?
JE // The humble calf drinks the most milk.
SS // With all these projects going on, what do you consider yourself to be? Like, September 2018 Jarrett Ellis is .....?
JE // An impatient snowboarder waiting for winter to come.
SS // Dream job? Dream location? Dream life?
JE // Umm, probably a Filmmaker with a house in Utah so I could snowboard and go to Sundance every year.
SS // What’s your favourite part of "the process?"
JE // My favorite part is definitely seeing my ideas come to fruition. Whether that's seeing someone wearing an XK shirt I made, seeing one of my Hoops hanging inside someone's home, or especially seeing the kids at Christmas ripping open our gifts - it's priceless.
SS // What do you wanna add to "the culture"?
JE // I would like to add a new level of innovation to sport and design.
SS // Ideal legacy?
JE // I would like to be a role model for young kids who look like me and have aspirations of pursuing creative endeavours.
SS // alright, that's enough. thank you so much.
JE // Okay great haha. Let's grab In-n-Out.