Roles that speak to the heart and soul are the ones worth savoring and cherishing. In his role on History Channel’s military drama SIX,strives sure to do both. He knows and appreciates that some roles are once in a lifetime and it is a rare gift — and in every scene Jaylen’s performance in SIX reflects that. He is riveting to watch. Perhaps it is because he cares so much and strives to make his role as authenticate and real as possible that it truly grabs your attention while watching. In an exclusive interview, Jaylen shares his pride in scoring this amazing role and how it has changed his life as a performer and artist.
What continues to be the appeal for you in portraying Armin “Fishbait” Khan and working on History’s SIX?
JAYLEN: First off, it’s an HONOR to play this role. The name Armin was chosen from our creator David Broyles. Armin was a Muslim and an Air Force Pararescuman who served with David. Armin served proudly for this country. He passed away, so David named the character in honor of him. When David told me that, it added a whole new layer to my character and why I work so hard into portraying Armin Khan on screen authentically. Secondly, it’s an honor to portray the first Afghan Muslim Navy Seal on Television. My father is from Afghanistan so this hits at home for my family and I. We’re making history on HISTORY. It’s a big responsibility. Some people have a specific opinion on how they view Muslims today. I take this role seriously. I want to show the reflection of what these real life warriors go through, but also to show that Armin is a human. Regardless of his religion, he is a human who cares for his Brothers and the soil he lives on. The country that took him in. The pride and love he has for the U.S. He will risk his life for his Brothers and country and defend against all enemies even if they are the same religion. This is where the human side comes in. It’s not easy, but it’s his job that he executes without hesitation and deals with the feelings later.
How would you describe who Armin is at this point?
JAYLEN: Armin at this point in Season 2 is the anchor to the team. The Brother you never have to question and can ALWAYS depend on. He has his own battles and difficulties back at home in which you will see unfold this season.
What do you most admire about him?
JAYLEN: I admire Armin’s humanity and the fact he wears his heart on his sleeve. This actually is very close to who I personally am in real life. I’ve thanked our writers for allowing me to bring pieces of who I truly am to this brave character.
What is it like working alongside the talented ensemble on History’s SIX?
JAYLEN: Working alongside this talented group of actors is a dream job. I have learned so much from each and every single one of them. The best education as an actor is to be surrounded by superb talent. It raises the bar for you and you have no choice but to rise yourself. I’m like a sponge around my fellow cast. I soak it in.
Who do you get to work with most in the series so far and what is that experience like?
JAYLEN: I get to work most with my team. The Brothers. The experience is always just pure FUN! I love the guys and my job. I have two sisters and no brothers, so I latch onto the Brotherhood with the boys and just soak it in. From bootcamp, to filming, to when we’re back home on hiatus and hang. This season you’ll see some expansion with Armin’s family members as well, which is great. The audience will start to learn more about who this guy really is.
Who would you say is the most pivotal character in Armin’s life on the show at this point? What is their dynamic like?
JAYLEN: In Season 2, you meet Armin’s cousin. He is a very pivotal character for Fish. They’re cousins, but grew up together and are pretty much brothers. Armin has a safe space with him and opens up. It’ll be interesting to hear the audience’s response to this.
Any favorite scenes that you can share from working on the show?
JAYLEN: I have so many! But I’ll give you one off the top…the helicopter sequence in our opening episode of Season 2. That was SO much fun! I was sitting on the edge of the mini bird while the boys were in the Blackhawk. Some fans thought that was green screen. Um..NO..haha it was not! At one point, I think we reached close to 5,000 feet up to get those nice aerial shots. Once I got used to being up there and trusted the two safety cables holding me on, I kind of got the sense of flying. As if I was truly flying and hovering over the snowcapped mountains. Then we would pick up speed for the car chase and I’d raise my gun and fire the blanks towards our bad guys. It was so much fun and scary at times. It’s not everyday I get to sit on the edge of a chopper. Haha. At one point I just took in the phenomenal view, smiled big and said out loud, “God I love my job!”. Then the director radioed in and said, “Stop smiling, we’re rolling.” Hahahahaha.
What challenges did you face working on the show and how did you overcome them?
JAYLEN: The biggest challenge for me was two things. (SPOILER ALERT) STOP READING if you don’t want to know some info until you watch…… ok… so…. first off, when Armin gets wounded, that was a big challenge for me. I’m a very physical guy. So to completely shut down and depend on my teammates to carry me and perform a surgery on me in the scenes, was challenging. I had to really go there in my head to embrace powerlessness and pain. Secondly, the pressure I put onto myself in every scene is challenging. Sometimes physically and sometimes mentally. We wear the real gear and at times it gets tiresome. But then I just remind myself that the real Warriors wear this gear and more for even longer than we do and are in real missions with real bullets. So I take a breath, stop complaining to myself and do my job. The pressure I was referring to is, as an actor I want to make sure I reflect the realism to the audience. I don’t want to let the Military community down. So I’m ALL in and that is very challenging at times. To leave the mindset of the actor civilian life and enter the mind of this Navy Seal in Devgru. (Best of the best.)
I understand that the cast trained with actual SEAL members to get ready for this show, what can you share about that experience?
JAYLEN: Oh man… This question can be a whole interview on its own. Haha… Let’s just say that this type of training — this bootcamp we were thrown into Season 1 and Season 2 was the hardest physical and mental challenge any of us have gone through in our lives!!! Season 1 was at SEALIFT. They gave us a “smidgen” of BUDs (their words.) Well, it felt like more than a smidgen to this actor. Hahaha. From the sleep deprivation, to the long night hikes with ruck sacks, eating MRE’s while sitting in the cold ocean (if you get out, you can’t eat), almost drowning in the ocean, pressure hose being sprayed in your face at some point late in the night, physical PT that just took my body into overdrive and shut down. Being yelled at and emasculated. Yeah… that’s just a few from Season 1. LOL. Season 2 was outdoor the whole time — 3 days in the mountains, sleeping on snow, rationing food, climbing Black Tusk, which I believe we were 7,600 feet up. Having to jump in Glacial water for a minute or more at a time with our clothes on, to then be yelled at to get out, and get back on the trail and hike that mountain. The list can go on and on. At the time, in moments I hated the pain, but then satisfaction of passing that one particular evolution was so self-rewarding. Then onto the next. Regardless of how much pain and challenges I had to overcome in those bootcamps, I would do it all over again with my Brothers. It has taught me a lot about life and that we as humans ALWAYS have a line that can be pushed if we WILL it to. We can always go further than we think we can and more! Now when back at home, I tend to not complain anymore about anything in life. I’ll have moments, as we all do, we’re human. But in those moments of doubt or complaint, I can hear the SEALs saying, “Could be worse! Could always be worse!” That usually ends that feeling I have pretty quickly and I move onward and upward.
Has the show and its characters left an impression on you in your life? If so, in what way?
JAYLEN: I’d say refer to the answer [above]. This experience has forever changed me and I am a better person, a better husband, son, friend and member to my community because of this show.
As an actor, what has been the one thing you have taken away from the experience of working on History’s SIX?
JAYLEN: Life is always full of beautiful moments and then darkness. When stuck in that darkness, you can always push through. Just remember the sacrifice and pain our Military Warriors put themselves through voluntarily! Your life could always be worse. Let that darkness flow through and rise out of it.
What is your proudest achievement working on History’s “SIX”?
JAYLEN: My proudest achievement working on SIX is a few things:
1: It’s been the role of a lifetime and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I LOVE my job.
2: Passing those bootcamps and learning my limits and how to push beyond has been a hell of a life lesson and achievement.
3: Learning as an actor and civilian there is always a time and place to listen, follow, speak and lead. Pick your moments wisely.
4: This show has taken my career to the next level. So grateful to Bill Broyles and David Broyles in creating this role for me and hiring me.
5: This show has made me a better father to my two kids, a better husband, a better person. And I bought my first home. If I didn’t have this show, that wouldn’t have happened. Very grateful!
What has surprised you most about your career so far?
JAYLEN: The MAGIC! I truly believe in: manifestation, magic and prep.
MAGIC: I auditioned for a recurring part (Role of Buckley) in Season 1 of SIX. When Bill and David Broyles saw my tape, they did not hire me for that part, but created a role for me. That is very unheard of in Hollywood. That is the “magic” I’m talking about.
MANIFESTATION: I have been very focused for a very long time. Specific with my goals. It’s been amazing and sometimes still surprising to see my goals and dreams come to fruition.
PREP: Staying sharp in my art. Acting classes, singing, keeping in shape, learning a new skill etc… This has been a surprise in my career because it is aligned with my favorite quote: “Luck favors the prepared…”
At this stage of your career, what do you think you have learned from the roles and projects you have worked on?
JAYLEN: Each project I have taken a lesson away with me. I learn and grow on every single one. Like I said earlier, I’m a sponge that is always open to learning and growing. That is the martial artist in me. I never want to be a “master in life.” I am the ongoing student.
Then what are the perks of where you are in your career right now?
JAYLEN: The perks… hmm… well… the consequence of what we do, especially when on a hit show it is the fandom. Being noticed and acknowledged for your work feels great! But more so when a fan says you’ve inspired them in some way — whether to either join the military and defend the country they’re from, or inspired to be healthier and to push through pain. I’m very active on my social media and have been told from fans that I inspire them. Every time I hear that, it’s very humbling and flattering. For I too have my inspirations that I follow and gain inspiration from. Then companies and brands reaching out for you to wear there stuff is always fun. I love trying new products out. Those are just a few of the wonderful perks.
Has there been any great advice you have gotten about working as an actor?
JAYLEN: Yes. In Season 1, Walton Goggins took me aside to talk and connect. He literally grabbed my arm and said in his cool smooth Walton voice, “Hey brother… I don’t know much about you. Come with me. Let’s step out and talk, connect.” Made me laugh because usually I’m that guy. Hahaha. Maybe it’s a Scorpio thing because we both are. During our conversation one of the many inspirational things Walt told me was, “No matter what happens in this game of Hollywood, you keep that great head of yours on straight. Keep your work ethic and how you are to people. They will notice and you will shine. Stay true to you and family.” I’ll never forget that. Meant a lot to hear that from THE Walton Goggins.
What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
JAYLEN: Do not stop! But do not be overly aggressive in foolish choices. Focus! Build a team. For example: I have a Career Coach (Barbara Deutsch), Acting Coach (Elizabeth Gamza), and I was a part of a Mastermind Group. I have supportive friends, I have a supportive wife (very important to have a supportive partner). I workout. I train in martial arts. I meditate. I go to therapy (keep your head straight). It’s hard in Hollywood. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Think outside the box. Don’t just think being an actor/singer/dancer is enough. Produce, make your own content, take risks etc… Always grow and keep learning. Stay humble and surround yourself with love and support.
Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
JAYLEN: As of now, I have some scripts on the market that are very close to selling. That’s all I can say about that at the moment. Aside from SIX, you can catch me on Episode 9 of QUANTICO this Season 3. It was a cool guest star role I got to film during my hiatus from SIX. Plug in with me on my social media. That’s the best way to see what I have coming up and a look at my personal life and journey.
My Instagram is: jaylen1118
To watch how Jaylen’s character Armin braves his tough road to recovery in Season 2 of SIX, be sure to tune in for all new episodes of SIX on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. on History Channel. Also to see what is upcoming this season on SIX, you can follow the show on Twitter @SIXOnHistory. Then to follow Jaylen’s growing career, you can follow him on Twitter @jaylen_moore to see what other great film and television projects that he will be starring in and making appearances in next.