Phenix City native starts acting career

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Jessica Trainham set to appear in FOX TV series March 19, also has appeared in ABC’s Grey’s

By Chad Dixon

Phenix City native Jessica Trainham appeared on ABCs highest-rated prime time TV show Grey’s Anatomy on March 8. The former captain of the Central High School cheer squad debuted on the show as Daphne Johnson, the wife of Clive Johnson, who is played by Blake Hood. In the episode “Games People Play,” it was the 14th installment of the show’s 14th season as the ABC flagship.

After graduating from Central in 2003, she attended Columbus State University for two years and graduated from Auburn University in 2008 with a Communications in Film degree. After college, she tried out to be a cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons. After going through a strenuous process, she made the final audition stage of the process. She faced adversity as she did not make the team.

“It was devastating,” Trainham said. “It was the first time in my life that I was unsuccessful in trying out for a team that I so desperately wanted to be a part of.”

Two weeks later, Trainham received a call that would change her life. An opening on the team came available. She accepted the offer. Soon after, Sports Illustrated took notice and she inked a deal as a model for the popular magazine. She was invited to New York for a photo shoot and went on to accept an invitation to the SI Launch Party.

“I was super excited – it wasn’t intimidating because the photographer was so great,” Trainham added. “I was surrounded by some of the best models in the world. It was such a cool experience.”

Trainham moved on to Tampa, Fla., where she cheered for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After a year of cheering, she took a job doing paralegal work. The office life didn’t suit her, as she felt she was “wasting her life away.” After a mutual departure with her bosses, she moved to Miami and hired an agent. She took some commercial roles and appeared on A&E’s The Glades drama series.

“I got a taste, but I wanted more,” Trainham added. Her agent advised her to go to a bigger market and she moved to Los Angeles, Calif., four years ago.

To land a spot on a show like “Grey’s,” casting offices submit casting breakdowns with age ranges and descriptions of what they are looking for. Agents submit headshots and the casting offices review more than 5,000 headshots per role. Only 15-30 auditions are granted. The Linda Lowy Casting Agency reached out to Trainham and informed her about the “Grey’s” casting office’s interest in her.

“Just getting an audition was a big win. I loved the role from the time I read it,” said Trainham.

She was “pinned” for the role, but still needed approval from the network, writers and producers. She eventually received that approval and began filming in December. She met several “Grey’s” stars. She received advice from Greg Germann.

“Greg was really nice and it was an honor for him to give me kudos on my performance,” Trainham added.

Trainham will have a role on the FOX series Lucifer on March 19. She feels like she is just getting started.  “My goal is to work consistently as an actress. I love being an artist! I just love the artistry part of it, being able to express myself. I want to take on roles that are nothing like me and challenge myself,” she said.