5 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Grand Army Star Odley Jean
The new Netflix series Grand Army is sure to make breakout stars of its young actors, including Odley Jean, who plays overachiever Dom on the teen drama. Jean is a few years older than her high school junior character, but as it turns out, she's got a lot in common with Dom, and an interesting backstory that's all her own. Before she was a rising star on a buzzy Netflix series, Jean was just a typical girl in Brooklyn, growing up in a Haitian-American community, working to make ends meet, and fighting to pursue her dreams. Here are five facts about her that will make you an even bigger fan than you are already!
She's More Than an Actress
Jean's performance in Grand Army proves her acting chops, but that's not the only career path she's been working on! As reported by Refinery29, she's actually going to school for a degree in social work and recently took on an internship at a women and children's center in her native Brooklyn.
She's Been Working Since She Was a Teenager
Much like her character Dom, Jean worked hard during high school, even to the point of overloading herself with too many commitments and extra work to make some money, from doing hair to selling brownies. "I had to learn the hard way that I was taking on too many things and had my schedule overpacked," she told Refinery29. "But at the same time, I wanted to do everything because it's an opportunity. I'm still learning that. I'm still learning how to break out of that."
She's Worked with Katie Cappiello Before
Grand Army is based on a play by Katie Cappiello, who also serves as the showrunner on the TV version. As it turns out, Jean has a history with the writer in the theater world! They met when Jean was just 16 years old and working with the nonprofit Opening Act, which works on arts programs in underfunded schools. According to WWD, Jean worked with Cappiello on several plays about social justice, including performances at the United Nations!
She's Haitian Like Her Character
Jean gets to bring her real-life culture to the screen: she and her character Dom both are from Haitian-American families. Jean is first-generation herself, and she told Teen Vogue, she wanted to make them proud. "When we find out that there is a Haitian character on TV, I'm telling you, we're all tuning in and hoping for the best... I just remember always feeling proud and always talking to [costars Magaly Colimon and Sajine Sémajuste] about how crazy it is that a Haitian family on a Netflix show is legit Haitian, and that we already felt like a family."
She Thought About Becoming a Nurse
Like many artists, Jean has struggled with the reality that an acting career can be challenging and even unreliable — something which worried her mother, she told WWD, so she tried to talk herself into a different career. "[My mother] would tell me she wanted me to be a nurse, and I thought I wanted to be a nurse, but I just wanted to be a nurse because she wanted me to be. Actors barely make it. You need a backup plan."