Childhood & Early Life
Jillian Kristin Hervey was born on June 19, 1989, in Los Angeles, California, to Ramon Hervey II and Vanessa Williams. Her mother is an esteemed singer, actor, and model, apart from being a former ‘Miss America.’ Thus, it was not surprising when Jillian caught the love for show business early in her life.
Her uncle, Chris Williams, is also an established actor. She is the great-great-great-granddaughter of politician William A Feilds, who was a slave in the past.
She did not have a pleasant childhood despite having celebrities as parents. Her parents did not get along well with each other. When Jillian was 8 years old, her parents got divorced. She moved to New York following the divorce. For the remainder of her childhood, she divided her time between her father and her mother, as she wanted to remain in touch with both of them.
Jillian’s childhood was also marred with racism. She experienced racism during her mother’s live shows. Her mother was the first black ‘Miss America,’ and that did not sit well with the right-wing Americans. Vanessa got several death threats from time to time, and several attempts were made on her life during her shows.
Jillian started becoming interested in a career in show business when she was 11 years old. She had received a new guitar and soon enrolled at ‘The New School’ to train in dance. At ‘The New School,’ she got in touch with Lucas Goodman, with whom she later formed a duo.
She knew Lucas for a long time and she once requested him to compose some original music for one of her school assignments. The two got along well. As soon as Jillian graduated from the school, she formed the duo ‘Lion Babe,’ along with Lucas.
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Jillian initially wanted to be a professional dancer but working with Lucas on a music project changed her mind. The duo ‘Lion Babe’ released their first single, ‘Treat Me Like Fire,’ in December 2012. The single did not become a hit but was noticed by rapper Childish Gambino.
Childish contacted ‘Lion Babe’ and asked them to open for him at the ‘SXSW’ concert in March 2013. Working with Childish did miracles for Jillian. ‘Lion Babe’ was soon offered a contract by ‘Interscope Records.’ Sometime later, the duo bagged a record deal with ‘Polydor’ in the UK.
In December 2014, the duo released their debut extended play (EP), ‘Lion Babe,’ and involved Childish right from the beginning. He appeared in the lead single of the EP, ‘Jump Hi,’ which was released in early 2014. The EP received immense critical acclaim for its fresh and effective style of combining hip-hop, R&B, and electronica. The single ‘Jump Hi’ earned the ninth spot on the ‘Billboard’ chart.
The duo then concentrated on their debut studio album, ‘Begin,’ which was released in February 2016 and received positive reviews. The album featured several collaborations. Pharrell Williams and Dave Sitek were two of the music producers who worked on the album.
In 2015, much before the release of their album, the duo had released a single titled ‘Wonder Woman.’ It had aced the ‘Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists’ chart.
Following the commercial and critical success of the album, the duo made several TV appearances. They also went touring to promote their album.
Jillian has also worked as an actor occasionally. She made her acting debut at the age of 11, with the TV film ‘The Courage to Love.’ The film featured her mother, Vanessa, in the lead role.
At the age of 19, she was offered a key role in the series ‘Gossip Girl.’ However, she declined the offer, as she was busy making music at that time.
In 2012, she appeared on the TV show ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and performed the song ‘Glamazon’ along with other contestants.
She also made a career in the beauty industry, following in the footsteps of her mother. In early 2016, she began working as a spokeswoman for ‘MAC Cosmetics.’ She became the face of the brand’s campaign ‘Future Forward,’ which was aimed at the upliftment of struggling and new musicians.
At that time, the brand was also promoting beauty products aimed at black women. The brand had several other women of color such as Kerry Washington and Dej Loaf as brand ambassadors.
Jillian promoted the brand’s gold eyeliner, which eventually became her trademark in the following years. ‘The Observer’ appreciated the campaign for sending the right message to the society.
In June 2016, Jillian began promoting ‘Pantene,’ a popular hair-care brand. However, ‘Pantene’s decision to make her the brand ambassador was criticized by many, as she had extremely curly hair. Jillian was happy with the choice and said that she was excited to become the voice of girls with curls.
Jillian has also been in the news because of her photo shoots with her mother, wearing classic attire of the 1970s.
Jillian was rumored to be in a relationship with Lucas Goodman for a long time, before they both officially denied it. Jillian later said that she had a steady boyfriend from her high-school years. She keeps her private life to herself.
While in school, Jillian faced bullying due to her messy, curly hair. However, she later embraced her curls, as they made her unique.
She is a good friend of artist Andre Singleton since her college years.