Joy Bryant is an American actress and a fashion model. Many call her beauty with brains as she got into Yale University on a full academic scholarship. She has appeared in numerous movies and television shows and is the recipient of quite a few accolades including the Young Hollywood Awards. She is known for her role in Denzel Washington’s directorial debut ‘Antwone Fisher’ where she portrayed the protagonist’s girlfriend. The model turned actress has a clothing line, Basic Terrain, which she manages with her husband. She is known for her witty remarks and humour. As a model, she has done gigs for big names like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. She has also appeared in advertisements for Gap and Victoria's Secret.
Childhood & Early Life
Joy Bryant was born on October 18, 1974, in the Bronx, New York to Joyce Bryant. She was raised by her grandmother and grew up as a poor black kid.
She started dancing at the age of three and prides herself to be one of the few girls who could breakdance in her neighborhood. She notes that this is her “ghetto celebrity claim to fame”.
During the MeToo movement, Joy Bryant revealed that she was conceived from a sexual assault against her mother when the latter was 15. She also disclosed that she didn’t have a connection with her dad or her mom and lived with her grandmother until she went to boarding school.
She is a graduate of Westminster School, a boarding school in Simsbury, Connecticut. She was enrolled in “A Better Chance” program which helped minority talent to reach their academic goals.
She earned a full academic scholarship to Yale University and studied there for two years in hopes of majoring in Economics and going to Wall Street to make her career.
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Rise to Stardom
During her second year at the university, Joy Bryant met JJ Cortez from Next Models management who asked her to give modeling a try. She dropped out of Yale to pursue a career in modeling.
She went on to be a fashion model in Paris, signing exclusive contracts with Tommy Hilfiger and appeared as a cover subject for Victoria's Secret lingerie catalog. She also worked as a model for Ralph Lauren and Rocawear. She was a part of several other well-known print campaigns at the time. While being a model she took acting classes and says she was lucky to get cast in a movie.
In 2001, Joy Bryant made her on-screen debut in the MTV original telefilm ‘Carmen: A Hip Hopera’. It also starred Beyonce Knowles and Mekhi Phifer.
In 2002, she acted a small part in the comedy ‘Showtime’. After ‘Showtime’ she got her big break after she was cast in Denzel Washington’s movie ‘Antwone Fisher’. The movie won numerous awards and Bryant’s career got a fillip as a result of it.
In 2003, she got a part in a Jessica Alba movie ‘Honey’. She acted as the best friend of the main character in the film. Later during the year, she co-starred in the movie ‘Baadasssss’ directed by Mario Van Peebles. She also did a recurring guest role in an American medical drama series ‘ER’.
In 2004, she starred in a Carlos Santana and Musiq Soulchild music video for the song "Nothing at All". Her films that were released that year include ‘Spider-Man 2’, ‘Three Way’ and ‘Haven’.
In 2005, she played a role in ‘The Skeleton Key’, a horror movie. She was also cast in ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin'’, where she played the childhood sweetheart of 50 Cent.
In 2006, she co-starred in ‘Bobby’, a story centered around the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
In 2007, she was cast in the thriller film ‘The Hunting Party’ with Richard Gere and Terrence Howard. In 2008 she played a lead role in a comedy series ‘Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins’, starring Martin Lawrence.
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From 2010 to 2015 Bryant played the role of Jasmine Trussell in the series ‘Parenthood’.
In 2011, she was ranked No.19 in the 2011 BuddyTV list of TV's 100 Sexiest Women.
In 2015, she acted guest-starred in the series ‘Rosewood’ followed by another guest-starring role on the HBO series ‘Girls’, in 2017. In 2018, she played a recurring role on the sports drama series ‘Ballers’.
In 2019, she acted as Lori Foster on the web television series ‘Trinkets’.
Family & Personal Life
In October 2007, Joy Bryant got engaged to stuntman Dave Pope. She met Pope on the sets of ‘Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins’. They married on June 28th, 2008 at a private residence in Amagansett, New York.
She is an ambassador of Oxfam's Sisters on the Planet, an organization that aids women fight hunger, poverty and climate change.
She has also been very public about not wanting to be a mother. She says that her fears of parenthood are derived from her own experiences as the child of a teenage mother.
Joy Bryant has forayed into the clothing business with her husband, developing a brand called Basic Terrain. Basic Terrain is a sportswear brand based in Los Angeles. The idea for a clothing line was formed in the couple’s kitchen while Pope was on the sewing machine trying to recreate a pair of his wife's favorite Thai fisherman pants. The pants now have become the signature design of the brand along with military-inspired jackets, cozy hoodies and relaxed jumpsuits. Basic Terrain can be regarded as comfy wear that looks “cool and effortless”.
As of 2019, Bryant and Pope reside in Los Angeles where Joy takes drum lessons in the morning and manages her business during the day.