Jeremy Pope on His Style Influences, Love of Watches and '90s Sitcoms

Jeremy Pope on His Style Influences, Love of Watches and '90s Sitcoms

by Matthew Velasco

As an actor, activist and creative, Jeremy Pope is constantly breaking boundaries. Beginning his career on Broadway, starring in Choir Boy and Ain't Too Proud, Pope became only the sixth actor in Tony history to be nominated in two categories at the same ceremony during the 2019 event.

Pope's role in Hollywood — Ryan Murphy's Tinseltown mini-series on Netflixsaw the actor portray screenwriter Archie Coleman navigating the 1940s film industry as a gay, Black man. Pope's boundary-breaking role helped the actor gain a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series at the 2020 Emmy Awards.

While keeping busy with high-profile acting stints, Pope is also dipping his toes into the worlds of music and fashion. Mostly recently, the actor teamed up with luxury watchmaker Omega as the brand's ambassador. "Omega is intentional, they're very intentional. Every button, every gadget has an intention," he says of the label. "We're talking timeless pieces, something Omega has been very consistent in for many, many years. It's been beautiful joining the team."

Whether it be dominating the big screen or collaborating with big-shot creatives, Jeremy Pope continues to cement himself as one to watch. The 28-year-old actor not only has an innate knack for storytelling, but also places community and togetherness at the forefront of his creative ventures. Below, PAPER talks with Pope about his love of '90s sitcoms, Emmy nomination for Hollywood, teaming up with Omega and everything in between.

Can you discuss your experience with joining forces with Omega and what drew you to the brand?

It's been beautiful working with Omega. It's been a very collaborative process. And specifically in shooting the campaign that we did together, they allowed me to creative direct and they created space for me to personalize the vision of what it means to wear, to represent the brand. So that was a part of the draw. I think the other draws are, we're talking beautiful and classic.

Aside from acting, you've also ventured into the worlds of music and fashion. Can you elaborate on how these fields overlap for you?

It's all tied together. As a creative unicorn, as I've been coined, I really just value the freedom of expression and the ability to explore and learn. You learn so, so much more about yourself through the mediums of music and fashion. But also allowing your tastes and your point of view in those spaces to evolve just as we evolve as humans. So if anything, I just try to honor all of it. I try to honor and love the music, the acting, the fashion, and in creating those spaces, allowing them to evolve and to change and to teach me more about myself.

What role has advocating for your community and activism played in your career?

When you have opportunities in these spaces I have to really start thinking about what conversations I am starting. And for me it was about what communities I am representing by me taking space and by me being seen. So I believe with any platform you have the ability to bring awareness to things, to be a leader, to change and to be an advocate for good and for what's right.

For me it's just about showing up for myself in any space I'm in, unapologetically. So I try to make that the goal, whether I'm taking space in a fashion room or an acting room or as an activist. But showing up for myself and the things I believe in unapologetically, is always the goal.

You have talked a lot about the influence of '90s sitcoms on your upbringing. How have those sitcoms influenced your acting skills and style in the present?

I really love '90s sitcoms. For me, there's so much joy and happiness and love in those sitcoms. My favorite being Martin. But it always felt like that's what was presented and that's what it represented. It made me feel good. So if anything, I just try to remember that when creating any art. And in being an artist, if I don't love it, if it doesn't make me feel good, make me happy, laugh or bring me tons of joy, then maybe I should re-evaluate my "why," why I'm there. That's how I approach life, my style of life.

Your father and grandfather have also proved to be huge influences in your life and career. How have those relationships shaped your mindset and view on style?

I'm very grateful for those two men who have been just a blessing and a gift to me, they've still instilled so much power. Constantly reminding me of my excellence, reminding me of who I am, who we are as the Pope's. They're the hard workers, they're so focused and determined. I admire a lot of that and strive to be more like them in those ways.

In regards to fashion, if anyone knows how to clean up, it would be my Dad. I blame him for my love of three piece suits. So my dad was a pastor and a bodybuilder, so best believe every Sunday, we were going to church service. But you could also call it a pre Met Gala fashion show because we were going to wear and feel our best while we praised the almighty. So he's to blame for my love for my suits, shoes and hats.

Getting nominated for your first Emmy Award was such a momentous occasion for you. Can you talk about the importance of gaining that recognition, especially for your role in Hollywood?

It's a blessing anytime to be recognized for any work that you do on any scale. Because it's a reminder that what you did resonated with the group of people. And especially with this project Hollywood, it was my first TV show. But it was also a show that premiered in a year that was traumatic and very hard. So there were no expectations, it was a surprise and it was a blessing to be acknowledged for the work.And the real talk is it was an honor to be the person of color on that board. We have talented white men, but to represent that and to be seen in that way, because that is what Hollywood was about for me. And I think for the creatives that created Hollywood, it was about revisiting old Hollywood and exploring how far we've come and yet, how far we have to go. And it was a conversation piece, you know? So it was special to see that conversation being had. And I was very grateful to be a representative amongst some really talented men that night.

Photos courtesy of OMEGA