1on1: YAA Nominee Maya Jai Pinson

Maya Jai is an Actress, Writer and Director who recently scored three Young Artist Awards Nominations for her short film “I’m Ready”. Maya was nominated in the Outstanding Producer and Writer Categories and additionally received a nomination in the Short Film Role Teen Actress Category.


Song: Until the End of Time by Justin Timberlake ft Beyonce

Artist: Jhene Aiko or Brent Faiyaz

Book: My Two Bestfriends are Hamsters

TV Show: Grown-ish

Movie: Divergent

Congrats on your Young Artist Awards Nominations

After receiving notification that I was a nominee for the 42nd Annual Young Artists Academy Awards, I was ecstatic and surprised to learn that someone thought highly of my talents to nominate me in 3 categories (Outstanding Producer, Outstanding Writer, & Short Film Role Teen Actress). I am very proud of myself and very grateful for this notable recognition.  When I started the journey of writing I’m Ready, I never thought beyond the message of helping others. To be acknowledged for my writing, acting and work behind the scenes is very humbling especially since I had no idea the film would garner such a prestige’s honor.

How did you first know that you wanted to become an actress? 

I first realized I wanted to pursue acting when I earned my first speaking role in 2017. Before that, I participated in a few plays, and I played an extra in a couple of films, but being able to showcase my talent in a film vocally inspired me to become an actress.

What was the first role you ever booked? 

The first role I ever booked was the role of Kate Williams in a short film called Believe. I was the best friend of the main character, who also helped him interact with Aliens.

Your film recently has been on a film festival circuit. What’s it like to go to the various film festivals? 

It’s super exciting. I received my first award at the I’m Ready movie premiere, and I was ecstatic. Watching your vision come to life is a sublime feeling, but also, being recognized for your work is awesome. Most awards were sent via mail or email due to COVID-19. I attended my first in-person film festival in March at the Garden State Film Festival, where I received “Best Student Short Film of 2021”. I was honored to receive such a high award.

What inspired you to make “I’m Ready”?

I wrote I’m Ready to promote open communication and honesty amongst teens and adults. I know some kids aren’t comfortable approaching their parents with certain topics, and some parents don’t know how to talk to their kids about some things. I’m Ready will serve as a bridge to get parents and teens comfortable talking to each other, especially about the topic of dating.

What was it like filming “I’m Ready”? What camera did you use?

Filming I’m Ready was an exciting and educating experience. Prior to filming I’m Ready, I’ve only acted on camera and written a book. Writing, directing, producing, and acting in I’m Ready allowed me to see life behind the camera. Since then, I’ve learned that I love directing and would like to direct more projects! 

Any advice to other young filmmaker?

Films start with a vision or an idea. You are the one who has to make it a reality, something tangible. The best way to do this is by being organized, persistent and seeing your art through.