VH1 Producer Jasmine Leyva Says "Artistry Over Industry"


Ben Russell

Ben Russell

·4 min read

With a Bachelor of Arts in TV, Film and Media and a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting, Jasmine C. Leyva has worked as an associate producer on a NAACP winning docuseries entitled Unsung, and shortly after, was given the opportunity to write and produce on Being, a docuseries highlighting dynamic entertainers in film and music. Aside from working on a court show, casting for Food Network shows and starring in national commercials, Leyva has taught screenwriting at the university level and has won multiple screenwriting awards.

Jasmine and Kenny Leyva produced their own feature length documentary, The Invisible Vegan, a film that chronicles Jasmine’s personal experience with plant-based eating. The film also explains how plant-based eating is directly linked to African roots and how African-American eating habits have been debased by a chain of oppression stemming from slavery, economics and modern agribusiness.

She is currently on VH1’s Behind The Music producing team while independently producing a documentary about disordered eating in communities of color. Not to sound pedestrian, but the sky is the limit and her evolution will be televised!

What are you working on right now? Anything cool?
I am currently on VH1’s Behind the Music’s producing team, I just shot a commercial for VolksWagen, and I am working independently on a food documentary about eating disorders among people of color.

What’s your favorite TV show of 2021?
I am actually watching “Mash” at the moment. It’s definitely not 2020, but I’m loving it.

If you could work/be on any show, what show would that be?
I would love to star in any HBO original show no matter the genre, from “I May Destroy You” to “Raised By Wolves.” They have a knack for creating cool characters and interesting universes.

What advice do you have for others looking to break into the industry?
I would say focus on being an artist. Every industry professional will give you a different list of things you need to do to break into the industry and by the time you have finished reading their book list, watching their movie list, taking their suggested classes, sending their suggested emails, you don’t have a body of work and you’re not doing the one thing you set out to do. So I would say never lose sight of your actual dream. If you want to be an actor, make sure you're acting even if it’s on your instagram or a student film.

What’s one insider tip to success you’d give for others in 2021?
The industry can have a very cold spirit, a racist spirit, a work-you-to-the-bone spirit. Don’t let those negative spirits shape you in any way and don’t catch the ego flu. Approach your career with love and compassion. Hollywood already has too many a--holes.