Chilled discovers TV star JT Neal’s role models and how they sparked a fire that would lead to an endless push toward his passion. 

From small school plays to roles in Disney, Netflix and Sony productions, JT does it all while simultaneously taking time to support those who are less fortunate.

JT Neal was raised by parents who embraced both film and music. By the age of 12, he decided to embody what his family held dearest and booked a role in a one-act play for his school. He rapidly fell in love with acting and made no hesitation in the pursuit of his passion. After extensive research with his mother, they found an optimal place for him to hone his skills. It was none other than Dallas’ prestigious Booker T. Washington High School for The Performing and Visual Arts. The distance between the school and his home called for countless hours of travel. An award for his persistent effort came in a role for the Disney TV series, Labrats, where he loved being on set.

Chillin' with JT Neal

Chillin’ with JT Neal

Photo by F. Scott Schafer

After his move to Los Angeles in 2014, Neal landed three new positions. This work included Netflix teen movie Malibu Rescue; Netflix film Sierra Burgess is a Loser; and the Sony romantic drama Life in a Year featuring Jaden Smith and Cara Delevingne. In the present day, Neal can be found as the handsome farm boy, Jacob, when season two of the comedy series Bless This Mess returns to ABC. Neal accredits his success to his parents who instilled in him the belief that he could achieve his wildest dreams. Off-screen, Neal has volunteered every week for the past two years with the charity Share a Meal, which helps to feed the hungry in LA. Chilled spoke with Neal to find out his drink-of-choice and chat about his fascination with bartending.

Tell us a bit about the projects you are working on.

Right now, all my focus is on Bless This Mess season two. We’re doing thirteen episodes this season, which is more than twice what we did for season one. So we’ll be shooting all the way into December. We air in less than a week, so everyone is really on top of their game in order to make all our deadlines!

With your busy schedule, what do you like to do with your downtime?

I love any excuse to hang out with my friends. My girlfriend and I host movie nights at our house whenever we have a free night. That’s my favorite. Most of my hobbies are solitary activities, so it’s always fun to change things up and get a group together.

Chillin' with JT Neal

Chillin’ with JT Neal

Photo by F. Scott Schafer

When you go out to eat, where do you like to dine?

I like to think I have a pretty eclectic taste in food. I really love Korean barbecue, dim sum and Brazilian food. I cycle through those restaurants a lot. We have quite a few options near where I live, so I tend go out often.

What types of dishes do you usually order?

I generally try to keep my meals healthy, but there are definitely places and dishes that I will indulge in. I love anything fried or smothered in cheese. I think that’s the Texan in me! I’ve also never met a pasta I didn’t like.

Do you cook?

I cook all the time! I love to cook. My girlfriend is from a big Italian family, and cooking is important to her as well. Some of my favorite nights are the ones where we just cook at home and watch a movie. There is something so special about making your own meals. It feels more personal and it always tastes better.

What types of drinks do you order when out?

I really love plain ginger beer. I always have a bottle of Fever-Tree in my fridge, so I’ll just pour that over some ice and I’m good to go. I have never had an alcoholic drink in my life, but one of my best friends is a bartender. I go see him at work often, and he’ll have a ginger beer there for me before I even sit down.

Do you prepare drinks at home?

I wouldn’t even know where to begin to prepare a drink! It is kind of fascinating though to watch someone who knows what they’re doing prepare drinks. I can pour a glass of wine for someone. That’s about it!

Do you own a home bar?

I don’t own a home bar, but we do have a small wine fridge. Like I said, my girlfriend is Italian and loves her Chianti, so it is put to good use! My personal “home bar” is just a bunch of energy drinks because I have a caffeine problem.

Have you ever been a bartender?

I have never been a bartender, but I love to go visit my buddy at work and watch him do it. It’s nuts! He’s flipping glasses and spinning bottles and it’s amazing. It definitely takes way more coordination to be a bartender than I think I possess.

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