Alumna earns Creative Arts Emmy for outstanding casting for a reality TV show

Jazzy Collins ’14, CSA, made history on Sunday when she became the first Black person to be recognized with the Creative Arts Emmy for outstanding casting for a reality program for her work on “The Traitors,” which streams on Peacock. She is an alumna of the School of Communications' film, television and media arts degree program.

“I am feeling so honored and so grateful for the opportunity alone,” said Collins, who was nominated for the award for the second consecutive year after earning a nomination for her work on ‘Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.’ “I am so thankful for the opportunity to work with such amazing people. I had such an amazing team, and Peacock has been such an amazing network to work for.”

In addition to her work on “The Traitors” and “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” Collins has worked on several hit reality shows: “The Circle” on Netflix; “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” on ABC; “Family or Fiancé” on OWN; and “Love Island” on CBS.

She is a leading voice in calling for diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry, with her work published in Deadline, E! News and ET Canada.

She credits one of her former Quinnipiac professors in particular with helping her launch her award-winning career.

“One of my favorite professors that I got to work with at Quinnipiac is Raymond Foery,” she said. “To this day, I still connect with him on social media. He was someone who pushed me outside my comfort zone, asked the questions that people are afraid to ask. That really drove me to be who I am today.”

Because of Foery, professor emeritus in the School of Communications, she said she asks the hard-hitting questions and represents individuals who are not traditionally represented in popular media.

“I ask myself ‘Who is someone who will make an impact at the end of the day,’ and that is what I aim to do,” she said. “I make sure we put people on screen who haven’t had the opportunity to do that in reality casting, and we also give people the chance to tell a story that we may not have been able to see. We have had a person who was nonbinary on the show and you don’t see that on reality TV. We really make sure that when we cast, we cast respectfully, and we make sure we cast in a way that showcases diversity.”

Being able to include diversity when it comes to race, sexuality and gender should be celebrated, she said, adding she feels grateful to been able to play a role in casting those individuals.

Collins shared the award with Erin Tomasello, CSA; Moira Paris; and Holly Osifat. Collins worked with them on “The Traitors.”

“I consume a lot of reality shows,” Collins said. “Something that has always been missing in unscripted television was the diversity aspect of being able to see folks like myself on screen. I made that my mission to make sure I can see more people who normally don’t have the opportunity to be seen — and tell those stories that don’t usually get to be told.”

Collins said she made the conscious decision to work on shows that she could make an impact. Through her work, she was able to cast the first Black, deaf contestant on the “The Circle,” and work on Lizzo’s television show which was a cast of full-figured women.

“I am constantly trying to push the envelope and trying to get those stories to be seen,” she said. “I just keep trying to do things that I am proud of, and I want my daughter to be proud of the work I am doing. She keeps me motivated. My husband, Shane, (whom she met at Quinnipiac) keeps me motivated. And my family keeps me motivated.”

Collins urges current and future students to take risks.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” she said. “There’s a lot of pressure, especially in the younger generation, to be perfect all the time, whether it’s looks or your job or whatever it is, and it’s OK to fail. Once I learned that it’s OK to fail and you have to try, and that maybe that one misstep can end up surprising you, you can really push yourself and go far.”

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