Youngstown native reflects on acting journey and new TV role

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“Youngstown made me who I am," said Naté Jones, who will play Shon Shon in the FX show "Snowfall"

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In 2008, at just 18 years old, Naté Jones made a decision that would change the course of her life forever.

Growing up in Youngstown, Jones always knew she would be destined for something great. Now with a role on a major television show, she gets to live out that dream.

“I was so ready to grow up, and be on my own and show my mom and my parents and my family, that, like, I could do it,” Jones said.

So right after high school, Jones decided it was time to pack up and move to New York. She wanted to pursue her career as an actress and that she did.

She said growing up in Youngstown gave her the strength and resilience she needed to achieve her dreams.

“Youngstown made me who I am. It gave me my hustle, it gave me my sass,” she said.

Jones grew up on the east side of the city. For some time, she lived in the Victory Estate projects and also on Stewart Street.

“Being from Youngstown definitely gave me my drive, it gave me my sense of groundedness, and who I am and where I come from. And it gave me this sense of, like, not being ashamed of where I come from either, you know?” she said.

After roughly nine years in NYC, Jones made another tough choice — but it would impact her life in a major way.

Once again, she packed up. This time, moving to Los Angeles, California two years ago.

She said it wasn’t easy. She missed big moments with her family and friends back home, but she was determined.

Then earlier this year, she was cast in her first major on-television role.

She auditioned for the role of Shon Shon in the FX show “Snowfall” in February. A few weeks later, she was told she got the part.

Jones said she feels like she can relate to her character on the show because they both come from similar backgrounds.

“For me to play a character where, she’s so similar to who I am and where I come from, is kind of, like, it’s a dream come true,” she said.

Jones said she plans to continue working in TV, as well as theater.

She said she also has plans to come back home to Youngstown and one day open a women’s mentorship program here.

But she always holds close the city that she calls home.

“I understand that you can become a product of your environment but the mind is so powerful, the mind is so powerful…and I’m so grateful to be from where I’m from because it gave me all the tools that I need, and needed and are going to need to even go where I’m going,” she said.

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