Jayma Mays is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Emma Pilsbury on FOX's "Glee," but has also starred in films such as "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and the live-action "The Smurfs" films.
Jayma Suzette Mays was born in Bristol, Tennessee on July 16, 1979. The youngest child of three, she spent her childhood years in Grundy, Virginia, where she would eventually go on to attend Grundy Senior High School, the same school her father taught at before moving into the coal-mining industry for 25 years before his retirement. As a child, Jayma was most interested in the subjects of mathematics and singing. That is, before she eventually went on to earn an associate's degree at Southwest Virginia Community College and then a degree in theater from Radford University in the year 2000.
Upon graduating college, Jayma moved to California as most aspiring actors do. From there, she took an apprenticeship with B-Street Theatre in Sacramento, California before moving on to the Knightsbridge Theatre Company in Los Angeles, where she acted in stage plays for roughly three years. In 2004, she landed her first onscreen television show on the "Friends" spin-off, "Joey," before eventually working her way up to the feature film, "Red Eye" in 2005. From there, opportunities continued to present themselves to the striking young actress.
After continuing to play guest roles on series such as "Entourage" and "House M.D.," Jayma was able to book a recurring role on the popular NBC series, "Heroes," before scoring another major gig on ABC's "Ugly Betty" a year later. From there, her star only continued to rise until she was cast as Emma Pillsbury on FOX's "Glee," a role that would shoot her off into superstardom. Ever since, she has continued to land steady work in television and film, with movies such as "The Smurfs" films and TV shows like "How I Met Your Mother," "The League," and "The Millers" being standouts.