Biographical / Historical
Jayma Mays is an American actress and singer. She is known for playing Emma Pillsbury on the Fox musical series Glee, her recurring role as Charlie Andrews on the NBC sci-fi serial Heroes, and for starring in the films Paul Blart: Mall Cop and The Smurfs.
In 2004, she made her first television appearance on Joey. The following year, she made her feature film debut with a supporting role in Red Eye. Mays' other credits include Six Feet Under, Stacked, How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, Pushing Daisies, The Comeback, Entourage, Ghost Whisperer, and Ugly Betty. Mays was in other movies, such as Bar Starz, Flags of Our Fathers and Blind Guy Driving. She was a patient on House in the episode "Sleeping Dogs Lie" in 2006. Mays has played the love interest of a character played by Masi Oka in two different roles: Charlie Andrews on Heroes and Nina in the direct-to-DVD film Get Smart's Bruce and Lloyd: Out of Control. She has also been cast as a love interest twice for Glee co-star Matthew Morrison; and in an unaired TV show called Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office.
She has also performed musical numbers on Glee including her solo performance of "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me" from The Rocky Horror Show during the themed episode "The Rocky Horror Glee Show"; which was also the song she had sung for her audition for the role. She also played the role of Charlotte, Henry Grubstick's ex-girlfriend on Ugly Betty. In August 2014, Mays helped to raise awareness of the disease ALS by participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge. She also appeared in the music video for Switchfoot's single "Awakening". From October 2013 until November 2014, she played the role of Debbie on the sitcom The Millers. Since March 2017 she has been starring as prosecutor Carol Anne Keane in the NBC sitcom Trial & Error.
Mays was born in Bristol, Tennessee and raised in Grundy, Virginia, the daughter of Susan Paulette (née Norris) and James Edwin Mays, a high school teacher who also worked in the coal mining industry. At age 15, she was offered a job working on the local radio station reading the obituaries. After graduating from Grundy High School, she earned an associate degree from Southwest Virginia Community College. Mays then attended Virginia Tech for a year before transferring to Radford University.