U.S.

Meet Kevin Miles, also known as Jake from State Farm

After appearing in shows like "Criminal Minds" and "S.W.A.T.," Miles says he isn't concerned about only working in commercials now.

Kevin Miles as Jake from State Farm in a commercial.
State Farm
SMS

You’ve seen him rubbing elbows with celebrities and NFL players on TV, and you’ve also seen him acting like the good neighbor he is — even when haunted mansions are involved. But does Jake from State Farm really work at State Farm Insurance?

Well, no. He’s an actor. The current Jake from State Farm is actually Kevin Miles (born Mimm). He started in the theater world and was able to get a few minor acting credits (like small appearances in “Criminal Minds” and “S.W.A.T.”) under his belt before receiving his big break as the new State Farm spokesman. He won the role in 2020 at an audition in Los Angeles.

But given how often he pops up on our TV screens, he’s starting to feel like he’s our actual neighbor. No doubt the company’s taken advantage of that “boy next store” vibe in this commercial:

Part of his appeal is that he plays the character straight.

“I come from a theater background anyway, so doing Jake, it’s so close to me,” he told the “Dan Patrick Show” in 2021. “I’m not trying to play a caricature of anything, I’m just trying to make it where it’s me always talking to my best friend or my family member.”

And Miles isn’t concerned about only working in commercials. Instead, he considers this a learning opportunity.

“And I think from there I can put that into other roles as well as when I grow as an actor, and I really kind of mold myself and get better,” he told the syndicated radio and TV show. “Just on film, I think I’ll be able to branch out and do the works that I love or want to pursue at the time. I think it’s actually more of a stepping stone.”

But he’s certainly not downplaying the perks of playing Jake. He’s filmed a couple of commercials with NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, including one for the 2021 Super Bowl. In that clip, Paul Rudd plays Mahomes’ stand-in, while Drake plays a stand-in for Jake. When Drake refers to himself as “Drake from State Farm,” the always-genial Jake gets to deliver the commercial’s punchline: “Hey, stand-ins don’t have lines.”

And after appearing in another football-related ad — with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (aka Taylor Swift’s rumored boyfriend) — he seems to have befriended the whole Kelce family, including Travis’ brother Jason, who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. He even posted about sitting with their mother, Donna, while watching Jason play:

The truth is, Miles’ social media presence (at @jakefromstatefarm) is very intentional, as it’s helping to drive interest in the State Farm brand. For example, he’s filled his Instagram with posts of himself with his newfound football pals. And when he reached 1 million TikTok followers, the company put out a press release cheering him on as an engaging “cultural figure.”

“Jake from State Farm has been an incredible asset to connect us with Gen Z and Millennial audiences,” Alyson Griffin, State Farm marketing vice president, said in the press release.

The original Jake from State Farm

With all the hoopla around this particular Jake, it’s easy to forget that Miles isn’t the first “Jake from State Farm” to capture the nation’s attention. But the original Jake had his own viral moment, in a commercial featuring a man whose wife thought he was cheating on him with the insurance guy, Jake from State Farm.

This Jake actually was a State Farm employee named Jake Stone, and his funny line about wearing khakis became an iconic joke on the internet. Stone was hired for the commercial after an internal audition within the company. He eventually left his desk job there and became a bartender at a bar called Pub II in Normal, Illinois. He and his wife have two children, and according to The Pantagraph, he still likes to wear khakis.

This story was originally published by Jennifer Graham Kizer at Simplemost.com.