Long before she battled monsters both human and also otherworldly on HBO"s "Lovecraft Country," the Emmy nominee was obtaining laughs from a studio audience as tiny Denise Frazer on the alphabet series.

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Lori Loughlin, Jurnee Smollett, Mary-Kate/Ashley Olsen in complete House.Walt Disney tv via Getty images Photo Archives/Walt Disney television via Getty Images

Long before she battled monsters both human and also otherworldly as Letitia Lewis on HBO’s Lovecraft Country — a rotate that earned her an Emmy nomination because that lead actress in a drama this year — Jurnee Smollett was obtaining laughs native a studio audience as little Denise Frazer top top ABC’s Full House.

Born into a family of performers (she and also her 5 siblings, Jussie, Jazz, Jojo, Jocqui and also Jake, played fictionalized versions of us on the short-lived 1994 abc sitcom On ours Own), Smollett was a organic in front of the camera, booking modeling gigs at simply 10 months old. In 1992, at age 4, she score a recurring part on the fifth season of the hit sitcom around a widower (Bob Saget) elevating his three daughters through the aid of his brother-in-law (John Stamos) and also best friend (Dave Coulier).

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In July 1998, THR reported that Smollett booked a series regular function on Cosby.The Hollywood Reporter

“I mental the emotion of performing in prior of a live audience, and also being able come feed off of them,” Smollett says. “There the action-reaction cycle the happens once you room in prior of a live audience, and also ‘Oh, if I perform this, this makes them laugh.’ It to be such an excellent training for me since it really offered me confidence and also freedom.” She vividly recalls shoot her an initial scene, in i beg your pardon she uses Michelle Tanner (played in tandem by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) a sandwich together a gesture that friendship. “The audience applauded as I go in front of them and also I gave them a peace sign,” she states with a laugh. “In my head, the was mine inner Janet Jackson moment.”

That moment can not have come if she mother, Janet, hadn’t propelled for she to audition because that the role, i m sorry was originally written because that a white girl. Perhaps that’s why Smollett is still well-known now indigenous her very first TV gig. “There’s a generation that young girls, ladies of color, who have repeatedly expressed to me didn’t see many young brown girls, young black color girls ~ above TV throughout that time. Farming up with picture of a girl whose hair was curly, you know, it had actually an influence on them,” she says. “I’m appreciative of and grateful for that.”

This story first appeared in a august stand-alone worry of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To obtain the magazine, click below to subscribe.