Jake from State Farm has become an advertisement mainstay — and with Kevin Miles behind the character, he’s still going strong. Miles landed the Jake From State Farm role in 2020 when the company decided to make a casting change. So who is actor Kevin Miles and how did he wind up portraying State Farm’s khaki-sporting salesman?
‘Jake from State Farm’ has always loved acting
Jake from State Farm has been around since 2011, and Chicago-native Kevin Miles landed himself the role in 2020. While Jake might be new Miles, acting isn’t.
In fact, according to Forbes, Miles has been interested in acting since he was only 9 years old. His father was the first one to notice his son’s interest in the career.
“You’re watching all these shows on TV of these people doing all these cool things and you want to be them. And as an actor, you can be anything,” Miles’ father told him.
Miles says his first time on stage was a production of Romeo and Juliet. Apparently the feeling of being on stage was a powerful experience for him.
“So, I got to play Lord Capulet. It was my first time on-stage and I just remember feeling like I was Marlon Brando in The Godfather up there. The reaction was great and I saw endless opportunities to be an actor,” he said.
He slept in his car before the Jake From State Farm commercial
After Kevin Miles finished his education at Webster University’s Conservatory of Theater Arts, he was intent on pursuing his acting career. However, he wasn’t sure on whether to head to Los Angeles or New York next. Things were about to get tougher before Miles landed the role as Jake From State Farm.
“I was confused whether I wanted to go to LA or New York or I should stay in Chicago, my hometown, and save up money and build some credits there,” he explained.
Eventually, Miles settled on Los Angeles — but he did so without a place to live, and wound up sleeping in his car for a while.
“The thing that I wanted was just to come to LA. So, I got that one-way ticket. My mom came with me and helped me get this old used Mustang and she left the next day. I didn’t have an apartment. I came with two bags and a pillow,” said Miles.
Miles eventually got his big break by applying to casting calls relentlessly. He revealed that he tested well with almost every focus group.
“In the focus groups, I always tested as number one except for maybe one [group]. The CMO of State Farm Rand [Harbert], he’s a great dude but he let me know, ‘I was not looking for you. I was definitely looking for the original Jake. It was my wife that saw your callback sheet and said ‘That’s your Jake’ immediately.’”
What happened to the original Jake From State Farm?
Some fans of the original Jake From State Farm may be sad to see the actor go, but it’s hard to deny that Kevin Miles has done a great job filling his shoes.
State Farm assistant vice president Patty Morris revealed that it was time to change actors in large part because the role called for a professional, which the original Jake From State Farm, Jake Stone, was not.
“[Stone] did great at delivering his famous line, ‘Uh…khakis.’ However, this expanded role is very demanding and is best filled by a professional actor,” she told Marketing Daily.