Garden Grove eighth-grader voices lead role in Nickelodeon’s ‘Bossy Bear’

Middle schoolers at Irvine Intermediate School may know Jayden Ham as an eighth-grader who enjoys creating pixelated animations and taking science, technology, engineering, art and math, or STEAM classes. 

Now, hundreds of thousands of Nickelodeon viewers are getting to know him as the voice of “Bossy Bear.”

Jayden, a Garden Grove Unified student, plays the titular character in Nickelodeon’s new animated preschool series about an extroverted blue bear named Bossy and his introverted best friend, Turtle, as they team up to navigate lighthearted childhood adventures in their Koreatown-inspired city called Pleasantburg. The 30-episode series, based on a popular children’s book, will air new episodes through the end of March on Nick Jr. from Monday through Thursday at 11 a.m.

The young actor said he relates to his character in “Bossy Bear” because of the fun and energetic qualities they share. Jayden’s previous acting credits include a short film called “Sea of Lights” and a guest appearance in an episode of the Netflix show “Making Fun.”

After landing the leading role, Jayden began production along with the rest of the cast and crew in October 2021 — all while attending to his schoolwork before and after tapings. On a typical day of filming, he gets out of school at 2:20 p.m. then records his sessions via Zoom from 3 to 5 p.m., ending the night with homework.

(Courtesy of Nick Jr.)

Receiving good grades and keeping up with his schoolwork is the 13-year-old’s No. 1 priority while he pursues his dreams. Every six months, he has to make sure his academic performance meets requirements so his principal can sign off on his worker’s permit and it can be renewed by the state.

As an honor roll student, he said his mother taught him the value of working hard and doing your best no matter what, which pushes him to complete his school assignments and strive for good grades.

“Jayden is a dedicated and energetic student who thrives in challenging courses,” said Irvine Intermediate School Principal Holly Jefferson. “His commitment to his school work as well as his acting endeavors is admirable. He is driven to do his best in everything he does. We are proud of all that he has achieved and are confident that he has a bright future ahead of him.”

In between taping and going to classes, Jayden attends the after-school program at the Garden Grove Boys & Girls Club, where he finishes his homework and works on fun projects with his friends. He was nominated in 2019 for the Boys & Girls Club “Youth of the Year” due to his commitment, leadership and dedication to service.

Jayden, who has been acting since the age of 7, said he is so grateful for the opportunity to work with and be supported by the “Bossy Bear” team. His main piece of advice for students is to never give up on their dreams.

“I have heard over 200 nos but it’s okay,” Jayden said. “I knew some day I would get a yes and that is all it takes. If you love what you do, just keep going.”