Bel-Air features a variety of characters from Fresh Prince, including members of the Banks family who take Will Smith (Jabari Banks) in after his stay in Philadelphia. One of Smith’s closest family members is his cousin Hilary (Jones). Prior to his starring role in Bel-Air, Jones starred in Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie.
When the call came in to audition for “Bel-Air,” Jones revealed to Elle that she was reluctant to audition for the aspiring Hilary because she felt she didn’t fit the celebrity mold. “It was [one of many] Projects sent by my team that they [really] I thought I should audition,” Jones said. “I didn’t think I should. I thought they didn’t want me [Hilary]. I assumed I wasn’t what they were looking for. Only limiting beliefs.”
Instead, the actor wanted to try his hand at Ashley, the youngest member of the Banks family. “I actually asked my acting manager [if I] could audition for Ashley. And he said, “Ashley’s 12.” So me [auditioned for Hilary]and then talked to Morgan [Cooper]’ Jones said. The actor went on to talk about how Cooper encouraged her to mold Hilary the way she saw fit and make her more like her. Jones then went on to audition as Hilary with a more personal touch for the role maybe a week and a half after that.” Jones eventually took a gamble that paid huge dividends. Meanwhile, Ashley Banks’ role eventually went to Akira Akbar.