Jaimie Alexander, who plays Jessi XX on ABC Family’s Kyle XY, is an up-and-coming talent. Alexander has only been in Hollywood for a few years, yet has been featured in various commercials, television series, and films. Coming from Texas, Alexander’s trip to Hollywood was a happy fluke and her role as Jessi XX is a big step on Jaimie’s way to big things in the entertainment world. Jaimie stopped by BuddyTV last week to discuss her career beginnings, her pivotal role as Jessi XX on Kyle XY, and what she’s got coming up in the future.
Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio of the interview.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in the acting world? Was it something you grew up wanting to do?
Yeah, actually it was kind of by accident. A friend of mine was really sick and she paid a scouting agency to do this like, little runway show . We were the same size, same height, I was just brunette. So I go to this runway show, they said, you know, “Do you have a monologue?” And I said, “What’s that?” And they laughed at me.
I got onstage and recited a commercial, and in the audience was my manager today. And he was actually there filling in for one of his wife’s friend, and he’s a pretty famous manager up here in L.A. That’s how that happened. I come from a family of five kids and I knew I was last up to go to college, and I said I’ll just try it, and it’s kind of been my thing ever since.
Nice, so you went straight to L.A. How was that starting off, moving to Hollywood? Were there any hard times? What was your first real gig out there?
Well, I started doing commercials right off the bat. But, they were few and far between, and my first gig was on a comedy called It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. So, actually I haven’t been acting for that long, I’m relatively new. But yeah, there really were a lot of hard times, I mean, lots of waiting tables, lots of bartending, lots of working three jobs a day, that sort of thing. But yeah, I mean as we speak I’m sitting in a makeup chair right now for this other shoot.
Sometihng you did recently was shoot 50-some odd episodes of a telenovela called Watch Over Me. Can you explain that whole thing for people who don’t know about it?
Fox wanted to branch out and try a novella, and they’re very popular in several other countries besides the U.S. And they thought, let’s do it, let’s put it on our new network called My Network TV which replaced UPN. So I got on the line, it was my first series and it was like a crash course in learning how to work fast. How to memorize lots of pages a day, and how to be on the ball. It was a really difficult project to work on.
There was lots of block shooting, which means you shoot one side of the scene and then you turn around much later in that day and shoot the other side. Performance-wise, it was really hard, but it really helped my work ethic, because it just, you know, made me work a lot harder than I thought I was going to be. It was fun, I mean, all the scripts were adapted from the Spanish scripts. So, sometimes we’d get speeches that we had to say where nothing makes sense. And it was, “Hold on, you guys just translated this!” But it was fun and the people I worked with I really enjoyed.
Can you tell us then how you ended up with the role of Jessi on Kyle XY?
Sure, well, it was a normal audition process. The lady who cast me in my first TV gig actually called me in for Kyle XY, so I trusted her and I said, “She must know that I can play a little younger than I am,” and all this other stuff. So I went and auditioned and right away they were like, “We want to screen test you,” and “We think you’re right for it.” Then I got it!
Did you know it was going to be such a major character right away?
I did know that she was going to be a big part of the show, but I wasn’t aware to what extent. And then now that I know, it’s just a lot of hard work, she’s capable of all kinds of crazy things. The role’s extremely difficult, probably the most physical out of the entire cast on the show.
Were you a fan of the show prior to auditioning?
I watched the first two episodes when they originally aired in season one, and I really liked it. I thought the show was so likable, and it just it made me happy. I kind of cried during the first one. Then I didn’t get to see it too much after that, because I was always working and my roommate owned the TiVo, so I didn’t get to pick which programs were TiVo’d, but I would kind of think, I just thought, you know, “Oh, I gotta work with this show, there’s something about this show that’s good.” And then, I got on it and I thought that was so odd, really bizarre.
Was it tough coming in and being the new girl on a cast that worked together for a full season before?
Yeah, it was a little tough at first. But really, they’re so accepting and they’re such a great bunch of people. And I mean, it wasn’t too hard, we always hang out on the weekends and have barbecues and things like that. It’s a really comfortable cast, I’m so grateful I got so lucky. I’ve heard the horror stories of new people being on shows and then the jealousy factor and all that stuff, but our show’s not like that at all.
You guys are up in Vancouver, right?
Do you like it up there? What’s the difference between that and Hollywood in your eyes?
I like it up there, it’s great ’cause you have the film industry up there and you can concentrate on your work and focus on your work. But you don’t have to worry about the “Hollywood” side of things, you know, Hollywood being in quotes. You don’t have to deal with the clubbing or the nightlife, certain things…the superficial side, I guess, of the business. Vancouver is not that way at all. So, it’s really nice, it’s kind of like having a normal life, but getting to have a really extraordinary job.
Can you tell us a little bit about what we’ll be seeing in upcoming episodes, especially of your character, on Kyle XY?
Oh yeah, sure. My character has lots of chances for confrontation with different characters on the show. There’s a lot of physical stuff coming up, lots of stunt work. I think starting around episode nine, I think people are really gonna be like, “Wow! This show has really upped its A game.” You know, lots of crazy things going on between Jessi and Kyle. I don’t know how much I can say without getting in trouble, so let’s leave it at that!
You’ve done a lot of sci-fi and horror projects. Is that a conscious choice for you? Are you a fan of the genre?
To be honest, I’ve always kind of liked that supernatural side of things. I have a great imagination, so I’m always thinking, “Oh, that could happen,” and stuff like that. But it’s really by chance that I got sucked into this sci-fi genre, and now it just seems…I think the thing is, I really like the whole superhero thing, and I really enjoy playing characters with special and unique abilities that wouldn’t happen in everyday life.
Is there anything coming up for you in the near future outside of Kyle XY that you’d like to talk about?
I’m in talks to do a sequel to Rest Stop. The second one will go to theaters and Warner Brothers is producing it. It’s going to be a whole different kind of movie, it’s very similar to… my character will be very similar to the Mad Max, Road Warrior type of character.
(Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl)
(Image Courtesy of IMDB)