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An Interview with Jaimie Alexander (Jessi XX, Kyle XY)

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An Interview with Jaimie Alexander (Jessi XX, Kyle XY)
June, 2007

In high school sports, there aren't many girls who have the guts or the talent to pursue a spot on a sports team usually comprised mainly of boys. Jaimie Alexander knew she had the talent and pursued and won a spot on her high school wrestling team, achieving something not many girls would dare to attempt. From the wrestling mat to the sound stage, when Jaimie has a goal, she goes after it heart and soul.

I had the good fortune to chat with Jaimie about her new role on ABC Family's hit series Kyle XY. This beautiful and engaging actress couldn't be more excited about her new role as the mysterious Jessi XX, a character designed to be the polar opposite of her counterpart, Kyle XY. Stay tuned folks; this character promises to take this series to new and exciting heights!

Q: When did you decide to pursue acting?

Jaimie:
"It was something that came up as spur of the moment when I was 18. A man who is now my manager told me I should do it and I thought well, I've got four brothers, I'm the last in line to go to college, so I thought why not? I drove out to L.A. after I graduated high school and went for it. I was so naive, which pretty much enabled me to do that, because if I knew what was it was like waiting in L.A., I probably wouldn't have taken that risk. It worked out for the best."

Q: I understand you were on your high school wrestling team -- was the team mainly comprised of boys?

Jaimie:
"Yes. When I started out practicing, there were guys and we couldn't full on wrestle because you had to remain respectful of each other in the sense of....this is a girl and this is a guy and that doesn't fly, especially in Texas. When I was training, I trained with my younger brother Brady. I would wrestle some of my friends, who I had grown up with, which showed me some moves, but it was never a full on match. When I went to competitions, there were other girls, so I always wrestled girls. There was one time I wrestled two boys and I beat them both! They weighed a lot less than I did and I think they didn't want to hurt a girl, so I don't know if I really won -- I'd like to think I did."

Q: Did they give you a hard time about joining the team?

Jaimie:
"Yes, a very hard time. A friend of mine and his brother, who was a pro-wrestler, said why don't you guys have a girls team and I also thought maybe it was a way to get a scholarship to go to school. I thought if anybody could do it, I could and I jumped in and they hated it. Some of the coaches were ok with it because they had grown up in Iowa, where it was a popular sport for both men and women. We did have a coach who really despised us, and when we started winning tournaments and placing first, he started getting nicer. It was a bit of a struggle, but there were lots of lessons learned."

Q: You appeared in more than 50 episodes of the telenova Watch Over Me, did you find the shooting schedule difficult?

Jaimie:
"Yeah, that was one of the hardest things I've ever done. We had four different directors everyday and we had four different units, so they would cart us from one location to the next and we got about 28 pages a day. Normally, it's like 6 pages a day. It was pretty rough, we got one take for everything. It gave me a better understanding of how to work fast and be very prepared when you go up. I can memorize just about everything now."

Q: How did the role of Jessi XX come to you?

Jaimie:
"It was kind of an accident. Most of my good fortune in this business has been by chance, I call them happy accidents. I injured my neck really badly, and I had popped my top vertebrae to the right, so I went in with my head cocked to the left. I got a call that Wendy O'Brien wanted to see me for Kyle XY. I said I didn't know if I could play high school and my neck was so bad, I didn't think I could go in. My agent said to give it a shot. I went in and my neck, I couldn't move it and the producers thought it was hilarious. I kept going in to read for them and by the screen test, my neck had gone upright. It didn't bother me in the audition because when I walked in there, I told them I was injured. The more and more I played Jessi, I started to realize she was a little socially awkward and has some things about her that normal teenagers struggle with. The whole role was definitely by chance."

Q: What can you tell us about Jessi?

Jaimie:
"She's the darker side of the XX/XY. Kyle's very light and sees the best in people and she's the opposite. The question lies in, was she born that way or is it her surroundings? And that's huge because it's universal. Was she born into being so dark and hostile or is it the way she just is? She was born in a fiery explosion, whereas Kyle woke up in sunshine and was taken in by the Trager family. Jessi is a little verbally abused, very mistreated, and manhandled very badly. You definitely feel for this character because you can't tell if she's really dark or if it's because all these people are so hurtful towards her. She has no control over her own life. She definitely has some of the same abilities Kyle has, if not darker. She's made to cause destruction, whereas Kyle rejected that when he was in the pod."

Q: Do you think she'll be a possible love interest for Kyle down the road?

Jaimie:
"I think there's a possibility of that."

Q: Do you have any projects in the works once you're finished shooting Kyle XY?

Jaimie:
"Yes, I do. I'm in talks to do Rest Stop 2 with Warner Brothers. It'll answer a lot of questions from the first movie. I would film that over my hiatus."

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