Interviewed by Kate Anderson-Song
Hello Overachievers! My name is Jacky Lai and I play Kaylee Vo in the new Netflix series V Wars.
Have you always known what you want to pursue?
I’ve always been creative but I never would have thought to pursue the arts for a living, which was why I attended Business School. It took me a long time to find the courage to pursue acting.
Who do you look up to?
There are so many people that I draw inspiration from but to name a few off the top of my list, I’d have to say Oprah and Ava DuVernay. I had a chance to meet them and have stayed a fan of theirs since. They are modern day heroes, such strong, beautiful women who pioneer change and hope for all but especially for women in education and the arts.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
“You are beautiful and you are loved.” I think I really needed to hear that as a kid, I was really insecure and had this desperate need for love and attention. I think a lack of confidence really stunted my growth, which is why I’m such an advocate for love and acceptance. We should compliment each other more, listen better, ask questions, because when people feel seen and heard they can really change the world.
What is your go-to coffee shop order?
Doppio espresso on ice with three pumps white mocha. I love it because it reminds me of a Vietnamese coffee and it’s cheaper when you order it that way then top it off with some milk or cream if I’m feeling spoiled.
How has your experience as an Asian actress in the industry been? Do you have any advice for aspiring Asian performers?
I’ve had a great experience with the industry as an Asian actress. The opportunities have definitely broadened and the quality of roles and respect for Asian actors has grown exponentially. My advice would be to forget trying to do it “right.” I think we can fall into the trap of people pleasing and we forget the people on the other side (casting directors, directors, producers etc.) don’t really know what they’re looking for. Sometimes they do but often times they’re waiting for you to show them. Look for the “ah-ha” moments, what you understand about the character. and tell the story with those words. It’s not about getting your lines right or crying on cue.
How did you become involved in “V Wars”?
I was offered the audition while shooting Shadowhunters and sent a tape in from Toronto. That’s when I first heard of the series. After a call from the creators, I bought all the comics and began my research.
What was the best part of working on the show?
The entire experience! I learned so much working on V Wars. It was my first lead in a series and I was wide eyed, nervous, and excited – and I got to work with really great people.
What is your favorite Vampire story (other than “V Wars,” of course!)?
I grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I’d have to say that’s one of my favourite vampire stories.
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment – either personal or work-related?
Following my dreams would have to be one of my biggest accomplishments. I have given up a lot and have worked really hard to be in the ring. I’m only beginning and am so excited to keep growing.
What is next for you?
I want to wear the writer, director, and producer hat so I’m making plans and goals to achieve that within the next year or two.
Jacky Lai is a Canadian actress who is known for her work in Shadowhunters (2016), Fall Back Down (2019), and more. Most recently, she can be seen starring in the new Netflix series, V Wars, as Kaylee Vo. You can keep up with Jacky Lai @hijackylai on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Kate Anderson-Song is on the editorial team at Overachiever Magazine. She is a NYC-based writer, artist, and performer, with a background in cinema studies from New York University. You can find Kate on Instagram @k8andersonsong and @thek8pages, and you can find more of her work (and tons of other great stuff) here at Overachiever Magazine.