Interview with Malaika Jackson
(photos via Promotion People)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
"My name is Malaika Jackson. Malaïka (mah-like-ah) is a Swahili name which means angel. I’m humbled to say that I was the former Miss Caribbean Canada, Former MTV Canada host and now full-time professional actor. I’m originally from the city of Toronto but I now reside in the beautiful city of Vancouver with my architect husband and two beautiful little boys who are 1,5 and 4 years old."
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
"My first ever job was a model when I was 16 years old. Originally, I was a super short kid – standing at only 5’4 at 13 years old. Within three short years, I grew 5 inches in high school and stood at 5’9. After my braces came off, my mom took me to see a modeling agent who signed me up in her agency. I started taking classes to learn how to walk on a catwalk and delved in other model/media training workshops. I did a couple of commercials in high school. However, the job I did before modeling was actually working at McDonald's. It was my very first job when I was 15 years old and I was super excited when I landed the position... (laughs)
3. Did you study acting before getting into the industry?
"No, I never studied acting in school or at anything. I was actually on route to pursuing law. However, when when I was 17, a pageant organizer scouted me at a local McDonald’s and asked me to enter into a beauty pageant. After some nudging from the pageant organizer and my mom, I decided to enter it. To my surprise, I ended up winning the pageant and being crowned Miss Caribbean Canada. Winning the competition gave me a lot of confidence and belief in myself. A few years later, while visiting my sister in Vancouver, I was approached by the Supervising Producer of MTV Canada who ultimately told me to audition for the show. Soon after I auditioned for the show (called 969) and got the job on the spot. I worked for the show for two years. That’s when I truly realized my love for world of cameras and entertainment. It was the media experiences throughout my life that led me to the world of acting, which I’m now successfully pursuing on a full-time level."
4. If you could work with anyone you would want,
who would that person be and why?
"That’s an easy one! I would love to work with my most favorite actor ever, Viola Davis. I first was enamored with her when I saw her performance in “How to get Away with Murder.” I loved how she portrayed the character of Annalise Keating, a successful, beautiful and genius lawyer. She is one of the most amazing and talented actors I have ever seen in my life. She is a mastermind who has mastered her craft and I would be humbled and honored to work with her as an actor. That’s definitely one of my goals! Viola if you happen to see this article please make my dream come true and give me a shot!...(laughs)
5. What does a normal day in your life looks like?
"Very busy, madness, actually. I swear there is not enough hours in the day. First, I get my boys off to daycare then I go to the gym for an hour or so and get in a good work out. I usually got to auditions after the gym. If there are no auditions, I’m working in my office and mentoring young women who want to get into the entertainment industry or need advice. If I I’m not mentoring them, I’m working in my office or taking business calls. I work from home so its convenient because I can simultaneously get laundry and cooking down for my family all before everyone comes home around 5 pm. After that, I spend time with the little ones, put the boys to bed, then study whatever lines I have for an auditions the next day. After I study my lines I hang out with my best friend, my hubby. It’s a JAM-PACKED day but I couldn’t be happier. I LOVE my life!
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
"That’s an easy one! In the Caribbean, preferably where my dad lives in the beautiful island of St.Vincent and the Grenadines. My parents separated when I was young and I used to go visit my dad every summer. We lived 5 mins away from the beach. St.Vincent is a beautiful jewel in the Caribbean which not a lot of people know about. That’s what makes it so cool to me. It’s very mountainous, there’s a volcano there, which I’ve climbed several times. St.Vincent has many different islands, in total there are 32. Some of the islands are inhabited, while some are not. There is nothing like sailing from one island to the next in one day, while swimming with huge turtles in the water and watching dolphins jump out of the water from your boat. I’m not exaggerating. This is all true. It’s simply heaven!"
7. If you could, what would be the one advice
you would want to give to your younger self?
"I would tell myself that self-love is so important. Take the time through out the day to give yourself self-affirmations, affirm your confidence and your worth and tell yourself how much you love YOU! At the end of the day, you will have to face the world, sometimes alone! People in the world will try over and over to break you down and shatter your dreams because they are too afraid to have dreams of their own so you need to make sure you have a strong foundation with yourself first!"
8. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
"My mom is an very wise, strong and knowledgeable woman with an incredible amount of life experience. She told me two sound pieces of advice that have always stayed with me through out my life. The first one was: Don’t let anyone’s opinion of you become your reality. The second one was: What people think of you is actually none of your business. Both pieces of advice sum up the fact that you can hear what people have to say about you but never internalize any information about yourself that doesn’t serve you! My mom is the smartest woman in the world to me!"
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
"I have done many things that people might deem as accomplished. I was a beauty queen at 17, an MTV Canada host at 21. I’ve done over 50 commercials and have now bridged into a very successful film/tv acting career. I have an Honours Degree in Communications, which have made my parents very proud. However, none of these accomplishments amount to the feeling I got when I became a mother. Experiencing motherhood and having my two boys genuinely brought me the most happiness I’ve ever felt in my entire life. You can have many things people deem to be important in life like: success, fame, money etc. but if you are not truly happy deep down within then none of any that stuff really matters. Being happily married and having a family has brought me genuine joy, inner happiness and true elation. Having a family has and will always be my greatest accomplishment in life!"
10. If you could book any role in the next years to come,
what would that dream role be?
"Wow! What a great question... I describe myself as a super friendly person with high energy but my dream role would be to play a charming villain, kind of like the Joker played by Heath Ledger in the movie The Dark Knight, a character who is bad but you love them at the same time. I would love to play a role like that!"
11. You are in the new Netflix series, The Baby Sitter’s Club.
Is there anything you can disclose about the new project?
"The Baby-Sitters Club is an upcoming American web television series based off Ann M. Martin's children's novel series of the same name. It is a reboot of the 1990 HBO television series and follows the friendship and adventures of five middle-schoolers as they start a homegrown babysitting business in Stoneybrook, Connecticut. I play an outspoken neighbourhood parent named Mrs. Papadakis… I know, cool name, right? (laughs) In a bid to keep the TV version as timely as possible, episodes will cover topics such as divorce, racism and belonging.
12. What is the best part about life on set?
"The best about being on set is working with a plethora of people who are creative people as well. I have so much respect for everyone on set, from the crew, to the make up artist, directors and everyone who comes together; producers and everyone in between. I love working with passionate, positive people who are unapologetically striving toward their dreams. There is nothing better than that! "
13. In the end, is there anything you'd like to say to the people who support you?
"I got a lot of love from a lot of people who followed my media career. Supporters who watched me win the pageant and followed my story, especially through some of the most challenging times of my life. I also get a lot of support from viewers who used to watch my show “969” on MTV and friends, family, people from my home city and many people that I don’t even know. I am grateful and truly humbled by the love and encouragement. It’s overwhelming sometimes but for everyone who supports me, I truly appreciate you more than you know. From the bottom of my heart, I love you guys… Thank you!"
Malaika Jackson is an actress, best known for her work on projects like: The Baby-Sitters Club, Arrow, 969, MTV Select, Untold Stories of the ER, Little Fish etc.
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