Sept. 8th–Long Beach, CA., Most people may know Jackie Dallas as Jen from the first season of the (now) hit Netflix series, Stranger Things––but what many people may not know is that, Jackie’s not just an actress, she’s actually a “real-life” doctor too IRL.
At the recent Long Beach Comic Con was the panel called Geekfest Presents “Women of SciFi“, Dallas was joined by Yellow Power Ranger, Nakia Burrise (Atypical) and certified Trekkie, Michelle Specht (Star Trek Continues) as they talked all things geeky women and sci-fi.
Here is asienne‘s coverage of Jackie’s answers from the panel as well as two bonus questions in the end.
on current project(s)
I have two feature films. One of them is called The Pining which is going to be out by the end of the year. Another one is the sci-fi thriller called Look Into The Fire out early next year.
I also have a web series. It’s comedy–a little different from sci-fi. It’s finished. It’s going to film festivals right now. It’s getting a lot of awards and acclaims and I’m super excited for it.
on words of wisdom to a younger self about acting
I was so nervous on my first jobs. I would just tell my self to take a swig of water, to just sit down and chill out. Enjoy the moment and stop being so anxious. You’re doing fine. Everything’s fine. Everything’s fine.
on a favorite project/role
I mean, that’s the one that’s so exciting right? But the funny thing is, when I was on that show, it was a nothing show, right? Because it was on the first season of it.
Nobody had any idea that it was going to be the hit that it was.
So, I was super excited! I was like, Oh my god, I’m going to be on the show! It’s going to be on Netflix!
[I got asked] “Oh yeah, what is it about?”
“Oh it’s an 80s show with a bunch of kids. “
“Uh huh, who’s in it?”
They’re like, “Okay, yeah, whatever…”
Then it came out and everyone’s like “Is that you?”
I was like “What is happening?!”
So, that was a really cool experience because it turned from literally no expectations to the number one show on Netflix that year.
on watching television growing up
I didn’t watch a whole lot of TV. I read a lot. I read a ton. I just couldn’t read enough. I was that kid going to the library–not to fulfill any Asian stereotypes here–but I would leave the library with stacks of books and just be back the next day.
But I remember when I did start watching television–without my parents knowing it like at a friend’s house or something–I would just soak everything in. No matter what was on TV. I would watch Power Rangers,…everything that there was, I would just [say], “I want to do that!” That was so amazing, so magical…You can be your own superhero, you know?
Then, when it comes to sci-fi, especially science…so, I’m kind of like a real-life scientist, you guys.
I’m Asian, let me reiterate. (laughter from the audience)
I have a certain life path that was set out for me.
I will just say, I went to medical school. So, I’m like a real-life doctor and now I get to play one on TV and that is really cool.
I did a year in general surgery and then I went to pathology and I did that for a couple of years…and then I said (pause) (big sigh)–I want to be an actor. (laughter from the audience)
on the most challenging role
You guys pretty much got the emotional bits of that one.
I’m going with a physically challenging one.
So, one of the earlier indie films that I worked on was this movie called Hunting Season.
I played a kidnapped woman who was hog-tied in a barn. We filmed for a week in this legit barn with horses. I was hog-tied on the floor of this barn for a period of time. At the end of the movie, I run. I run for my life. So, I’m literally running through the hills of Northern California…..! So, that was pretty tough. It was very physically challenging. It was very intense.
Am I a good runner? I’m a great runner. I’m an even better faller. (loud laughter from the audience)
on the best thing about acting
When I was little, I couldn’t decide on the one thing to do or be. I was that one kid that wanted to be everything that I wanted when I grow up, you know? And so being an actor, I think allows you to take on different personas and different roles and different jobs and different personalities. You can do something different everyday.
on a dream genre
I think action. A superhero action movie.
I really liked Tomb Raider when I was younger and I think that would be so much fun.
on life before acting
I did every job under the sun. I was a cashier. I worked at K-Mart–that was my first job in high-school. I was a waitress. I was a bartender.
If they paid me, I did it. (loud laughter from the audience)
on social media
My website is jackiedallas.com
BONUS: last five minutes with the group at the Q&A + one-on-one with Jackie
last panel question for the group:
Which female filmmaker (actress, producer, director, writer) would you like to work with in the future?
Jackie: Yes! I second that.
Michelle: Yes! Actually yes!
one last question for Jackie:
What is a specific challenge that you face as an Asian woman in sci-fi?
One of the challenges I face as a woman in sci-fi…as an Asian woman, is finding ways that I can portray roles that don’t necessarily perpetuate that stereotype of being the smart, studious, perfect Asian. But at the same time, still finding ways to empower women and minorities and just anyone I come across–empower them to be smart, empower them to be creative and thinking and [to be] three-dimensional characters.