Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
Kyle XY, Blindspot, Thor Series
March 12, 1984
Currently Known For:
Kyle XY, Blindspot, Thor Series
March 12, 1984
“I’m probably one of the worst actors as far as preparation goes, because I actually don’t prepare. I find it easier to read the script and whatever hits me in my stomach, like deep down, I just go with it.” Jaimie Alexander is an actress who caught her first big break in 2007 when she landed the part of Jessi on ABC’s sci-fi series, Kyle XY. Spending two seasons and 33 episodes on the show, Alexander made her way to the silver screen in 2011 when she joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Sif in Thor. Alexander reprised her role in the 2013 sequel Thor: The Dark World and, since 2015, has proven she’s one of the toughest leading ladies on primetime television as the star of the popular NBC series Blindspot. So, how did the 34-year-old go from being kicked out of her high school theater department to one of Hollywood’s hottest actresses?
“I will never be a waif. I want to market myself as a healthy-looking woman who is an action-star kind of girl.” The only girl in a family of five children, Jaimie Lauren Tarbush came into this world on March 12, 1984 in Greenville, South Carolina. When she was four years old, the family relocated to Grapevine, Texas where Alexander enjoyed a normal childhood alongside her four brothers. By her teens, she was interested in acting and joined the theater department at Colleyville Heritage High School only to be kicked out of the program after the director learned she was a terrible singer. Temporarily giving up on her acting dreams, she started playing sports instead and was an amateur wrestler. “There was one time I wrestled two boys and I beat them both,” Alexander recalled. “They weighed a lot less than I did and I think they didn’t want to hurt a girl, so I don’t really know if I won—I’d like to think I did.”
At the age of 17, Alexander’s interest in acting piqued again after her friend missed a meeting with a talent scout and asked Alexander to go in her place. Stepping in for her friend was exactly what Alexander needed as she wrapped up her senior year at Colleyville Heritage High School and then moved west to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time. Fortunately, she didn’t have to wait long to catch her first break when she won the starring role of Hanna Thompson in the critically acclaimed low-budget flick, The Other Side (2007). It turns out, Alexander was only helping out during the auditions by reading against the male actors but her narrative and striking beauty led director Gregg Bishop to cast her in the leading role.
Alexander followed up with another co-starring role in Squirrel Trap (2004) before she made her way to television with a guest appearance on an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005). The following year, she won the starring role of Caitlin Porter on the short-lived series Watch Over Me (2006) and made her horror film debut as Nicole Carrow in Rest Stop (2006). She returned to the genre in the 2007 horror film, Hallowed Ground, and proved she was a strong female lead with her characters in both films ruthlessly fighting back against their attackers.
“I have no formal training to rely on, I just wing it. I go with the flow and follow the energy. I’m lucky it’s gotten me this far.” Things started picking up for Alexander in 2007 when she starred as Jessi Hollander on the ABC Family series, Kyle XY. As her character gained a cult following, fans begged for a spinoff series but Alexander had other plans in the works as she landed guest roles on CSI: Miami and Bones before winning the part of Sif in Marvel’s 2009 live-action superhero film, Thor.
“Weirdly enough, I grew up with four brothers in Texas and they are huge Marvel fans, so I read Thor when I was in middle school...” Alexander said of her excitement over joining the Marvel franchise. “So, I read some comic books back then, and my brother has a bunch of Avenger comic books… So, it was kind of neat because I find Sif a lot stronger than Wonder Woman, so I’m really pleased that I got this role. And you know, as you can see, she’s covered. It’s no slutty costumes, you know, no boobs sticking out, any of that stuff. She’s just a strong female, and I think that needs to be done for a lot of young women out there.”
While many comic book fans were excited to see romance blossom between Sif and Thor in the 2011 superhero flick, that wasn’t exactly the case when the film hit theaters. “The relationship between Thor and Sif in this movie is quite platonic,” Alexander admitted. “I mean, they’re good buddies, they’ve grown up with each other, they’re warriors, they fight side by side. We haven’t taken it to the next level yet. I’m going to throw that in there. But yeah, she kind of thinks he’s a little bit pig-headed, but she loves him nevertheless, you know, she’s like, ‘That’s my buddy, I’ll do what I can for him.’ But she’ll definitely call him on his sh-t, which I like. Because it’s kind of how I am with Chris (Hemsworth).”
Despite leaving out the Sif-Thor romance, Thor was a huge hit at the box office and prompted a sequel, Thor: The Dark World, with Alexander reprising her role as Sif once again in 2013. She even made special crossover appearances on Marvel’s hit television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2014 and 2015. “I genuinely love the character Sif,” Alexander said. “Each time I get to play her, there’s this growth in the character and we find out more of who she is. That is a blast, because I’ve been able to slowly create this woman while still taking directions from all the comic books that existed before my performance. It’s interesting that Sif has such a big backstory…”Return to Television and Her Close Call with the DC Realm
Outside the Marvel Universe, Alexander’s career blossomed as she took on more challenging roles. In 2013, she starred in Savannah, a historical drama depicting an aristocrat who forms a partnership with a freed slave. Later in the year, she joined Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand (2013) and ventured back into television in 2015 when she was cast as the mysterious Jane Doe in the NBC series, Blindspot. Found naked and covered in tattoos in Time Square, Jane has no recollection of her past or her identity and works with the FBI to decipher her tattoos, which contain clues to crimes the FBI must solve.
“I’d read so many pilots and I got offered a lot of stuff, which I’m extremely thankful for, but nothing was really striking a chord with me. All of the female characters were written to cater to the male lead, something I’ve always had a problem with. There are a lot of strong, female actresses out there—physically and emotionally—who are able to show so much range, yet the writing these days still isn’t on par with the talent,” Alexander said of her quest for something different and empowering. “When I read Blindspot, it really struck a chord because I knew I’d need to utilize all of my talents—my fight background, finding the emotional depth of a character, her vulnerability. I love showing vulnerability. It’s important and not a weakness. Deep down, I felt like Jane was written for me.”
The fit couldn’t be more perfect as Blindspot is now in its fourth season with Alexander at the helm. “It’s ridiculous to place pressure on yourself to try and please millions of people who are all different from one another,” the actress says of refusing to let expectations weigh her down or hinder her excitement on the series. “I find most artists suffer because of that unattainable perfect. So, I just try to enjoy what I’m doing and have fun. You have to trust your instincts.”
Amid her success on Blindspot, Alexander took a huge leap of faith and auditioned for the starring role in Wonder Woman only to lose the part to Gal Gadot. As a huge Marvel fan, Alexander was a little disappointed but ultimately realized it would be hard for fans to distinguish between her as Sif and as Princess Diana. “I was one of a few people that were an obvious choice for Wonder Woman, but it was never going to happen,” Alexander admitted. “I’m contracted with Marvel and it would be strange. Sif, in her way, is Marvel’s Wonder Woman. They’re both ethereal and have armor and a sword and have special abilities; the physicality of the role is very similar. The thing I really enjoy about Marvel is that they start with a character first and all the explosions and costumes, the glitz and glam, are secondary to who the actual character is deep down. That’s something I haven’t really been able to find with DC comics. I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s been my experience.”Life Today
Despite losing the part of Wonder Woman, the 34-year-old Alexander stays incredibly busy with the fourth season of Blindspot premiering in October 2018. She also returned to the silver screen in Broken Vows (2016) and in London Fields (2018) with television credits in The Brink (2015), Talking with Chris Hardwick (2017), and Ridiculousness (2018). Beyond that, the actress continues to look for challenging roles that combat and raise awareness of the abuse of power in Hollywood. “The sad fact is that sexism exists but there needs to be a greater recognition of the problem,” she says. “We all need to educate ourselves. It’s about knowing your worth—learning to respect yourself and others so that we can stand up for what we believe in. That’s one way we can bring forth change.”
This is one of the reasons why Alexander is extremely selective in her roles as she often and easily transitions between big budget television projects and independent flicks to blockbusters like Thor. It keeps things exciting and allows the actress to choose projects that fit her best, which is how she landed in New York City after years in Hollywood. “I find the energy in NYC is more free flowing—so many levels of it. I find Los Angeles a bit desperate. For me, the energy there is bad,” she says. “I’ve really enjoyed being in New York because there are so many other industries here, while where I live in LA, the only industry is the entertainment industry. You tend to feel like you’re in a bubble of redundancy. Not to sound too hippie, but I work so much off of energy. I’m a Pisces, and that’s part of who I am. I just gravitate towards NYC.”
While Alexander gravitates toward the Big Apple, living and working in the city has taken away some of its novelty and forced her to find another escape. “It was always New York, until I started working here a lot,” Alexander admits. “I think, for me, a place that I like to escape would be Santa Fe, New Mexico. I love Santa Fe, it’s my favorite place. I can’t even explain it, and that’s why I know it’s true. There’s just a feeling I get when I’m there. I love the altitude, I love the people, I love the energy there. I love the hippie vibe, I love the food, I love all of it. It’s just a relaxed way of life there I really enjoy.” So, does Alexander have anyone to share her beautiful, hippie escape with these days?
Alexander met and fell in love with actor Peter Facinelli on the set of Loosies in 2012. They dated for three years and announced their engagement in March 2015; however, wedding bells never rang as the couple called off their nuptials in February 2016. Still single today, the Thor actress keeps a tight lid on her personal life and how she spends her time in New York and in Santa Fe… and we can’t say we blame her!