Jaimie Alexander: One of the Boys
Fanboys, rejoice and behold the sights and, most of all, the sounds of Jaimie Alexander.
“Do you want to hear it?” she says ever so slightly. “I mean, I have to do it for you now!” I pause for a moment and reply, “Sure, I didn’t want to ask, but since you insist...”
And then, after a long pause and a beat...
“OK, here it goes. Yahhhhhwwwwwhhhhh!” Alexander pauses and lets out another loud yelp, “Yahhhhhwwwwwhhhhh!”
There you have it. One of Hollywood’s brightest lights, Jamie Alexander, star of Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Marvel’s Thor comic book series, doing her best Chewbacca impression for me. A once-in-a-lifetime journalistic experience that we should all be so lucky to have.
In the film, Alexander plays the ass-kicking shield maiden Sif, the only woman in Thor’s entourage of Norse badasses. “I was always into superheroes when I was a kid. I was really obsessed with Wonder Woman. I feel like I have that superhero mentality in me, where you really need to help those in need. So when I got the roll in Thor and had a chance to live out my childhood dream, it was amazing. Everyone on set was like a five-year-old when we first got our costumes.”
Alexander’s hardscrabble upbringing prepared her for the roll. Raised in Grapevine, Texas, with four brothers, Alexander was a member of, get this, her high school wrestling team. (Did I mention that I love being a journalist?)
“I play Lady Sif, she’s Thor’s right-hand man, er, woman.” Alexander says. “She stands up and fights with the guys on an equal level. All the training I did in my youth really helped me with the part. Ninety percent of the roll is physical. It was a lot of running and fighting. When I wrestled in high school, I trained with the guys; when I was in Thor, I had to train with the guys again. It was just like growing up.”
Alexander moved to Los Angeles when she was 18, more as an act of faith than anything else.
“My manager found me when I was 17 in Grapevine,” she says. She was filling in for a sick friend at a mall model showcase. “I didn’t know what I was doing. My manager, who also discovered Jennie Garth at a similar showcase, found me. It was only the second showcase he had been to.”
“Are you the type of person who believes in fate?” I ask, letting the question hang in the air.
“When all hope was lost, and then all of a sudden these tiny miracles happen and things fall on your plate... at a certain point, we choose what we get to do. Deep down, I do believe in fate. When I moved out to L.A., I had no idea what I was doing. I worked two or three jobs at stores and restaurants — mostly for the free food and free clothes. It was a really tough road. I thought a few times that maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do with my life. I ate a lot of Jack in the Box two tacos for a dollar.” Alexander laughs for a moment. “What you did in the past makes you who you are in the present.”
Eyeing her full plate of film work after Thor, I ask Alexander how she enjoys what little free time she has in L.A.
“Living in Los Angeles, for the longest time I thought it was too chaotic. The energy sometimes gets to me. But I love the sunshine and the outdoors, it’s beautiful. It took eight years for me to feel like I can have a home here. I have always tried to figure out how to leave here, now I realize how much I like it.”
Probably something to do with the direction her career is heading. “I have a good feeling now because of all of the ups and downs I’ve had in this business. I think that you need to find yourself in your work, work hard and take care of yourself without any assistance. I am so grateful for what I have and I know that this can go all go away.”
We’re not so sure about that, Jaimie.
(This article originally appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of ANTENNA.)