10 THINGS – Devery Jacobs
When did you decide that you would have a career as an actor and how did you get your start in the business?
I always knew that I wanted to be an actor. My very first role was when I was seven as a munchkin, in the Turtle Island Theatre Company’s production of the Wizard of Oz on my reservation. My mom saw how deeply I loved acting, and she submitted me to a talent agency in Montreal, which borders my reservation. She didn’t tell me, in case I wasn’t accepted, and she didn’t want to get my hopes up. But when I was, she asked if acting was something I wanted to pursue, and while deliriously happy, I obviously said yes. But, Montreal isn’t known to be a booming film hub. Throughout my teenage years, I’d earned enough credits to get into the union, but I didn’t think I would ever get to be a lead in anything and I’d nearly given up on acting. Instead of attending theatre school, as everyone had expected, I decided that if I couldn’t pursue my first passion of acting, then I wanted to help Indigenous people. And, I studied to be a counsellor and worked at the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal when I was cast as Aila, my first leading role in the award-winning feature film Rhymes for Young Ghouls, and it entirely changed the direction of my life. I knew that I couldn’t be happy pursuing anything else other than film.
The Native Women’s Shelter in Montreal, Canada had a profound effect on your personal life. How did this benefit you in your professional life?
I am so grateful for my experience working at the shelter. I met incredibly resilient Indigenous women who’d faced harrowing abuse and injustice, but who continue to lead lives filled with joy. I was a witness to the depths of human experience and it was a greater lesson in empathy for characters in my work than any acting class ever has been.
You’ve done quite a bit of television and film projects. What type of characters are you drawn to?
I love playing characters who challenge audiences and make them question their ethics. I’ve played many flawed characters who are inherently good people, but make some really bad decisions and I find that so interesting. I’m all about ripping those skeletons out of the closet!
In connection with your projects, you’ve had the opportunity to play alongside some seasoned individuals in the entertainment industry. Which ones have had a positive influence on your career choices?
I can’t single out one person without mentioning the numerous bad*ss, talented women, in front and behind the lens, who have been the greatest influences in my career. From them, I’ve learned countless lessons about trusting your gut, maintaining your voice and protecting your spirit while working in this challenging industry.
Currently, you’re on American Gods on STARZ. How were you first introduced to the series and what was it about the script that got you excited to be a part of it?
I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman’s novel, American Gods for years and felt deeply connected to the character Sam Black Crow. When I heard it was being adapted, I kept tabs on the series even before it was green-lit. I love how the series doesn’t shy away from political characters and topics and reflects the varying cultures and beliefs that are held in this melting pot called America. The world that Gaiman created where gods are just normal people surviving day-to-day, and need humans just as much as humans need gods is both hilarious and really moving.
On the show, you play the role of Sam Black Crow. What are the good and bad sides of Sam and what do you enjoy about playing her on screen?
Sam Black Crow is such a fun, meddlesome character whose beliefs are complex. While she’s sarcastic and opinionated, she’s also deeply curious about life, and about Shadow, who she is introduced to and encounters in this upcoming season. What I love about playing Sam is that she pushes me to combine my utmost wonder and belief with absolute agnosticism, and to balance those two aspects of her from moment-to-moment. I also love that our country’s first people are being represented in a show that is ultimately about immigrants who have come to America.
The first season definitely kept viewers on the edge of their seats. What can you share about the second season that will keep our eyes glued to the screen?
This upcoming season of American Gods is a continuation of Shadow’s cross-country journey, opening just moments after Mr. Wednesday’s declaration of war and the legendary showdown that went down at Easter’s party in the finale of season one.
If you weren’t working on your acting career, what type of career would you have in place of it?
I love the art of storytelling, and I would work as a film and television writer.
When it comes to fashion, which styles appeal most to your personality?
My style inspo is a combination of Elaine Welteroth and Marty McFly. It’s eclectic, filled with denim and Boy Scout-chic.
We look forward to seeing you on American Gods. What other projects do you have coming up?
I’m playing Sam Duchene in season three of Cardinal, which will air on Hulu in America soon! I can also be spotted as Lilith Bathory throughout the Netflix Original, The Order, premiering on Netflix March 7th and as the catalyst Brittany in Blumhouse Productions’ new feature, The Lie, coming to theaters soon!
Photos: Justine Nelson