‘Vampire Academy’: Jonetta Kaiser Interview
We got the chance to speak with the stunning Jonetta Kaiser, who plays Sonya Karp in Peacock’s Vampire Academy series! We discuss what it has been like filming the series, playing this amazing character, and thoughts about what season two will be like if the show is renewed! Plus, Jonetta’s other projects. So keep reading below!
CC: What’s it like being a part of such a big series like Vampire Academy?
Jonetta: “It’s surreal, I think. It’s such a massive show and I just feel so lucky to be part of it, honestly. Sometimes I can’t even believe it.”
CC: Have you read the Vampire Academy series before?
Jonetta: “Yeah I read them as a kid. I loved the books!”
CC: How do you think it’s been adapting from books to the screen? Do you think there are a lot of differences?
Jonetta: “There’s definitely a lot of differences. But our showrunners, Julie Plec and Marguerite MacIntyre did such a good job at capturing the heart of the books. The whole first season is focusing on this world where there’s just a lot of inequality. Victor’s goal is to fix that and to get the crown and things like that. I think as a fan of the books they did such a good job. I’m definitely a fan.”
CC: What has been your favorite part about playing Sonya?
Jonetta: “The fact that she’s so odd and talks to birds. There was a scene in the pilot where Mia goes with Sonya and there are those birds. And those were real birds. We had a person who trains them and he knew how to make all these different sounds to work with them. It was so cool. I’ve gotten to do a lot of really cool things playing Sonya, like the wire work and things like that. It’s just been amazing.”
CC: Is there a process or routine you have to get into the character of Sonya?
Jonetta: “Before getting picked up I would have coffee and grab something to eat. And then I had this one playlist of my favorite songs that I would play every day. Then I would do my skincare. I think that was kind of like, if I did that before going to work, then it just put me in the right mindset. You know, so many things happen on set. Or things can go wrong or you could be sitting around for hours. So if I’m taking care of myself before I go and play someone else, I think that’s my process.”
CC: Is there anything you can spill about the remaining episodes we have left to see?
Jonetta: “I cannot! There’s so much that’s going to happen. Huge things are coming. Definitely lots of action. I can say that.”
CC: If there is a second season, would it be filmed in the same place?
Jonetta: “Oh my gosh. I’m really hoping we get one. Nothing has been confirmed yet. But I really hope we get one. With streaming it’s always so different how they do things with the numbers and all of that. As a cast we’ve all bonded and have such a great connection. When we were out in Paploma we spent so much time together. And the first chemistry you feel on screen is because everyone was hanging out in real life. I think it would be cool to be based in a different area where there would be more to do. If anyone’s ever been to Pamploma, you know there really isn’t a lot to do there. It’s where they do the Running of the Bulls, but when we were there none of that was happening because of COVID. So, I would love to have a second season somewhere else where there are some other things to do. Maybe some art classes to take or something cool and local.”
CC: If you do get a second season what kind of storylines would you like to see for Sonya?
Jonetta: “Well, it’s no secret my character is a Strigoi now. So, I personally would love to do what a lot of the Dhampirs are doing. They’re training and doing stunts and things like that. So I would love to see that for Sonya. I think that would be so cool. Our stunt team is so amazing and worked so hard. And they hung out with the cast so much, they were part of the family.”
CC: Do you feel like streaming is a lot different than network tv?
Jonetta: “I think it’s generally the same as network tv. The main difference is you get more time. With tv, it has to be cut off at a certain point. If you don’t fit everything in, then you have to go back and start taking scenes away. And we have so much going on in our episodes, they’ve managed to not have to cut out much from what was written. Most of it made it to the screen, which is so cool. I think that’s the main difference. We really did shoot most of what was on the page. Which is amazing.”
CC: So, we see you also have a movie releasing soon, A Party to Die For. What can you tell us about that?
Jonetta: “So, it’s a thriller. My character, Sadie, goes on this journey of wanting to hang out with all these socialites. So, she transforms herself into someone she isn’t and gets into a bit of trouble. And then has to dig her way out of it. But there’s a happy ending. It was really cool working in that genre. And it’s challenging because it’s so heightened, like the reactions to things. Because obviously when they go in and cut it, they add the spooky music and such. But as an actor, I’m just huffing and puffing for five minutes and it feels ridiculous. The director, Nanea Miyata, was so great and my costar Kara Royster was amazing to work with. I’m just so exciged to see how it all comes together.”
CC: Do you watch the final cut of the episodes of Vampire Academy? Or do you stay away from that?
Jonetta: “Oh, I definitely watch. I feel like I learn so much by watching myself. Because I remember filming it and those moments. Or what was challenging. And how it comes across. Then it’s also just interesting to see how in editing they pull moments from other parts of a performance and stick it somewhere. So, not everything is how it actually happened or was filmed. And I learn so much by watching and remembering how I did it and what the final product ended up being.”
CC: What do you feel when you see yourself on that screen and know so many are watching it?
Jonetta: “I’m just loving it! Like, with Twitter and all the fans. And they’re going on and on about theories. I think that’s what I love so much. I watch when the episodes drop on Thursdays. And I feel like I’m able to detach from the performance that I gave and truly watch it as a viewer. Also, my character didn’t have scenes with a lot of people because Sonya is a loner so she spends a lot of time alone. Which means there’s so much of the show that I wasn’t there to see filmed because I wasn’t on set those days. So to then go in and watch it, with me just in a couple of scenes here and there I think wow this is so cool. I’m actually on a tv show. It’s still that surreal feeling. But I don’t really think about how many people are actually watching it. I haven’t really thought about that before!”
CC: When it comes to your wardrobe did you have a favorite outfit?
Jonetta: “There were so many cool outfits. Sonya mostly wears jeans and a fuzzy sweater. But I loved all the things I wore when going to the royal events because of Victor. The ballgown dress is gorgeous. And then at the royal tour when I had that blue, very pretty dress. That was so gorgeous. I think that was probably my favorite. They also had me do my prep in that dress so I was like yay!”
CC: When it comes to the stunt work had you ever done anything like that before?
Jonetta: “Yeah I have done a little bit of stunt work. I’ve never done wire work before though. But with this, I didn’t actually do a lot of stunts because Sonya is so not a fighter. Maybe there is something coming in episode nine and ten. We’ll see. You’ve got to watch to find out. But yeah, the wire work was so much fun. So, they hooked me up, put a harness on me, and then I’m just floating. Just in the air, hanging out. It was so much fun. The scene where I jump off of the tower, filming that I would actually fall backward onto a mat from very high up in the air. But they were so safe with everything and had everything taken care of. It was so cool. I’m not easily frightened by things so I was just like yeah what do I need to do, let’s do it!”
CC: If you could have a scene with any other character if there is a season two, what character would it be?
Jonetta: “For next season. Hmm. Well, I would love to have more scenes with Mia, because that’s my sister. And we have so much fun. So far I don’t think I’ve really had any scenes with Andre, who plays Christian, so that would be fun!”
CC: Do you have other projects in the works or do you have to wait to hear about a second season before taking on any other roles?
Jonetta: “Definitely auditioning again and hoping I book something. I did a commercial a couple of weeks ago. If it doesn’t conflict with press and things like that, we can pretty much do anything besides another series regular. So that’s kind of how that works. But there are so many cool things and platforms out there. So I’m just auditioning a lot right now.”
CC: What would be your dream genre to work in?
Jonetta: “A good action-packed mystery! I love mystery novels. I’ve read all of the Nancy Drew books. So I would love to do something like that where I play a spy or something!”
CC: Do you interact a lot on Twitter when it comes to Vampire Academy?
Jonetta: “Yeah, I watch it through and then hop on Twitter to see what others are saying about it. And it was so fun for last week’s episode because of THAT moment! And people were just going insane. It was so great! So I cant wait for this week.”
We enjoyed talking to Jonetta Kaiser so much! We can’t wait to see the remaining episodes of Vampire Academy! And we are so excited to see her upcoming film, A Party to Die For. It was truly a pleasure speaking with her and we are so grateful that she was willing to take the time and chat with us. Find and follow us on Twitter @capeandcastle to discuss all things Jonetta Kaiser, Vampire Academy, and more! You can find me on Twitter @Sarah_Jeanne17. And be sure to check out our site for more content on all things Disney and beyond!