Pandora, the latest entry in a stream of new and returning summer series on The CW, is an action-packed sci-fi series set in the year 2199. Priscilla Quintana stars as Jax, a resourceful go-getter who finds herself orphaned after the colony of New Portland, where she lived with her parents, is mysteriously attacked. Following the tragedy, Jax is relocated to Earth’s Space Training Academy, where she is welcomed by the diverse assortment of students, ranging from clones to telepaths and a few alien types. The mix of characters and the actors who portray them play perfectly into The CW’s #OpenToAll and #DaretoDefy initiatives promoting diversity, inclusion and representation, but Pandora takes it all a step further. Jax is a badass. She is also bisexual.
For Quintana (pictured at top, and below left), Jax was the role of a lifetime, and she wasn’t going to rest until it was hers. “As an actor, you go on a ton of auditions, kind of just going in for whatever is out there and I was doing that,” she told MediaVillage during an exclusive interview from the show’s set in Bulgaria, where they are still in production. “But when this popped into my lap, I had an immediate visceral reaction to it. I remember telling my representatives, ‘I need this show!’ I fell in love with the character, and I loved what she was about.
“I became so annoying to my reps,” she continued with a laugh. “Like texting and e-mailing them every single day asking if they'd heard anything. Did they like me? Did they want to see me again? What's going on? I literally drove them crazy. There were over 100 e-mails alone with answers like, ‘Not yet, but we’ll let you know when we hear anything.’ I really fell in love with it. It's weird for a project to jump out at you like that, but I just knew this was ‘the one!’”
According to Quintana, the major draw to Jax was her complexity. “I loved how badass she is,” she said. “Our executive producer Mark A. Altman told me from the very beginning that we wanted to make her a badass, yet lovable. At the end of the day whoever turns the show on is inviting this character into their home and we wanted her to feel like a part of the family. To me, that was really interesting. Also, she's just so freaking cool. She's loyal, she's brave and so loving. I find her the epitome of being soft and oh-so-cool, and yes, I do have a girl crush.”
The other side of Jax that appealed to the actress was her sexuality. “I'm very big on people coming out about who they are and being comfortable in their own skin, so if anyone is encouraged by Jax and decides to come out because of her, and embark on their own journey, I'd be so happy to share that with them," she said. "I'm happy to be a role model in that way and I'm prepared for whatever comes my way.
“It takes a while for someone to figure out who they are and become comfortable in their own skin,” she added. “With regard to the CW's inclusivity and diversity, the entire cast is so diverse, which I think is also cool. We have people from everywhere (the U.K., Australia, the U.S., India) and not to mention we are shooting in the middle of Eastern Europe, which is so far from home. It's a constant lesson in diversity here. The whole experience has been great. We didn’t have chemistry reads like a lot of shows, yet this entire cast became an instant family. We hang out every day and get together when we’re not working. We've become the best of friends. I could go on about my cast forever. The [entire] cast is absolutely stunning, and more importantly, are really cool people on the inside, too. Everything matches the outside, everyone here is all around incredible.”
While chatting with Quintana one thing became very evident -- she’s not prepared for the overnight recognition that comes with starring on a show like Pandora, which will only be highlighted after the cast appears at Comic-Con this coming Friday in San Diego, C.A. “I really have no idea what to expect as I've never been,” she said of the fan gathering. “Everyone keeps asking if I'm excited or really nervous. I just don't know. I'm looking forward to chatting with people about the show, but by the time we get there only one episode will have aired. I don't think anyone's going to know who the hell I am, so I'll be able to walk the floor and see my favorite people.
“Someone did mention the 'C-word' recently, and I was like WTF? I'm not a celebrity,” she laughed in closing. “Right now, I'm excited to be going there because filming in Bulgaria, we are so disconnected from everything. We just wrapped episode eight of 13, and we’re here until the end of August. Once we're done, I'm taking a solo vacation, then it's back to Los Angeles and walking around with pimple cream on my face. I like to keep things real.”
Pandorablasts off on Tuesday, July 16 at 8 p.m. on The CW.
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