When a TV show has writers whose credits include Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Awkward and King of the Hill, how could you not already be convinced to watch? And we didn’t even yet mention that Lana Condor stars. On July 8, Netflix debuts Boo, B****, the tale of high school senior Erika Vu (Condor) who finally starts to live life to the fullest— only to realize the morning after her epiphany that she is a ghost.
The comedy cast also features Jami Alix, who plays classmate Lea. Ahead of the show’s premiere, Alix opened up about playing a Kris Jenner-like teen, pivoting from the digital space to acting and the joys of working with Condor.
Tell us more about Lea! How does she fit into Boo, Bitch?
There's the main mean girl whose name is Riley; that's played by Aparna Brielle. And I play Lea, who is basically her sidekick, suck-up best friend who will do anything to stay on her good side because Riley calls all the shots.
The way that I describe Lea is truly everything for her, every decision that happens or situation in her life feels like life or death. She's very exaggerated. She's very intense. Honestly, me and the girls— Aparna and Brittany Bardwell— often refer to her as the Kris Jenner of the group. She's very high strung and one thing that I do love about her is she knows what she wants and she'll do anything to get it. But I so enjoyed tapping into that character and playing her. She was so much fun and she allowed me to let loose and really go for it. I really had a great time playing her.
Mean girls are so important for teen movies and shows. Did you pull any inspiration from other iconic mean girls?
When I first auditioned for the role, actually, I took a lot of inspiration from Gretchen Wieners from the movie Mean Girls. Definitely Clueless in terms of the fashion sense and the energy of being in high school and being a part of different cliques.
I think probably the biggest inspiration was definitely Gretchen Wieners just because she was always second to Regina George and that's where Lea lives.
Aparna Brielle as Riley, Jami Alix as Lea in Boo, B**** Episode 103.
As a recurring guest on Boo, Bitch, this is your biggest role so far. What did you enjoy about being part of a TV show?
I've known that I wanted to do film and TV for a long time. But being a part of a cast like this and on a comedy like this just made me realize that I just have such a love for comedy. And I definitely feel like I want to continue on in that world. Of course I'm one of those people that really loves to dip my toes into different areas of everything, so I definitely want to try out different roles across the board, but it still feels like there's a couple of comedies in my future that I want to be a part of. I would love to be a part of another comedy ensemble just because I had so much fun on set all the time. And we were laughing on set off camera. It didn't even matter. I just felt like everybody was doing a bit all the time and making jokes. You just can't not have fun.
Lana Condor is the star of Boo, Bitch, in addition to being an executive producer. What was it like working with her?
She's just the best. I think she did such an amazing job at making everybody feel instantly warm and welcomed. And her presence is just very disarming, and so you immediately feel comfortable.
She set the tone for how the show was gonna go and she just made sure everybody feel comfortable and seen and that the cast more so felt like a close-knit friendship. And she did such a wonderful job with that because I still talk to everybody. We have a group text with everybody from the cast. There's a reference in the show, which calls out “The Senior Text Chain,” and so our group text is literally called “The Senior Text Chain.”
What do you hope audiences take away from Boo, Bitch?
I think it's really important to note that it is a female-led comedy. The writers are both female, the front two people— Zoe Colletti and Lana— are both female. And I think it just flips the script a little. You see a lot of women going after what they want and women stepping into their power and I love that message. within.
I really just hope that people get to watch the show and binge it and laugh their a**** off and give them a break from the craziness going on in the world right now because I think we all need to smile and laugh.
What’s it been like making the pivot from blogging and content creation to TV?
I almost feel like I did the whole thing backwards. Sometimes there's people that will be on shows and they'll get a large following and then they learn how to post a lot more on social media or what kind of content they want to push, and I almost feel like I did it reverse. And so posting on social media is second nature to me and I have spent the past couple of years understanding my brand and the things that I want to talk about and post and what I like to wear and my style and all those things that maybe you figure out later on. So I feel really grateful in that sense when it comes to understanding my branding and getting comfortable in front of the camera. I'm so used to taking photos in the middle of the street in front of whoever's walking around.
I think it just shaped me and got me ready to be in front of the camera or talking to the camera talking to my audience or on YouTube, whatever it be. When it comes to that side of film and TV, I'm grateful for the skills that it taught me. But it's really fulfilling to be making that transition and beyond and be on the side of acting more than influencing these days.
Do you want to stay in the digital space while exploring more traditional entertainment avenues or do you want to make the full leap into acting?
It's hard because I think right now, social media is a part of everything and even people that are fully doing traditional forms of media, like acting, a lot of times the social presence does come with it whether you like it or not. I do still find social media really creatively fulfilling. It's kept me busy in times where I feel like I'm not hearing back from auditions or it's another way to feel creatively fulfilled because it's something I have control over, where in acting, you don't always have control. It serves me well in that aspect. I think I'll always have a social media presence because I do really love connecting with people in that way. It might not be as intense as it is right now, but I think I'll always have one.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Photography by: Ben Cope; ERIK VOAKE/NETFLIX