When you first meet actress Jaimie Alexander, it’s impossible to look away from her dark-hair and porcelain skin. Delicate on the outside but tough on the inside, the “Blindspot” star possesses poise, intelligence, and a strength she credits to her childhood.
Growing up in Grapevine, Texas as the only girl in a family of five children, Alexander learned early on to not only survive among the boys, but to also blend in and become like one of them.
“There’s a certain strength and durability one possesses from growing up in a household full of boys,” says the actress.
Being part of the “boys’ club” had a profound effect on the actress. She attributes the lessons gleaned in those early years—from playing sports to eating healthy—to shaping the woman she is today, as well as the characters she portrays on screen.
In school, Alexander turned her attention toward sports, specifically wrestling—another indication of how life with the boys influenced her interests. Little did she know just how significant her involvement in the sport would become. “I get through all the intense physical training for ‘Blindspot’ because of what I learned from wrestling,” she says.
Because there weren’t enough girls on the school team, Alexander trained with the guys and faced off against females in competition only. “All the discipline and perseverance I have now comes from that sport.”
From Sports to the Big Screen
Alexander’s first foray into acting began in grade school, when she got involved in theater just for fun. “At one point I thought I wanted to be a pilot, and I always had an interest in becoming a chef,” she says. While neither of those career choices came to fruition, her journey toward becoming an actress didn’t emerge until a year and a half after high school graduation.
“I filled in for a friend at one of those acting competitions. She was homesick, and I had no idea what I was doing,” she says. “That’s where I was ‘discovered,’ as they say.” At just 18 years old, Alexander moved to Los Angeles to try her hand at a career that had never even been on her radar.
From that moment on, she began working steadily in TV shows, including “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “CSI: Miami,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “Kyle XY.” She also landed roles in films, such as “Squirrel Trap,” “Loosies,” “The Last Stand,” and “Savannah.”
“I wouldn’t say I ever had one distinct breakout role, but smaller, gradual steps toward bigger parts,” she says.
A Strong Female Heroine
These days, Alexander’s taking full advantage of her sports-related background, weaving those years of discipline and training into intense, action-packed roles. In her current role, Alexander portrays Jane Doe (aka Alice Kruger), a mysterious woman covered in intricate tattoos who has no conscious memories of who she is. Discovered naked and amnesic in the middle of Times Square, NYC when the series began in 2015, Doe grabs the attention of the FBI, who begin to explore the connection between the blueprint tattooed on her body to a larger conspiracy of crimes, all while working toward discovering her true identity.
Though her character’s lack of memory could have been a significant hurdle for the actress because there wasn’t much backstory to draw from, Alexander says she welcomed the chance to mold Jane Doe as the show progressed. “I find it more exciting to create a character as I go along rather than have it all laid out in front of me,” she says.
And while it might look like a difficult role to slip into, Alexander says the opposite is true. “Jane is so well written, it makes it easy to portray her.” Even the intricate, full-body tattoos that take up to seven hours to apply don’t seem to faze the actress; it’s all part of the transformation. “If just a portion of my arms or legs are exposed, it takes anywhere from two to four hours, and longer for the full body, so we grab some good coffee, put on music, and make the most of our time with great conversation,” says Alexander. “We have fun.”
If anything is challenging for the actress, it’s the amount of fighting and stunt work involved in the show. “Occasionally it’s hard to keep up with, given the long hours we film every day.” With her athletic background and deep commitment to training and keeping her body healthy, Alexander does a lot of her own stunts.
Alexander says the role on “Blindspot” was made for her. “I tend to veer toward complex dramas… scripts that move you and leave you shaken,” she says. “I liked the portrayal of a strong female character, while also encapsulating her sweet, vulnerable side.”
Embracing the World of Superheroes
When it comes to portraying strong female heroes, Alexander doesn’t shy away from the challenge. She appeared in the adaptation of Marvel’s “Thor” comic book series in 2011, and reprised her role in the sequel, “Thor: The Dark World,” in 2013. In her portrayal of Lady Sif, Thor’s right-hand woman, Alexander embraced the role of a warrior who can hold her own against any male villain. “I’m a huge comic book fan and of Marvel in particular, so I was already familiar with Lady Sif and the Thor series,” says the actress.
And while at first glance it might seem like the characters of Jane Doe and Lady Sif are complete opposites, there are some similarities. “Sif has such a big backstory, whereas Jane has none at all,” says Alexander. “At the same time, however, they’re both very tough and vulnerable.”
A Bright Future
These days, the West Coast actress calls New York City home. With her hit show filming in the Big Apple, Alexander is soaking up all the city has to offer. “I love walking around the streets with my headphones in, watching people,” she says. “I’m interested in what makes people tick, and I love the energy in New York.”
Looking ahead in her career, Alexander doesn’t rule out exploring other areas of the business. “Everyone always tells me I’d make a good producer,” she says. She admits to paying “far too much attention to detail” and constantly checking for each scene’s continuity and accuracy. “I don’t even mean to,” she says. “It’s hard for me to sit back and relax while everyone else does their thing.”
Her persona is that of a tough female action star who can handle just about any situation (a broken nose on set once didn’t stop Alexander from filming). “To me, beauty is confidence,” says the actress. Sentiments like that are what makes it easy to imagine that she’ll achieve whatever she sets her mind to.
By Alexandra Anastasio