Photographer: Michael Anaya
Hair & Make Up: Allison Noelle
Stylist: Brooke Shepherd
Interview Editor : Rhonda McKnight
How do you feel about being part of a huge pop culture series like Grey's Anatomy?
Being a massive fan of the show, it was very difficult for me to stay calm, cool and collected when I first started. Growing up in France, Grey’s Anatomy was very important for my friends and me as our source of American culture. On the show everyone was so welcoming, it was like winning the jackpot. It’s so funny how sometimes life imitates reality. Just like on the show, all of us interns were new in this institution that is Grey’s Anatomy. I definitely feel like an intern in real life.
This is my first show ever. I still pinch myself when I realize that I’m part of such an iconic show. I remember when I started working on Grey’s, the crew had been told by production that I was new to TV and everyone was invited to teach me about what they did on set. I thought that was so considerate! I think being part of such a long-running show allows for room to let people like me grow, learn, and find their voice. There are no better learning conditions. I have been taught so much in the last two years, it's mind-blowing.
As for the cast, I think they were excited to have new kids around, shaking things up. I’ve had a great time getting to know the whole cast. Everyone is so different and there are so many interesting life and career stories. I still have my fangirl moments when I watch the show; I can’t believe that I get to work with these wildly talented people. I love all these humans for what they are in and out of the show. Being on Grey’s is like being at Grey Sloan Memorial, you know you are amongst the best and there’s nothing like it!
Can you remember your very first audition? What would you tell your younger self to do differently?
Yes! I auditioned for a play The Ladykillers and it was an unusual audition process. They had everyone in the same room, and you could jump in and read for a character whenever you felt inspired, but you didn’t have many chances. I remember thinking that I just wanted to be a part of the group and didn’t necessarily need to have a leading role. I jumped in to read for the quietest character in the play and I was cast after reading only one line! I emphasized that one line the most and everyone burst out laughing. I don’t think I would recommend for my younger self to do anything differently, but rather I hope to always hold on to what I had then…my playfulness and thirst for acting no matter how small the role.
Where do you call home?
I am half French, half American. I was born in Saudi Arabia, but we moved to France when I was still a baby. I grew up in Grenoble, a city in the Alpes. Being part American, I always wanted to live in the U.S. Now that I am here, I feel very strongly that France is my home because it represents my whole childhood. But, I’m becoming very attached to California as my new home and I can see myself being here for a long time!
What is a day off like for you?
I truly love being an actor, not just for the art, but also for the lifestyle. I like not knowing how my week is going to be and learning how to go with the flow. That said, I do have certain things I try to get into my day, no matter what it brings. Every day I have to get a workout in, whether it’s at the gym, taking a boxing class or going for a hike. Also, I enjoy cooking on my day off and that’s very satisfying to me. Then, I’ll see my friends, that’s an important part of my time off. As much as I value my personal time and space, I do treasure my moments with family and friends. I think it’s important to be surrounded by people who challenge you, can make you reflect on whatever you are going through, and also who bring you support and humor. I need to laugh; it lifts me up like nothing else!
What projects do you have lined up for 2020?
For now, in terms of acting, Grey’s is it. I have been learning so much and just feel like I have so much more to gain from working on such an amazing show.
Outside of that, I’ve recently co-created a music event production company « Me and You Presents ». We put together intimate evenings that showcase very special untapped talent inL.A. I’m very excited about this, we just did our first show and sold out. Other than that, I’m working on putting up a play. I’ve directed before in France and in L.A., there’s nothing like it. I love to be the initiator of projects.
Where can fans follow you?
I’m pretty active on Instagram @jaicyelliot, that’s about it. I do have Twitter, but I never think to post on it, maybe one day if I have something very interesting or important to say.