In conversation with Jane Levy
Jane Levy is an American actress, known for her role of Zoey from NBC's musical comedy-drama »Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist«, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy.
Jane, you've finished filming Season 2 of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. How would you compare Zoey's personality to yours?
I, like Zoey, have no chill. We are both neurotic and have a lot of energy. We differ in that Zoey works with computers and I am an artist. I would not be happy with an office job. I need to be physically stimulated,as well as mentally and spiritually… I know that is a big ask for a job,but somehow I've managed to pull that off with acting.
What made you pursue acting?
I've always naturally gravitated toward performing. It's funny because I don't have the kind of performative personality that most actors have. I can't give a speech at a party to save my life. I don't walk into a room and own it with my presence and charm. I would say I'm a pretty low key person. But I always knew I was good at acting. I'm fascinated with people and why they do what they do.
You've been in the acting industry for quite some time now. What's your take on all the things going on in the world, the pandemic and BLM, being incorporated in Hollywood?
I'm not sure I can have a worthy succinct answer to such a big question. It is sad, sick and twisted that we live in a society where black people have to say that their lives matter. It's devastating. Our country was built off of slavery and so our institutions are all inherently racist. I'm glad there is a bit of a reckoning in Hollywood. There must be.
What is your favorite thing about Zoey?
I like her sweetness. Thinking back on the show,I think there is something radical about it's earnestness.
Zoey has the ability to hear people's thoughts and feelings through songs. What is your favorite song you've done on the show so far?
I think my favorite songs on the show have been Don't Speak by No Doubt, Feeling Good by Nina Simone and Black Man in a White World by Michael Kiwanuka. Favorite dance numbers? Anything including John Stewart.
Is there anything new you have learned about yourself through your role of Zoey?
I have learned a lot. I have learned that a button up shirt and a sweater and a blazer worn at once is too much. I have learned that I am a visual learner and I have a hard time understanding direction that isn't contextualized physically. I have learned that I am a good leader. I have learned that my face can be very beautiful and also it can be very,very ugly. I have learned that in order to be good at your job,you have to sleep. I have learned that taking mental breaks from work makes you more efficient, flexible and creative!
As Zoey, you did a lot ofsinging and dancing.Which of the two is closer to you and why?
Dancing comes much easier to me. Singing is hardbecause to be good at it,you have to be relaxed. I am not, by nature, a relaxed person. Like I said earlier,no chill.Even though the show may be done,I am still taking singing lessons because I just started working with a somatic voice teacher named Doug Peck and he's the best teacher at anything I've ever had.
You have lived both in New York and Los Angeles. In your own words, how do these two big cities compare and which one of them is your favorite?
Los Angeles is my favorite because I need to live someplace close to nature to calm me down. I am also from the Bay Area and I will forever be a California girl. However, New York has better food, better art and better parties.
Tell us about your biggest dream for the future.
My biggest dream for the future is to be able to have a family and a career.
Now that Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist's been canceled and it is not known yet if any other network will pick it up, where can we expect to see you next?
I don't know, but the open year ahead of me is very exciting.
Photographer: Michael Schwartz
Stylist: Jason Rembert
Hair: Bridget Brager @ The Wall Group
Makeup: Beau Nelson @ The Wall Group
Nails: Lisa Peña-Wong for Exclusive Artists using Essie Gel Couture
Photo Assistant: Phil Sanchez, Alex Gay
Casting: Timotej Letonja
Stylist Assistant: Mauricia Henry
Digital Tech: Eric Bouthiller
Shot on location in Los Angeles, CA