Friday, October 11, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Fil-Am Jackie Averia excited to be in US version of ‘Boys over Flowers’

By JONATHAN HICAP, Manila Bulletin
Cameras will start rolling soon for the American adaptation of the Japanese manga “Hana Yori Dango” and one of the cast members says she is looking forward to be part of the series.
Fil-Am actress Jackie Averia (Photo courtesy of “Boys Before Friends” and Averia’s Facebook pages)

Filipino-American actress Jackie Averia will be playing the role of Piper, the best friend of Zoey Taylor, in “Boys Before Friends” (formerly “Between Boys and Friends”), the American version of the hit dramas “Boys over Flowers” in South Korea and “Meteor Garden” in Taiwan.
Averia said being cast in the series was like a dream.
“I pinch myself everyday to make sure this is reality. It just feels so surreal,” she told Bulletin Entertainment.
Averia’s role in the series is the equivalent of Ga-eul, played by actress Kim So-eun in the Korean version, and Xiao You, played by Rainie Yang in the Taiwanese version.
She said she originally auditioned for the role of Aubrey, another friend of Zoey in the series, but was asked to read the part of Piper.
“I self submitted for the casting because I thought the story told an important message. I originally auditioned for Aubrey, but was asked to audition for Piper instead,” Averia said.
She added, “When I read the sides for Piper at the audition I thought she was hilarious!
The scene I had to read was so funny. I honestly didn’t know how I did because I had just woken up from a 24 hour hibernation session and thought I was still dreaming. Sometimes I think I’m still in limbo.”
Averia was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.
“I am a full Filipina–Tagalog and Ilocano. Most of my relatives are here in America. My parents were both born in the Philippines, moved here, got married and divorced when I was really young. All is well because I’m in the City of Angels,” she said.
She said she learned to understand and speak Tagalog from watching Filipino movies at home.
“I understand and speak a little bit of Tagalog. My Tagalog grammar is hilarious because I learned from watching Filipino movies,” said Averia, adding that she’s visited the Philippines two to three times.
Averia studied Kinseiology, or Human Kinetics, at Cal State Northbridge.
Besides being an actress, she’s also a singer and rapper and is into stand-up comedy and improv.
To hone her acting and improv skills, she studied at The Acting Corps in Los Angeles and L.A. Connection Theater.
Among her film and television credits include “Let’s Be Cops,” “Everlasting,” “Everyday Lies,” “Smiley” and “Pause.” Her theater credits include “The 4th Floor,” ” Station Agents,” and “Soledad.”
Averia started doing stand-up comedy a year ago.
“I’ve always been the odd ball/black sheep but I’ve always loved smiling. Especially the feeling you get when you just laugh so hard that your stomach hurts! It’s my favorite abdominal workout!” she said.
Her first performance was at The Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.
She said, “One day, I saw a casting online for unexperienced comedians who wanted to try stand-up and I just went with the flow.”
Averia added that doing comedy and improv gives her happiness.
“I can definitely say my craft is not perfected because I’m constantly learning, editing, and just figuring out what really works. I definitely love performing comedy and improv. It gives me such pleasure to hear all sorts of unique laughs. It’s a symphony of laughter and I am the conductor,” she said.
Among the stand-up comedians that she admires include George Carlin, Jo Koy, Kristen Wiig, Dave Chapelle, Russell Peters & Brand, Sarah Silverman, Lisa Lampanelli and Anjelah Johnson.
When she learned that “Boys Before Friends” would be an adaptation of the Japanese manga, Averia said she watched the pilot episodes of the Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean versions.
“When I found out it was a remake I decided to watch the pilot episode of each version for research. I ended up watching most of the anime version. I think I just didn’t want to watch another Asian drama because TFC is always playing at our house. Filipinos know drama! Ha ha,” she said.
When the American remake and its cast members were unveiled, fans started comparing them to the Asian versions.
Averia said she is not worried about the comparisons and she has complete trust on the people behind the series.
“I’m not worried at all ! I know people normally don’t like remakes but I’m totally confident the production will bring justice and their own swag to the series,” she said.
The filming will begin on Oct. 21 and Averia is thrilled to work with the cast and crew.
“I feel extremely honored, grateful, and excited to be working with such an amazing cast and crew! I’m definitely looking forward to being part of this story that has such a raw message,” she said.

To contact the author, send email to sangchusan(at)gmail.com

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