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Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs
Hometown: Kahnawake, Quebec
Starting out: "It's a cliché thing to say you don't choose this career, it chooses you, but I very much feel that there's a lot of truth in that. I always loved acting and when I was young I was part of the Turtle Island Theatre Company, where I was a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. But as I was nearing the end of high school, I doubted that I would ever be the lead in anything because I didn't think I had the chops. And being in Montreal, most of the projects are Francophone, and as an Anglophone-Native actress, there were really no roles for me."
Breakout gig: "I had essentially given up acting and was studying to be a counsellor. I was working at the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal when I was cast in my first leading role in Rhymes for Young Ghouls, which essentially launched my career and helped me prove to myself that I could actually do it. And it was also the first time that a character and story had resonated with me and reflected my experience. It was hugely influential. Once I got a taste of really being fully creative and letting the character claim me, I was like, 'I cannot do anything else with my life and still be happy."
Career goals: "I am a Native actress and I will always play characters from that culture, because that's inherently who I am and I'm really proud of that. But I'm not limiting or pigeonholing myself into only Native roles. I'm also interested in playing characters where ethnicity isn't mentioned at all; where the person could just be inherently Indigenous. And I kind of hate the term 'strong female leads'—essentially all of the women-identifying people I know are strong women. So I want to find characters who have a lot of agency and are strong and very different. It doesn't have to be all tough badasses. In my mind, my future will look like accepting roles that I'm really passionate about and really inspire me, and then for the rest of the time, working on my own passion projects behind the camera."
Current read: "I just finished Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq, and I thought it was beautiful and harrowing and brutal."
Style Inspo: "I'm fairly eclectic, but with a strong influence of Marty McFly—a little boyish, kind of cool."
Up next: Sam Black Crow on Amazon Prime Video's American Gods and Lilith on Netflix's supernatural series The Order.