We’re still reeling from the Blindspotting season finale! We have been left with our mouths open since yesterday and we know that we are not the only ones. We sat down with Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Jaylen Barron to talk about that season finale and their experience shooting Blindspotting, as well as diversity and representation. Ready?
Here we go!
Do you know those questions that are used to break the ice? Well, we asked Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Jaylen Barron to describe their characters “I would describe Janelle as unapologetic. Oh, and extremely loyal,” Candance tell us. “I’ll say that Trish is definitely outspoken. She has a different perspective of the world. She’s trying to come to an understanding and grow up herself, but she is a lot of fun”, shared Jaylen.
Hell yeah! Those are precisely the reasons why we love them.
After they both gave us their own perspective on their characters, we were curious to know which was their favorite episode of the season.
“I would say my favorite episode, is definitely the season finale. Specifically for my character, my favorite episode is the finale because that’s the first time we get to see a different side of Janelle, where we kind of are let in a little bit into her world. Janelle is very guarded for like, the whole season and as far as, but in the finale is where she opens up, like her flowers blossoming a little bit, you know, so that would be my favorite,” Candace Nicholas-Lippman shared with us.
“It’s definitely the finale. It touches on a lot of social issues that we have, especially in 2021. And people will be able to see a different side of Janelle, different side of Earl [Benjamin Earl Turner] and definitely a different side of Trish, their opinions on what is going on with racial issues today. So that’s what I’m excited for the audience to see a little bit more in depth opinions,” Jaylen Barron added.
We totally agree with them. We think the entire fandom agrees here, right? The season finale has that enormous force that this show always has, but times ten. We finally found out more about Janelle, but Blindspotting also takes care to touch on racial issues because this show is like this: clear, direct and brave. It’s a show that tries to show things as they are, no matter how harsh or unfair they may be. Of course, it was not going to be any different in its season finale.
And we wouldn’t do it any other way.
With the incredible characters Trish and Janelle are, we wanted to know what these characters had taught their performers in their daily lives, what they admired about these strong, independent, feisty and brave women.
“I would say that I definitely learned from Janelle because she’s so unapologetic. She moves in the world so free, you know, and I learned and in trying to adapt more of that side for myself, to not really care what people think about me like Janelle doesn’t care. She’s who she is, you get what you get. I just, I love that so much about her. And so I definitely have learned or am learning, you know, that it’s okay to choose myself. It’s okay to live life free and out loud as you want to no matter what people think of you. It’s okay to just be unapologetically. So that’s definitely something I’ve learned and and learning from Janelle,” Candace shared.
Hell yeah! Say it louder for the people in the back! Choosing yourself is okay, no matter what other people think. Everything Candace Nicholas-Lippman said. In fact, this response is especially relevant after the Tokyo Olympics and Simone Biles‘ decision to prioritize herself. We must all learn that prioritizing ourselves, taking care of ourselves, should be our priority, no matter what else.
“I learned from Trish how to be more confident in who I am, as a woman, you know, she allows me to express myself in ways that I’ve never really been able to express before, where she magnifies certain aspects of my personality that I didn’t even know I had. So to be able to tap in to that character and those emotions, up and down, angry, sad or happy all within five minutes, she’s really helped me become a better actress, and even a better woman outside of work because I feel less judgmental. And I feel like I have an understanding of women who have different jobs than me and the emotions that they go through. Nobody’s really able to see that side. But I feel like she’s brought me a lot of understanding and a lot of patience as well,” Jaylen shared.
These two answers are my favorites from all interviews because they really show how Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Jaylen Barron love their characters and how they learn from them, the ways that Janelle and Trish are really important to them because they are teaching them to find their own way.
With these great answers, we had to change the rules a bit and ask both of them about the other side of the coin. We wanted to know what Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Jaylen Barron hoped fans would take away from Janelle and Trish.
“I expect people to take away a reflection, you know, representation, which is why the show was so amazing, because representation is extremely important. And we are representing all way, you know, in this show, in so many different areas. And I…it’s so important to me, as a dark skinned Black woman on this show like that, I want people, young girls and women that look like like me, to see themselves when they see her. So I want them to take away a sense of relatability, I want them to take away a sense of pride, like saying “this is a dark skinned Black woman, we’re locked on a primetime television show.”
“Like I can see myself in her, you know, I want people to take away all of this, like her being unapologetic, being passionate, being the heart, being spiritual and still having the side of herself that will, you know, turn up on somebody real quick to protect the ones that she loves. Like, I want people to take away that Black women are multifaceted and we’re not just something to one. Janelle is the angry Black woman on the show? Yes, but so many thing more too. And I love that Rafael [Casal] is, you know, allowed me to create such a beautiful character and they allowed me to really create someone who is well rounded and not the stereotype. So I want people watching Janelle to walk away with that. I see me because I see her. So yeah,” Candace Nicholas-Lippman shared, and drop the mic.
“I agree with Candace and what I really want people to take away from each character in the show or you know, I want them to take away sense of understanding and, and that they’re seen. And Hollywood is not overlooking people’s situations who are in this particular situation. Because oftentimes, in the media, we have different scenarios where it’s just completely unrealistic what we’re watching that not a lot of people can relate to.”
“But you know, this show’s about a lower middle class family navigating their way through the prison system and that experience, and I’d love for people to be able to see themselves in this artwork, and if they are Miles or if they are Ashley, or even if they are Sean, I’d love them to be able to have that sense of grounding, and have that sense of having people on their side for once, and having people understand what they are going through.”
“And especially dealing with, you know, the upper classes getting away with more crimes than we’re able to get away with, I love the fact that their words are being heard by millions of people. And hopefully is that upper class that is hearing those words of why is it you? Why is it me? Why does it have to be like this? It’s like the theme from episode two where Ashley is in the hotel room and she has a line where she’s saying: Why does it have to be me? Why can’t it be you? And I feel like that can speak volumes to people who have never decided to put themselves in other people’s shoes. So that’s that I hope people take away from the show”, Jaylen Barron picked up the microphone and spoke incredible truths.
BOOM, DROP THE MIC! These two answers are super important. I’m not going to add anything because I can only learn from them, I can only listen to them and educate myself through their words. I admire them.
Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Jaylen Barron are really close to Janelle and Trish, so we wanted to know if they added their own ideas to the Blindspotting scripts.
“I will say yes, in a sense, you know, Rafael [Casal] and all the crew created an extremely collaborative and very open work environment for us on set. So with that came with us being able to have the freedom and the beautiful privilege to be able to come to them and talk to them to say, hey, Rafael, can I like change your mind? I feel that Janelle would say this instead of this, or can I add this? They were so great to work with, they allowed us as artists to really be free, in who we thought our characters were, you know, or who we thought, how they move how they sounded. As long as it’s still fit within the story.”
“It was, you know, stayed consistent what was going on. But yeah, there is such a beautiful, collaborative work environment where they definitely did allow us the privilege to give our opinions about what our character would say or doing this moment and to offer suggestions. They were very open to that and I’m very grateful to be able to have had that experience as an artist because you really don’t get that all the time,” Candace shared with us.
“Honestly, Candace said it all, she’s dismantled perfectly, I have nothing to add on to that”, Jaylen points out.
We love knowing that the team was really so collaborative with each other and that they feel like family. It’s great to hear because as Candace comments, you don’t see it that often.
Our last question was a little less serious. We were curious which Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Jaylen Barron are looking forward to the people seeing in their characters.
“Fun. We want them to be okay to loosen up and have fun and torque and dance and the normalcy of being able to let go and be free and, you know, not other things that you’ve done take yourself density watching the show”, they shared with us.
And of course we’ve felt that way watching Janelle, Trish, and Blindspotting.
I loved doing this interview. I really loved it. It was fun, sincere, an open interview, a conversation between friends where we couldn’t stop laughing and we even said goodbye in Spanish. But above all, it was an inspiring and educating interview.
Every time I review the show, I learn something. In every episode. The show made me learn things, it educated me on topics that I didn’t know anything about or didn’t understand, and I didn’t even talk about those topics in my review. I just listened. That’s how good Blindspotting is. And this interview was exactly like that.
Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Jaylen Barron were openly honest with us and so aware of what it means for Blindspotting to be broadcast in primetime, how important the representation it shows is, and how it deals with racial issues that still exist in our society.
I admire them so much and, really, when I grow up I want to be like them. So strong, so brave and so free.
Also, both of them are incredibly sweet, funny and lovely. You can’t stop laughing when you talk to them and you absolutely want to write every word because every word is worth it.
Hopefully Blindspotting comes back to teach us even more in a Season 2 and hopefully we can talk to Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Jaylen Barron again to learn even more.
Do you like the interview? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!
Blindspotting Season 1 aired on Starz.