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Exclusive Interview with Jazzy Williams from Nickelodeon’s WITS Academy

WITS ACADEMY SEASON 1 GALLERY: Pictured: Kim (Kaelii "Jazzy" WIlliams) in WITS ACADEMY SEASON 1 on Nickelodeon. Photo: Aaron Warkov/Nickelodeon. © 2015 Viacom International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credit: Aaron Warkov/Nickelodeon.

From Blues Clues to Off-Broadway plays, Jazzy Williams is a young woman with ambition who started young in the entertainment industry and has a bright future ahead of her.

Her latest project, W.I.T.S. Academy, is a spin-off of Nickelodeon’s hit show, Every Witch Way. The show opens with witches who don’t have magical powers training to be Guardians of those witches who do have powers. Those who were born witches are convinced that they are better than those you weren’t, even if they don’t have powers. However, Kim’s (Jazzy Williams) new roommate is a human, not a witch, the first to ever join the academy.

Check out our interview to see where this incredible young actress is coming from and where she’d like to see herself go.

How are you today?

“I’m good. How are you?”

Good! My first question is: when do fans get to first see you?

“They actually saw me [in the pilot] on Tuesday. And they’ll get to know more and more and more about who I play. In the first episode, I was kind of in the background. In the second episode, I actually become roomies with Andi [the main character, played by Daniela Nieves].”

Does your character have powers? Or is she a witch without powers?

“She’s a witch without powers, but she makes do because she makes all these cool gadgets.”

Oh! Okay. So you’re Ruby’s roommate right now? Who makes her own guardian gear?

“Yes! I was Ruby’s roommate, and then I transfer to Andi’s [room].”

Gotcha (laughs). So is there a backstory for your character? Like was she at the academy the year before, and does she have brothers, sisters, family? What was it like before the academy?

“I don’t really know too much about her personally. Not yet.”

How long is the season going to be? How many episodes?

“We filmed 20 episodes for the first season, and they play every weeknight at 7.”

Every weeknight, or every Tuesday?

“Every weeknight.”

Is the whole season filmed already, or are you filming still while it’s being aired?

“We actually wrapped right before it premiered.”

I was going to say, with it airing every day, you would kind of have to, wouldn’t you? Otherwise there’d be no way to get it all done.

“Yeah (laughs). The crew was amazing, they were really good at that!”

Okay. Good. So where does the show shoot?

“Miami.”

Oh! Nice and hot.

“Yeah. It was really hot! I’m from Pennsylvania, which is typically freezing. So it was like a culture shock.”

Totally understand. I’m from Cleveland. So what’s your favorite thing about being part of this show?

“Probably the cast. It was really amazing because I knew that I’d booked it, and I was like ‘Oh my goodness, wait. I have to spend like three months with people. What if they don’t like me? What if we don’t get along?’ We kinda of saw each other and we were all like ‘Wow, we’re getting along really well.’ “

Good. So I take it you made really good friends then?

“Oh yeah. We still text each other every now and then, about the show, like ‘Look! Remember when we filmed that! And like we couldn’t stop laughing, and I had to eat that!’ Yeah, it was really fun.”

How did you get the role on the show? Was it just typical audition, or how did you get the audition?

“It was a stereotypical audition, and normally I’m in LA, I audition out there, but I was helping my mom back in Pennsylvania, and so we shot a video, where you just film yourself and send it in, and I did that. And I was like, ‘Okay, that’s a long shot.’ And then I got a call back, and I was like ‘What? Really? Okay.’ So then I went in, and I was like ‘Okay, that’s all right, that’s done.’ And then it just kind of continued from there.”

Oh wow. So how did you get into acting?

“Well my mom was really into dinner theater when I was like two, so I would follow her around, and I loved the stage and I loved performing. Then my sister Brynn, who’s older than me, actually is really a theater buff. She’s been on Broadway like five times, and I would love watching her, and I’d follow her. Through my sister I actually met Sarah Hyland, who’s on Modern Family. I remember being so starstruck, because when she was younger, she was Molly in the movie version of Annie. Which was my favorite show, one of my favorite movies. I was like ‘Oh my gosh! I want to be like Sarah Hyland! I want to do this! This is so cool!’ “

Wow. So how long between when you decided that you wanted to start acting until you got cast in something?

“I was actually two was when I was like, ‘All right, Mom, I’m going to be on the stage. That’s just how it’s going to happen’ (laughs). And then she just worked really hard and actually booked something when I was six. My first actual gig was Blue’s Clues. I felt like a superstar. I remember the camera, and I remember they gave us Graham Crackers and apple sauce. And I was like, ‘Oh wow! This is the celebrity treatment right here. This is the life’ (laughs).”

What other kinds of things have you done?

“I did a show, it was a TV show before American Idol, it was called Live in Hollywood. It was a signing competition. That was around the time that I was like six.  I actually won. I remember they gave me this cool triangle trophy. Very impressive. (laughs). Yeah. And I did like an off-Broadway theater production called People Gardens when I was eight. Around about eight. I have to fact-check with my mom right here (laughs). And then dinner theaters, and like auditioning for stuff.”

Cool. So how do you work school into all that?

“Well I’ve been home-schooled all my life, so my mom actually wanted me to really focus on school, so I actually graduated from high school when I was 14.”

Oh wow! I was home-schooled too, and graduated early, but not that early! So did you like home schooling?

“Yes, I did, but I’ve never been to public school, so just hearing about like, you wake up at seven in the morning, and then you go to school for how many hours, then you come home. That’s not what I’m used to, so I probably wouldn’t have liked it going from public school to public school.”

Yeah. But you graduated, so you must have done really well with academics.

“Yeah, mom coached me. She was like ‘All right, come on, let’s do this!’ “

Sounds like you have a great mom.

“I do, she’s amazing. She runs her own photography studio, and I have eight siblings, and six of us are home-schooled. I don’t know how she does it. Sometimes I hide out in the car, because the house is so loud. I’ve decided the car, the bathroom… or the closet is a good place for a quiet room. (laughs).”

You get to do a bunch of traveling now, right?

“Yes, I love it.”

That’s kind of a getaway.

“Yeah, it’s a good getaway. It’s so cute though, because I went away for three months to film WITS Academy, and then I came back and my little brother (who is almost three) gets a little scared every time I leave. Every time I just walk out of the room, he’s like ‘Okay, goodbye!’ Like it’s going to be our last goodbye. (laughs).”

Aww. So what are you hoping to do next? Or when are you going to find out if there’s going to be a season two, since you’ve already wrapped on the first season?

“I don’t know when we find out if there’s a season two. I’m hoping for it. But right now, on the break, I’m learning guitar and practicing singing and dancing and auditioning.”

Well, you’ll have to let us know if there’s anything else we should be looking for you in.

“Yeah, I hope there will be!”

 

Watch W.I.T.S. Academy on Nickelodeon every weeknight at 7pm EST/6pm CST.

 

Written by Erica Schaaf

Erica is a former social worker and mother of three who has been writing since she was a child. She currently writes fanfiction for the Veronica Mars and The 100 fandoms and is published on Kindle Worlds as well as fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org. She hopes to one day have the chance to be a fly on the wall on set of her fave shows while filming!

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