Meet Christina Marie Moses. This distinctive, natural beauty is set to make her mark on the acting world with the new CW drama Containment. Showrunner Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries) is unleashing this terrifying drama tonight and you’ll never look at the world or germs the same way again. After a fast-spreading, deadly virus is unleashed on Atlanta, Georgia, the government is forced to issue an urban quarantine and Christina’s character, Jana Mayfield, is smack dab in the middle of it.
Talk Nerdy With Us had the chance to speak with this spirited actress about overcoming shyness, doomsday prepping and realizing a dream.
What can you tell us about Containment and your role as Jana Mayfield?
Containment…there is a viral outbreak in the city of Atlanta, Georgia and it happens very quickly so they have to issue a vast urban quarantine in a number of hours. Because of that people aren’t properly warned, of course, and everyone is just kind of torn apart. Friends, lovers, families. Wherever they are at the time of the quarantine they have to stay there. A lot of people can’t go home and all of that. Jana actually gets stuck in the quarantine. We open the pilot, she’s supposed to move in with her boyfriend Lex, who is the police Major and she gets cold feet, again, (laughs) which is a little bit of her pattern, due to her not only fierce independent spirit, but also because she had a pretty rough childhood. She tries not to, but she carries it around with her a bit. The trust and intimacy issue is a little bit difficult for her. Even though she wants it, she wants it so bad. So anyway, they have a little argument, she goes to work, changes her mind, realizes of course she wants to live with this man that she loves and goes to meet him, but that’s when the quarantine is being put up and she gets stuck. Stuck on the inside.
That leads to my next question. It’s because of her trust issues that she inadvertently ends up on the inside, while he’s on the outside. How is that separation going to affect them and her reluctance to commit?
If anything it makes their love grow stronger. Their bond grows stronger. Jana has a lot of time to reflect on the mistakes that she’s made. And it kind of jump-starts this desire in her to not succumb to her fears and insecurities anymore. I don’t think she’s quite aware of that, because right now she’s just in survivor mode. And yeah, she is regretting it, for sure, but she ends up channeling that to survive. I mean, she already knows how to survive, like she’s gained some really great survival tools over the years because of how she grew up, bouncing around from group home to group home. In this case, she has a lot of people she ends up taking care of and working with, which is something she would never really do before. ‘Cause having people rely on her, and her them, is just something that’s vulnerable and risky. It subconsciously kind of ignites, and consciously, ignites this need to not take life for granted anymore. Because, look, you miss out. And then she’s separated and she has no idea if she’s ever going to get back to Lex again. She’s trying to get to him, he’s trying to figure out a way to get to her…or end this whole thing so he can be with her again.
They say a crisis like this really brings out a person’s true nature. Would you say that’s an accurate thing to say about these characters?
Yeah, yeah, definitely. That’s what’s so beautiful about this show, that it’s really about character. I mean, the virus itself is a character, right? And how we are relating to this virus and relating our lives and this horror and this terror, but it’s a story about human connection and survival and growth and really learning who you become when you’re faced with such horrific circumstances. Every single character goes through that, they go through some sort of change. We see other characters in the show who either completely rise up or they fall to their weakest self. Their lesser selves.
So, aside from surviving the outbreak, what do you think Jana’s biggest challenge is going to be in the crisis? Is it helping others to survive? Is it fighting some instinct within her?
To not seclude herself and to try and do this on her own. That’s her biggest challenge. You know she’s always been there for Suzy, and taking care of Suzy, that’s her best friend, who also works with her and has grown up with her in group homes. So that’s easier for her to do because she loves her so much, but she would rather not do that either. She’d rather just have Suzy be on the outside and she can pull away. So her biggest challenge is to fight her reclusive nature. You know, who can handle it by herself, and not deal with anyone, and do everything on her own terms. Like an asset and a liability.
One of the things I really enjoy about the show, I should say love and fear, is how true it feels. This could really happen. I’m curious to know if the story has had a personal impact on you. Have you done any doomsday prepping or hoarding yet?
(Laughs) I know, I totally should, but I haven’t. I get properly freaked out about it. But I haven’t quite started my survival kit yet, which we should. Like we totally should do that, whether it’s just natural disasters, like earthquakes and all of that. It definitely has me thinking more. I’m very aware of just how unsanitary everything is.
Right! And that we do have vulnerabilities.
Yeah, we touch things, and we touch our faces and we shake hands and we just don’t really think about it. With a virus like that, most viruses don’t pass that way, like the cold or flu sure, but we know how to deal with that, but with this particular virus it spreads through any bodily fluid: sneezing, coughing, spit, sweat. You touch it, you touch your eyes. Done. You cough and you breathe in the spores. Done. It’s definitely really frightening and has you look at things a lot differently.
I understand this is your first series role. What’s it like to be part of an ensemble cast and ongoing story where you really get to develop the character?
It’s such a dream! It really is. I’m super, super grateful. Especially really grateful to be part of, for my first time, this particular cast, with this particular network and Julie (Plec) because they love actors so much and they really give us a lot of creative freedom and welcome our input. They really have our backs creatively, businesswise, across the board. The cast is so talented and we just really clicked, like all of us right off the bat. We work really hard and we play. We really have a nice balance of that and we support each other on and off-screen. It’s a really great working relationship and a lot of friendships have developed. To be part of a story like this where there’s so much love and the questioning of the gray areas of morality that every single human being can relate to…I’m really honored to tell that story.
I read that you really struggled to overcome shyness to pursue your career as an actress. I think a lot of people can empathize with that. Can you tell us what you did to work through that?
I think it was a lot of steps in stages. Each time I would overcome something and then it would be a deeper layer of it. I don’t particularly feel, most of the time, like our issues go away completely. There’s deeper layers of them to work through or sometimes our relationship to them changes. It doesn’t become so much of an issue anymore. It was like 8th grade, I remember I was so shy, and a lightbulb went off in my head and I said I’m tired of this, I’m not being myself so let me just not do this anymore. So I just started to say how I really felt and stopped caring so much what other people thought of me. That was like the first layer.
As time went on, how it relates to my art, for example, when I started to do theater as a hobby, at the time it was just a hobby, another artistic form for me, or outlet, my love for it was stronger than my fear. So then I would just focus more on that. Then going to do plays on a bigger scale, that was another hurdle to step through. When I finally did a one-woman show, like, oh my God, I was terrified, but then again my commitment to the story was bigger, my love for it, my need to push myself was stronger than wanting to stay… this small. So now when it comes up, whether I’m auditioning for something that I really, really want and the stakes are a little bit higher, I have to remind myself of everything I’ve ever done before. I’m like, oh right, see, I did that and I was scared. So, okay, let’s do this. It’s not like the fear goes away, or the shyness goes away, per se, it’s just the habit to identify with it isn’t as strong because my desire to grow, my desire to express myself, and to try new things, the things that really fill me up is stronger.
You’ve done a lot of work educating kids through art. How did you come by that passion and are you still able to do so with your new commitments?
When I was living in New York I got really into political education. Education is just super, super important. Political education was the bent…towards more multi-cultural education. Really taking into account that kids learn very differently, based on their upbringing, based on where they lived, based on…we’re all just unique individual people and they’re not all going to fit into your basic standard education mold.
I was studying race politics, ethnic politics, kind of political science, the school I went to we kind of made our own curriculum. I started to teach at a charter school, I was an assistant to kindergarteners, it was a year-round school. They gave me the summer, my own class, it was a fifth and sixth-grade class. They would rotate. Every two weeks I’d have to come up with my own curriculum and I fell in love with it.
It was in Harlem. I learned through the arts, that’s just how I expressed myself. I thought it would be really…there were so many programs, it was part of what I was studying in school, in college, and I thought if kids can express themselves and take what they can’t do at home or maybe what they haven’t been able to do in school before or things they aren’t able to articulate about their experience and be able to channel it in some artistic, and at the same time learn about history, learn about current events, and be able to express what they’re learning through art that would be amazing. So that’s what I did. I did that for a few years, actually. I don’t do that anymore. But I started teaching acting. And they’re not kids. Some are my age, some are in their early twenties, and I do actually have a few teens from when I used to teach. Now I just sub because of my commitment. I don’t want to take on a full class because when I leave them I don’t feel that’s so fair. (Laughs) It’s absolutely the biggest joy in the world to watch people discover themselves, and discover their potential. To do this thing that they’re afraid of and discover their own hearts. There’s nothing like that feeling. And to be part of that with them. It’s a gift.
Are you working on any other projects?
I have a guest star role on Rosewood that’ll be airing Wednesday, April 27th. It’s a show on Fox. So stay tuned for that. And then I’m just working on my own. I’m writing right now, working on writing a docuseries and my own personal projects.
A docuseries? Can you tell us what it’s about?
It’s kind of what we’re talking about…about people discovering who they are. Another thing I’m really passionate about is young girls, women in general, providing accurate representation of themselves in the media and history so that they can grow up empowered. We’re creating a docuseries where we’re going throughout history and pulling out the mysteries and the female contributions throughout time that we have never heard of, so women can have a complete telling of themselves through history.
That’s amazing! For my last question, as we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us we want to know what it is you nerd out about?
(Laughs) I nerd out about food. Health food, supplements, herbal healthy things, because I can’t really do too many dairy and gluten so…and desserts! Any dessert. Oh my God, raw desserts especially! So any dessert that has healthy things I can eat, because I love dessert. I geek out about elephants. Beauty supply products, but all organic-y kind of stuff.
*Featured image photo credit: Marc Cartwright