Taking her first step into professional acting with roles in upcoming low budget genre pictures Zombie Girl Diary and Dracula’s War, Eliza Jayne first started out as a model while still in her teens, competing in a Miss Pennsylvania beauty pageant before progressing to the small screen as a member of the Paranormal Task Force in the TV show Haunt U, allowing Jayne to indulge in her lifelong fascination with the supernatural while being trained in how to investigate paranormal activities.
While continuing to model and running her own photography company, Jayne is set to appear in several independent productions within the horror and fantasy genres, the first of which will be Zombie Girl Diary, in which she will appear alongside Chainsaw Sally director Jimmyo Burril from a script by first-time writer Mike Pine. Following this, Jayne will then take on roles in Dracula’s War and Make Believe Time, working with horror veteran Lynn Lowry, best known for her work on George A. Romero’s The Crazies and David Cronenberg’s Shivers.
Eliza Jayne talks about modelling, breaking into the film industry and hunting for ghosts.
Did you intentionally use modelling as a platform to other ventures such as television and acting, or did you always dream of becoming a model?
Actually no, I just started acting as a kid because it was fun and began doing modelling as well.
How supportive are models to one another and do you find there is a lot of unnecessary competition?
That is a difficult question to answer. Obviously there is competitiveness in any industry, but bottom line is a casting director or agent is looking for a specific thing for a role or magazine feature, so there is no sense in the unnecessary competition. You either have the look for that specific project, or you don’t. Can’t compare apples to oranges, ya know?
Do you often work with a central concept or a theme running through your photo shoots and how conscious are you of avoiding repeating yourself?
Some have themes and others do not. I try not to repeat clothing, although it is hard not to when you are a starving artist. Modelling is an art, so I push for a story in each image I shoot. You should be able to see some sort of emotion, a glimpse if you will, like a still from a movie.
How involved are you with the business side of your career and do you feel your skin is thick enough to survive in what can often be a ruthless industry?
I think to live life these days, you need thick skin in such a disposable world, where everything is replaceable and nothing seems good enough. You have to be able to know what your self worth is and not look for it in others. With that being said, I do most of the business side myself, with the help of a few friends. The bottom line is no one can or will promote or believe in you unless you believe in yourself, so I push hard because I believe in my talents.
Is there a specific photo shoot that you feel has captured your spirit and best represents who you are, both as a model and a person?
Every photo shoot captures a glimpse of who I am, from being a tomboy who loves to work on cars, to seeing my softer and more romantic side.
Is modelling often too sexualised, with the subjects often semi-naked and in suggestive poses, or do you feel this is one of the main functions of modelling, for the model to be free to express herself whoever they want?
I don’t look at things that way. We are human being filled with emotions, desire, all of which are beautiful and make us human. If you can look at an image (sexual or not) and feel it, know what it is saying with no words, that is artwork; a model is merely an artist.
How did you become involved with Paranormal TV’s Haunt U and are you a strong believer in ghosts and the afterlife? What kind of influence do these beliefs have on you as a person?
I met with the casting directors and was interviewed for the show. I do believe that there is an unexplained energy that exists, we call them spirits, ghosts; whatever they are, I have witnessed paranormal phenomenon. I think it helps me be more openminded and that is how it influences my life.
How accurate do you feel the common assumptions are on ghost hauntings, with the spirits often trapped due to some kind of unrest and attempting to make contact with the living? Would you say that they are often portrayed inaccurately in popular fiction?
I think because we can never really know why spirits are here, it’s left us with so much speculation and, like anything in life we try to reason, we come up with answers we think will fit. Like putting together a puzzle, although we do not really have an answer.
Recently you have moved to acting with a handful of low budget films, the first being Zombie Girl Diary. Can you talk a little about your role in this project and how you have used your past experience in entertaining to prepare you for taking on other characters?
I began as a kid acting in commercials and then plays for school. My role was Tom’s daughter, Sammy. This experience was new to me since it was my first independent film. However, the acting part came easy.
Do you find that because you have been comfortable modelling, many filmmakers want to cast you in roles that require you to wear little clothing? Are you worried that you may get typecast because of this?
Funny you ask that; I do get asked to be in more risqué roles, but I do not mind that. I am open to trying new roles and projects.
Another you have been working on is Make Believe Time, a crowd-funded horror that has been rumoured to star genre veteran Lynn Lowry.
Yes, I am so excited to work with her. I had met her in the past at a horror convention and she was a delight to meet. I am looking forward to working with her. I feel the more you push yourself, the better you do. And that’s what I do each day, so my skills will continue to grow, but I will always have a lot to learn.