Jackie R. Jacobson Rides The Next Wave

If someone were to tell Jackie R. Jacobson back in January that she would be starting her own YouTube channel, she would probably be questioning where they got such an idea from.

As she states in her first video on the site, she told herself for the “longest time” that she would not start a YouTube channel. However, as other celebrities like Brie Larson have recently discovered, a personal YouTube channel allows their fans to get closer to them without the picture-perfect mask that Instagram provides.

“I think what mainly inspired me to do it is everybody on my Instagram kind of telling me different video ideas that they would want me to do,” the actress begins. “In quarantine, I feel like I have been able to, in a way, get closer to the fans, like going on live and just talking to people more often, now that I have the time. So I think my YouTube channel is really just going to be me trying to have the fans get to know me better and get to know them better.”

The first step to this was through a Q&A video with questions taken from her Instagram account that fans submitted. She discusses Malibu Rescue, school, and even her relationship status.

When talking about what else fans can expect from her videos, Jackie says of the content, “[It will be] my day to day and what I’m doing most of the time, [getting] to know me on a more personal level. I feel like on my Instagram, there’s times where my personality comes through but it’s mainly just, you know, pictures.” The actress even addresses this further in her Q&A video when asked how she stays positive.

“I want [for] my YouTube channel for people to really get to know the real me,” she continues, stating that she has a couple of videos already lined up.

Jackie teases, “There’s going to be, obviously, some guest stars from Malibu Rescue in there, so I’m sure the fans would love that.” Her grin is palpable in her voice as she speaks, her excitement for what she has planned evident. “But yeah, I just really wanted people to know me better. I’m excited that [the fans are] excited because it feels like people actually want to see what I’m doing.”

YouTube videos aren’t the only things that Jackie has been filming.

With the global pandemic initially causing Hollywood to come to a stop, all phases of production were halted and everyone sent home. Though some auditions already had been done by self-tapes for years – a process in which an actor films their audition and sends it in rather than performing their audition in front of the casting team – all auditions became self-tapes.

“In quarantine, all of my auditions are self-taped so I have more time with the script and more time to develop different things,” Jackie says when asked how this time at home has affected her approach to acting. “I think if it has affected [it] at all, I think it’d be in the way that I just have more time to develop a character and pick out an outfit and stuff like that where, in the real world, you’d have an audition the next day and you’d get the script the night before.”

Quarantine has also taught Jackie quite a bit about herself. “I think quarantine taught me [about] the people that I want to have in my life and the people that I don’t really need anymore,” she reveals. “I’ve also learned to become more at peace with myself and it’s okay to be by myself and have that time to reflect.” She explains how much of a change that was for her as most of the time, she found herself in the ‘Go, go, go’ mindset. “I’d always get really upset if I was alone,” she says of that time.

“But I think quarantine has taught me it’s good to have those moments by yourself.” She continues, “Really get to know me and figure out what I want to be doing in the future.”

I’m excited that [the fans are] excited because it feels like people actually want to see what I’m doing.

In fact, it has helped her to create a dream board which, according to the actress, is hung in her room and full of her goals for the future. “I think [quarantine] gave everybody a lot of time to think about what they actually want in life now. I think it did a lot of really good things for me mentally.”

The creation of the dream board leads the conversation with Jackie to what she hopes to accomplish with her career over the next five years.

“My dream role has always been to play a really badass Russian spy,” she says excitedly. “Russian is my first language so I’ve always wanted to kind of have like an homage to that in a movie. And now that I’ve done my very simple stunt work on Malibu Rescue,” she says, amusement in her tone as she references the bumps and bruises she got from completing an obstacle course for the second film, “I would love to do a really cool, action-packed movie.”

In addition to that, Jackie also has her eyes set on playing a live-action Disney princess – namely Sleeping Beauty. “That’s definitely something I’d want to be a part of,” she says, thinking of if Disney were to explore that particular fairytale again.

For now though, fans are able to enjoy Jackie in Malibu Rescue.

When Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave splashed onto Netflix in early August, fans of the original film and subsequent series were presented an action-packed new story featuring their favorite characters in a high stakes environment like they’ve never seen before.

Describing her character Dylan, Jackie says that she is hard-working, caring, and misunderstood. “She really tries her best to do what she can, but there’s always people trying to bring her down. But she doesn’t let them,” the actress says of Dylan. “Over the course of the movies and the show, she really finds her voice and figures out how to stand up for herself. So I think she’d be labeled as an underdog,” she declares, stating that through all of her experiences, her character has become a strong leader that many others doubted she’d ever be.

Thinking over Dylan’s journey from her first appearance in the Malibu Rescue film to the series and now the sequel, Jackie connects her own journey to her character.

“What was interesting is when Dylan starts out with note cards and then towards the end she doesn’t need them, it was kind of the same exact journey for me while I was filming Malibu Rescue,” Jackie shares. “When I first booked it, I was super unsure, I was super nervous.” She confesses, “I kind of felt like the underdog of the cast.”

The actress continues, “So me and Dylan related to each other in a lot of ways and I feel like, in a way, we kind of had each other’s back. I grew with Dylan and she grew with me, in a really cheesy way.” Jackie’s fondness slips into her voice, her smile mixing with her tone as well. “It was so nice to see that I was kind of going through the same journey as my character in a completely different situation,” she says.

I think the fact that she doesn’t let anybody tell her what she can and can’t do is so important.

“There were so many ways I could relate back to her. And then by the time we were done filming our second movie, it was like Dylan and I, there’s not much of a difference by the time I’m on set. So it was a good journey for the both of us to go through.”

What made this journey even better has been Jackie’s adoration of Dylan’s desire to keep pushing forward.

“I think the thing that I love the most about Dylan is that she doesn’t give up no matter how many times the Malibu kids would push her down or shame her or make her feel like she doesn’t deserve to be there.” She talks of how her character continually proves that she deserves to be there and says, “I think [that] is so admirable about her and honestly taught me a lot about myself as well. I think the fact that she doesn’t let anybody tell her what she can and can’t do is so important.”

Comparing how Jackie’s approach to Dylan changed from the first film to the second, she says, “When we filmed the very first movie and I got the script and we were doing rehearsals, every time I would go home, I’d be like, ‘Ugh!’” she begins, exaggerating a groan. “‘I’m nothing like Dylan! Like she’s so weird and awkward.’ I think by the time we did the second movie, I kind of embraced all of those things,” she says as her amusement is clear in her voice. “I just felt more comfortable letting myself go.”

Jackie praises the team behind the camera as well for their support as she took on the role of Dylan. “We had an amazing team of directors and our writers and everyone who made me feel so comfortable, but really just wanted me to be as goofy and awkward and nerdy as possible. I think that was something I struggled with in the first movie: not making myself look like a freak,” she admits with a soft laugh. “But by the time we did the second movie, it was like, ‘Oh, that’s just Dylan!’ So it didn’t feel like I had to try anything crazy, I just embraced her.”

One thing The Next Wave explores that previous Malibu Rescue entries only hinted at is Dylan’s romantic feelings for Tyler, played by Ricardo Hurtado. Over season one of the show, the two characters built a strong foundation and friendship, getting to know each other and support each other as friends.

Photo Credit: Rowan Daly

The grin on Jackie’s face is evident in her voice as she talks about delivering the long-awaited romance by audiences. “I was so excited to finally give the fans what they wanted in The Next Wave and explore those relationships,” she says.

“Everybody was super happy with Eric and Lizze, and then I think everyone was kind of anticipating what was going to happen with Dylan and Tyler,” says Jackie. “So I was excited to finally get into that. It was so much fun.” Describing exploring that part of Dylan’s character, she says, “It made me feel like, I don’t know, I was back in middle school having a little crush and getting all nervous.”

Jackie recalls, “The scenes were so cute! And Ricardo and I are so close, but it was kind of like we’re just feeding off of each other. It just made it so easy.”

Talking of the dynamic between herself and Ricardo, as well as the pressure of such a highly desired moment between their characters, Jackie says that they felt everything had to be perfect.

“‘Was that time the right time for the kiss scene? Was there another time we should have done the kiss scene?’” she recalls them considering. “But Ricardo and I – we all knew what everybody wanted. And I think both of us agreed like, ‘Alright, we have to fully commit to it. Flirting, like awkwardness because we need to sell this.’ So I think both of us made an agreement like, ‘We’re going to go all out!’”

Exploring Dylan’s romantic connection with Tyler wasn’t the only time that Jackie was able to go all out.

In The Next Wave, Malibu Beach is hosting an international Junior Rescue competition. After a massive bout of food poisoning leaves the champion United States team out of commission, the Flounders step up to the plate and go up against their biggest competitor – the Australian Junior Rescue team.

Part of the competition is a massive obstacle course that the team had been training to conquer. What makes it even better is that the cast did the course themselves.

It was so nice to see that I was kind of going through the same journey as my character in a completely different situation.

“I mean, I do have to say our amazing stunt doubles were standing nearby at all times,” Jackie begins through giggles. “But we mainly did most of our own stunts and I am probably the clumsiest person in the cast. I finished filming with a bruised eye, a bruised back, a scraped knee – I was a complete mess during the obstacle course but I’m glad I did it.”

Being able to complete such a tough, physical task was an accomplish for the actress. “I feel like, again, I was trying to prove to myself that I can do it and make it look like I have some kind of athletic ability.” Her amusement at herself shines through as she adds, “And you know, we have good editors so they made it look pretty good!” She does confess, “But I mean, I was a mess during that obstacle course.”

With that stunt work under her belt, there is one more thing that Jackie has been eagerly waiting to do on Malibu Rescue: drive the Vespa.

“The craziest thing is they wouldn’t let me ride my Vespa that I normally crash into the trash can,” she says, still amazed that she hasn’t yet when discussing the various stunts on the show. Jackie says how that entrance has been included in both movies and the show, but she wasn’t at the wheel for any of them. “That was something I was always super upset about.”

However, there is a silver lining on the horizon. “They always say, ‘If we’re coming back, we’ll let you ride it this time, don’t worry!’ So I’m just waiting for a chance to ride my little blue Vespa.”

In regards to if Netflix will renew the show and she’ll get that chance with the Vespa, Jackie gives nothing away.

“Right now, I can’t say anything, but we received so much love and support from this last movie that it kind of blew us all away,” she says. “What I want to say is thank you for that, but I don’t think there’s much else I can elaborate right now. I really hope I can give you guys an answer soon!”

While fans anticipate the fate of the show, Jackie does answer a few of the questions they sent in on TEENPLICITY’s social media.

When asked who the biggest joker on set was, Jackie immediately crowns Jeremy Howard who plays eccentric bus driver Vooch on the show. She continues to consider the question for a moment before adding, “Or I guess maybe me.” She reasons this by saying with a laugh, “I always wake everybody up from their naps when they don’t want to be woken up.” However, she’ll leave the title of joker to Jeremy.

Photo Credit: Rowan Daly

Considering the cast portrays characters who are on Junior Rescue and some are aspiring lifeguards, one has to wonder who would be the best lifeguard in real life. “I would probably say Bre [Yde] just because she’s like no nonsense. If there’s a problem, she’s honest,” Jackie says. “And, you know, she can be scary so she’s going to keep people in line and make sure everybody’s following the rules.”

Despite the many similarities the cast has with their characters, when asked who is most like the person they portray on-screen, Jackie laughs through a fake groan and answers, “Ricardo!” Her laughter dies down as she says, “He loves being Tyler. Tyler and Ricardo – there’s a very blurred line of the difference, which is so fun too because I’ve said he’s pretty much the same guy he is on set. Yeah, Ricardo is definitely most like his character.”

Having such a fun scene partner makes filming much easier, especially when it comes to Jackie’s favorite episode, the fifth which is titled ‘Stranger Flings’.

“It’s when Eric and Lizzie realize that they like each other. Then my mom comes into that episode and we meet her for the first time,” explains Jackie. “There’s a really sweet scene with Dylan and Tyler, and I just felt like that was a really good, feel-good episode. It was also directed by a female director,” she adds.

“We had a guest director come in that week and it was just really cool to do an episode like that from a female director’s point of view.”

The cast and crew are one of the biggest reasons that Jackie enjoys working on Malibu Rescue so much. “I think the fact that all of us have become really good friends, even the crew and the cast and I,” she says of what makes it so great. “I feel like I can call any one of our writers or directors for anything and I feel the same way about the cast. There’s that feeling of, ‘I can rely on them for whatever,’ [that] just made set so comfortable and exciting to come to every day because everybody on the set wants everybody to succeed and everybody wants to have a good day.”

The actress praises the positive environment that was created. “Everyone was helping each other with whatever anybody needed. It was just a really good group of people who genuinely cared about each other,” she says.

We had a guest director come in that week and it was just really cool to do an episode like that from a female director’s point of view.

She goes on to note what a rare bond they all have.

“It’s scary going into your next project.” She explains that this cast and crew became so close knit. “You never know what you’re going to get because you’re normally not that lucky. But we are so, so lucky with our cast and crew.”

Jackie hopes for as great of a working environment on Malibu Rescue wherever else she goes as she moves forward with her career. Though most of her work is being kept top secret at the moment, she does reveal, “I have two pilots filming next month, so I’m excited to get back to work.” Though she can’t say anything at the moment, she says, “I think I’ll be able to share once I’m on set, just not right now.”

Through it all, her appreciation remains high for her fans who have continually supported her and shared in her joy.

“Thank you so much,” she says directly to her fans.

Jackie tells TEENPLICITY, “All of the messages that they write, I see them all and they all mean the world to me. I’m doing this for them and I know they’re doing things for me. I’m just happy to have this amazing group of people behind me forever. I just want to make them proud.”

Malibu Rescue, Malibu Rescue: The Series, and Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave are all available to stream on Netflix now!

For all things Jackie R. Jacobson, be sure to follow her on Instagram and subscribe to her YouTube!

25. Television and radio production graduate. || I think some people underestimate the range and variety of things that interest younger generations. I'm determined not to.

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