[EXCLUSIVE] Jaicy Elliot Of Grey’s Anatomy On Never Apologising For Being Your Honest Self
Featured Image: Courtesy Of Jaicy Elliot; Photographer Michael Anaya; Hair & Make Up Allison Noelle; Stylist Brooke Shepherd
Feisty yet fearless. Strict, sarcastic, but ever-so helpful that it sometimes works against her. We’re all-too familiar with these types of scenarios and dichotomies. And if you’re a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy, then you’ll definitely know Taryn Helm — the unapologetic intern that’s strong and independent. So much so that quite a lot of people love the character and look up to her, and Jaicy can totally relate to her badassery and the importance of being your realest you.
Jaicy was also a star in the short digital series Grey’s Anatomy: B-Team. The show centres on the new interns’ first day as surgeons forced to tackle the pressures of high-stakes medicine and difficult patients under the watchful and stern eye of Chief Miranda Bailey.
Here, Jaicy shares with #TeamCLEO how she gave her audition her all and how she started out, what it means to play a character like Taryn and who she thinks are the real heroes behind the scenes.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you started out?
I am French American and I grew up in in the French Alps. Growing up in a small town was an incredible place for me to figure out what I wanted from life and eventually find theatre. At the age of 15 I auditioned for a play at the local theatre and was hired as part of the permanent cast. I was there three years and after graduating high school I moved to Paris where I attended a professional acting school. I was trained in theatre mostly in both English and French.
When I got my degree I moved to Los Angeles. Here I continued my theatre training and worked as a waitress. Being in Los Angeles really changed the rules of the game — suddenly I wasn’t only focused on theatre but discovered a new thirst for acting on screen. Working on a television show in Hollywood now seems like a crazy unbelievable evolution from my small town theatre dreams.
How did you land the role on Grey’s Anatomy and what was the audition process like for you?
Any audition process is always a little challenging, in very different ways. For Grey’s I was especially nervous simply because of the phenomenon that is Grey’s. Not only was I a massive fan of the show but this was my first real audition in Los Angeles. I remember being so stressed out that I kind of had a meltdown before the audition, which, I still believe to this day, relieved a lot of tension and grounded me in a way.
I walked in believing I would never get the part anyway and kind of wanted to get done with it which I think felt a lot like Taryn and played in my favour in the end. Everyone at Linda’s office was very nice and comforting and that was the only audition I went through before I was hired. I think I made sense for the role in part because Taryn felt familiar to me already.
I also remember walking out of the audition and feeling like I had done my job. I like to be over-prepared for an audition and so I felt like I had done what I set out to do. That’s as much as we can do as actors.
“It’s fun to play her sassiness — she doesn’t meant to be mean, she’s just honest and won’t apologise for it.”
What is your favourite thing about playing Taryn Helm?
I’ve had a great time being Taryn Helm. I feel like I know her so personally and in a lot of ways, she seems so similar to me. She’s almost like my cousin and I’ve grown very attached to her. I love that she comes off a little judgmental and short when in fact I know her to be sensitive and compassionate.
She’s strong and independent and she inspires me to be a little more myself. Sometimes I wish I had a little more of her in me. It’s also fun to play her sassiness — she doesn’t mean to be mean, she’s just honest and won’t apologise for it.
Do you relate to Taryn’s intern role in any way? Would you say that you and the role are similar or different?
From the first episode we shot to the one we did last week, I can’t help but feel like we’re on very, if not, strangely similar paths. When I started at Grey’s Anatomy she started at Grey Sloan. There’s been a lot of learning and assimilating over the past three years and there has definitely been a lot of life changes. I relate to her the same way you would relate to a family member’s life stories.
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Would you say that certain scenarios or situations are harder to play out and if so, can you explain why?
Being on Grey’s Anatomy you expect to do intense scenes with high stakes. The medical aspect can be a little intimidating in these specific moments. I’m so grateful for the writers and the medical staff we have on set that works with us daily. They make sure we understand what is happening and how it should affect us and/or the patients. As a kid, I always dreamed of maybe becoming a surgeon so these scenes are also really exciting to play. I’m always looking forward to a good dramatic medical situation!
What’s the most memorable moment that’s happened on set of Grey’s Anatomy to you?
Every time I work on set it’s a new discovery. I’m always amazed that I get to be part of this show and work with these people. I remember every time I meet a cast member, a producer, writer or crew. These people have become family to me and everyone is so talented. I have many embarrassing stories of starting out on set, as a brand new actress in Hollywood but the most memorable moments are for sure the first times. The first time I walked into my trailer, the first time I went to a table read, the first time I walked the halls of Grey Sloan. Everything is so iconic on that show, it all feels like walking in a dream that I hope to not wake up from.
If there’s something you would like to tell young actors, what would it be?
I’ve learned a lot these past three years, about how a set works, about how Hollywood operates, about what it means to be a working actor.
But the most important lesson I’ve learned is to try and hold on to what makes me ME. No one can do that as good as you do it and that’s what people want to see. Strive to be your honest self and that will inspire people to do the same, stay humble and grateful.
Who do you look up to on set?
I look up to the crew. Obviously, the cast is amazing and I’m learning so much from them and they’ve all offered up precious advice and lessons that they’ve picked up along the way. I’m always amazed at the quality of work that everyone brings and how committed these actors are to delivering their stories with vulnerability and truth.
That said, I’m incredibly in awe of the team that works on Grey’s. A lot of the crew has been there from the start and everyone is the best at what they do. It’s amazing watching all these people do their job so well, it’s a really well-oiled machine. This crew works incredibly long hours but they are always on their game and that allows for the set to run smoothly. I’m humbled by their dedication and commitment to making it work. Cheers to them!
“Strive to be your honest self and that will inspire people to do the same, stay humble and grateful.”
Who or what inspires you?
I like a good underdog. I’m truly inspired by stories of people who have fought hard for their dream. There is so much strength in a person who has had to negotiate every step of their life, I always try to remember that and hopefully it gives me the perspective I need to keep moving forward.
What do you like to do on your day off?
I like to rest. Doing what we do in Los Angeles can be tiring physically but also emotionally. I think it’s important for me to find my quiet and safe space when I have time off. I like to read and cook, it brings me peace and centres me. Other then that I work out quite a bit and also see my friends and family, it’s also important for me to express and feel love as much as I can.
Favorite go-to look when you’re not working?
I like a good bohemian chic look. I usually go with simple colors and designs then add as much jewelry and glitters as I can. It’s very French of me.
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Catch Jaicy on Grey’s Anatomy.