Tetona Jackson plays the character of Kendall, an investigative journalist who comes across an interesting story about two best friends known as the Christmas Queens of the North Pole who have consistently won the local Best Holiday House decorating competition for years. However, an argument puts their friendship to the test and Kendall takes advantage of this opportunity to get to the bottom of the story as she believes it could help launch her career.
Not only is Tetona a talented actress, but also a figure skater who won the overall bronze medal at the 2006 National Showcase, a theatrical skating competition hosted by the United States Figure Skating Association. She also appeared in “Disney on Ice Presents Let’s Celebrate!” as the legendary Princess Tiana, a national touring production.
The movie also stars Kyle Richards (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad, Life in Pieces), Carlos Ponce (Netlix’s Julie and the Phantoms), Alec Mapa (Doom Patrol, Ugly Betty), Kyle Selig (Broadway’s Mean Girls) and Damon Dayoub (Stitchers, NCIS) to name a few.
How did you start your career as an actor and figure skater? What inspired you to transition to the entertainment industry?
I started skating when I was around 5 years old. I instantly fell in love with it and wanted to train and compete. Then, straight out of high school l went on tour with Disney on Ice for about 4 years. I was always drawn to the entertainment industry because of my dad being a Jazz musician.
Also, my aunt is a flamenco dancer so I’ve always kind of been intertwined in entertainment to a certain degree being since I was a baby. But, I think going on some of the gigs with my dad when I was younger and being able to watch backstage and watch legends perform was for me, one of the main things and reasons why I was so drawn to it. At the time, I didn’t know what in the entertainment industry I want to do but there was something about that feeling and watching these people perform that was very exciting for me.
To be honest, even as a kid I was drawn to acting, there was something I really loved about acting. But because of figure skating, I never really had the time to put into acting so I was stuck with skating because I also loved it. However, I did do musical theatre in high school which was really fun for me. I loved performing on stage. There is an adrenaline rush on stage that you cannot compare. Even as a kid I loved acting, I was that one kid that would force her parents and family to sit down after coming home from work and make her watch her perform.
What was your first project as a professional actor? Can you walk us through the process of preparing for the role? What was your biggest takeaway from this experience?
My first project was the show on MTV called Happy Land. I had booked a small role on the show and then they ended up not using the character [haha] but that was my first professional job as an actor. My first “big” role was Stolen From Suburbia. That one was a pretty heavy role about human trafficking. I dove into it and prepared like I do any other role. I sit with the character in mind, get to know the character, and if there are certain things I need to research I go through that process and take it from there.
From that experience, my biggest takeaway was that I was very driven as an actress. It left me wanting to hustle and book more. I really enjoyed being on set and it was something that I truly found like I wanted to do.
What films and which actors have been the most influential to you?
Lucille Ball, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington….there are so many actors it is difficult to pinpoint. Even movies. It depends on the mood I am in and what I kind of fall into the week or month. So to me, it is difficult to pick a favorite movie or project because it just depends on the day. The movie Boomerang was pretty iconic and to be able to be a part of that legacy has been amazing.
Congratulations on your role in Peacock’s first feature film, The Housewives of the North Pole! Why did you want to be involved in this project?
I’ve always wanted to do a Christmas movie. There is something about the holidays and the holiday movies that I find so heartwarming and fun and just relaxing. And so when this movie came up, it was fun, it was cute and I just wanted to be a part of it.
Can you walk us through the process of auditioning for the role?
The process of auditioning for this role was very similar to most of my other audition processes [haha]. I got the email from my agent about the movie, with info on the audition, the character, and the script. Now, this is post-pandemic lockdown, so I didn’t go in person for the audition. So after reading the script, I filmed the audition, sent it back, and didn’t hear back so I assumed I wasn’t moving forward. Until one day my agent and manager called together and they said they loved me and want to cast me in the role!!!
Can you tell us more about your character Kendall? What do you love about this character? How did you bring the character to life?
Kendall is a reporter / journalist. She goes into this little town called North Pole hoping to write a story for this magazine called American Life. American Life is very dear to her because she grew up with her mom reading [it]. So she goes to North Pole and wants to write a story on these two women played by Betsy Brandt and Kyle Richards.
In regards to what shaped the character, I feel like I kind of relate to Kendall in the sense that she is very meticulous in her work and passionate about her job. She’s very good at what she does. So I kind of tapped into my passion for what I do and brought that to life in Kendall.