Nuha Jes Izman, like many, was a die-hard fan of the first season of “Yellowjackets.” It’s a bit more unusual that she would go on to land a role in the second season of the hit show mere months after graduation from drama school.
“I graduated in April, and then I was on set on ‘Yellowjackets’ by September,” she says.
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In the new season, currently airing, she plays Crystal, a member of the Yellowjackets soccer team.
“I like that she doesn’t really give a s–t. She’s so authentic and true to herself. I mean, they’ve been stuck out in the woods for months now, and she’s still singing her show tunes and just trying to find light and love in this scary situation. I respect her a heck of a lot for that,” Izman says. “It kind of reminds me of that thing of when you’re a kid, you feel like you can do anything. I think I needed to remind myself of that and then Crystal fell into my lap and I was like, ‘Yeah, I can do anything.’”
The actress was a fan of the first season of the show and was thrilled when an audition landed in her inbox. But she didn’t have much time to self-tape.
“I had a really busy work schedule: I was a waitress at this restaurant and I remember having to leave for work within the next hour,” she says. “So I just taped one out, rushed to tape, sent it out, and kind of just prayed to the gods that they would see it and they would like it. And thankfully they did.”
Crystal was described as a musical theater enthusiast, which hit home for Izman, who grew up doing theater in high school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“I grew up in a household full of artists, very different. My brothers are musicians. My dad was a writer and he loved writing plays. When I was 3 or 4, he started a theater company called the Tree Theater Group. And what we did was exactly that. We traveled the world singing songs about planting trees and performing plays to raise awareness on environmental issues,” she says. “So it was definitely a very enthusiastic household.”
She moved to New York for college, knowing she wanted to try acting full time.
“The thing with being back home is that everyone kind of knew all of your business because everyone kind of knew each other. So being in New York really allowed me to step into myself,” Izman says. “I think being away from the community that I grew up in — I’m so grateful that I grew up within that community. But I think being away and being on my own allowed me to get to know myself, something that I’d been neglecting for so many years because people would ask me what my favorite movie was, and I would look at them looking for the right answer in their eyes to say instead of having my own opinion on what my favorite movie or a color was. So it was nice being in New York because I could step into who I really was as a person, which I think is so important.”
She’s also found a sense of community within the “Yellowjackets” cast.
“We had such a fun time, which is kind of like a juxtaposition because our show is on the darker side. But on set, we were just goofing around a lot,” she says. “We had a group of us who in between takes would rush to one of our trailers to keep up with the ‘Love Is Blind’ episodes that were coming out.”
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