Earlier this year, Devyn Nekoda attended the film premiere of her latest project Sneakerella, which was released on Disney+ in May, with Devyn playing Sami alongside a cast including Chosen Jacobs as El and Lexi Underwood as Kira King, having filmed Sneakerella during the pandemic. Since booking her first job in the industry as Luisa in Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight, Devyn has had numerous projects including Annedroids as Charlie, her first lead role as Vanessa Morita in Backstage, Sage in the all-Canadian cast of Utopia Falls and Riley in the Netflix series Ginny & Georgia. Currently, Devyn is filming in Montreal, having been announced for the cast of the next Scream film, which is set to have a 2023 release. Devyn chatted to us recently about playing Sami in the Disney+ feature film Sneakerella, her time in the all-Canadian cast of Utopia Falls and her first lead role of Vanessa Morita in Backstage.
In the new Disney+ feature film Sneakerella, you play the role of Sami, can you tell us about your character and what was she like to play?
Sami is the best friend that everyone needs. She is loyal and someone who will have your back no matter what. I think that’s a quality that everyone looks for in a friend and is what makes her so special. I had the most fun playing this character because she really is just the best (with cool clothes too).
How was it on set of the film and working with the rest of the cast?
We filmed Sneakerella in the height of the pandemic, which was very new to the entire cast and crew. We had such an amazing team of people which was extremely important while navigating these new and weird times together. The whole cast is like family to me, and although I was filming 12+ hours every day, I felt like I didn’t work once.
How did you find the experience attending the film premiere earlier this year and what was it like seeing the completed film?
The premiere of the movie is a new core memory for me. It was so surreal being in one of my favourite cities, New York with some of my most favourite people. The first day I got there I was walking through Times Square with my partner and I saw a Sneakerella teaser on a giant billboard and couldn’t help but cry tears of joy. It was a moment I will never forget, and watching the movie for the first time was so, so special. The team at Disney went above and beyond making sure it was a perfect night and they did not disappoint.
Do you have any stand-out highlights from filming as Sami in Sneakerella?
The entire filming experience was some of the best months of my life but if I could choose one moment it would have to be spending my 21st birthday on set. They decorated my trailer with streamers and balloons, got me the most delicious cupcakes with the sweetest card, signed by the entire cast and had everyone sing Happy Birthday to me before we started filming. A birthday I’ll never forget!
You play the role of Riley in Netflix series Ginny & Georgia, how is it being part of the series?
Being a part of Ginny & Georgia was an amazing experience especially because I was sharing the screen with Sara Waisglass again, who I filmed Degrassi with years before. I always love running into industry friends on set, it makes the experience that much more memorable. I think I was one of the only ones that knew while filming that the show was going to be a huge success. I play a small role and only had a few days on set but I was so happy to witness the main cast and team make something so incredible for the world to fall in love with.
Can you tell us about your character Riley and is there anything you enjoy most about playing her?
My favourite part of Riley is that she loves the arts. Any time I get to dance or be active in a project is my favourite because that’s where I got my start!
In 2020, you were in the cast of Utopia Falls, what was the show like to work on and can you say more about it?
Filming Utopia Falls was also an incredible experience. We were working with an all-Canadian cast, which is something you don’t see a lot, so it was extra, extra special to me. While filming, my character, Sage goes through some traumatic events, which in the end makes her even stronger. This was the first time I was able to do my own stunts, which still to this day was my favourite scene to ever film!
Was there anything that drew you to Utopia Falls and what was it like reading the script for the first time?
I initially really wanted to book this job because of the creator, RT!, whom I worked with on Degrassi and again on Backstage. He is someone very special to me and I love all of his work. However, then I read the concept/scripts and I was blown away. I had never heard of a story remotely close to Utopia Falls, which made me completely fall in love with Sage and the whole show. Imagining a world without hip hop, fashion, art etc. is something that you can’t even fathom, but somehow he made it make sense and I think we created something really, really beautiful.
What are some of your favourite memories from playing Vanessa Morita in Backstage?
Some of my favourite memories on Backstage now are, because of my grandpa who sadly passed away a few years ago, he was there every single day with me (along with my lovely grandma) never complaining and making the whole cast and crew laugh. I’m so grateful that he got to witness that big moment in my career and we got to share it with each other.
Do you remember how you felt booking the role of Vanessa and what was she like to play?
I will never forget when I booked the role of Vanessa. It was my first lead role and one that I wanted so bad! I remember going to the dance audition for it with all of my best friends from my studio back home and then also auditioning for the acting role of Vanessa. When I got the call, I was on my way to dance class and I could not stop crying. It was a huge accomplishment for me and something that I felt I really deserved.
How was your time playing Charlie in Annedroids?
While I was filming Annedroids, it was only my second or third project so I was still a little nervous and new to the acting scene. While I was there, I remember telling my mom “I really like the girl who plays Anne, she’s super nice”, flash forward 10 years later, that girl is my very best friend. We owe it all to Annedroids!
What do you remember most from working on Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight as Luisa?
Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight was my VERY first job in the industry. I had absolutely no idea what to expect but it was because of that experience that I decided to dedicate my entire life to the craft. I think the most memorable moments from filming that was all of the dance rehearsals. Friends I had made from dancing competitively over the years were also working on that project so we always had the best time in rehearsals and then getting to see them come to life was unreal.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start?
I started acting by accident, to be honest. I went to a dance audition for Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight and got pulled aside by the director, who said that I resembled what they were wanting for one of the lead roles, that we now know as Luisa. I was very quick to say no and that I’m not an actor but my dad calmed me down and convinced me to read the scene. Two days later, I got the call that I booked the part and I’ve been in love with it ever since. It’s a huge part of why I’m a strong believer in “everything happens for a reason”.
Do you have any favourite TV shows and films to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I have a long list of my favourite films but the entire Marvel Universe is something that I really look up to. That is probably my biggest goal in life… to be a part of ANYTHING they create, as long as I get to do my own stunts, of course.
Can you say about some of the other projects you’ve worked on over the years, which has included The Swap and Degrassi: The Next Generation, and do you have any coming up that you can talk about?
I have been very fortunate to have been working on some incredible projects from a young age. I am at my happiest and most like myself when I’m on set, which is why I will try my best to continue to do this until I’m no longer able.
I am currently in Montreal filming the next Scream movie, which is still hard for me to believe. This is by far the most rewarding project I’ve been a part of and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. I can’t say anything about the story or my character but it’s going to be one for the books!
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