LOGO_ON-AIR_Quest-colorThe Quest is a reality competition show set in the fantasy world setting of Everealm. Twelve Paladins must endure training to find the one true hero and defeat the enemy, Verlox. We will never forget that she was the woman who proudly learned it all from her imagination!

A thank you to @Session_Diva for the pictures!

Jasmine Leilani Kyle can be found @JasmineLeiylani

 

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Sir Ansgar asking Jasmine where she learned everything.

 

Tina Degenhart: How did you hear about The Quest? And how did your audition process go?

Jasmine Leilani Kyle: I got a sort of banner type poster in a Facebook message. I believe this was sent out to a lot of people, kind of an all points bulletin about an audition for a new show. I actually ignored the thing for like a week! Then someone in my renaissance faire circle asked around if anyone else had gotten that and it stuck in my head for another day. I went back and looked, and sure enough after researching the casting company, turns out it was legit! I freaked out a bit, because the description sounded AWESOME and I was afraid I’d missed my chance. I responded rather quickly after that, and was lucky enough that they were still looking for people. After that things moved rather quickly. Skype interview with the casting director (who is awesome), then a meeting with them (I was lucky enough not to have to go to a “cattle call” or big audition). Guess they liked me, because next thing you know I was on my way to LA to the final interviews and then I was in!

TD: Social media is blowing up over this show! How are you handling the new found celebrity status?

JLK: I’m enjoying it. Its really not overwhelming like I’m sure it could be. There are 12 of us, plus the executive producers (who are super active online as you know), and of course the talented actors from Austria. Were all sharing what attention is being given to the show. I think I’m sort of in the mid-ground for that, and I’m thankful that its a level I can handle! Its a blessing, because I see how the attention can affect people negatively on other shows (or at least you hear about it all the time). Some Paladins are way more popular than others, but I think its fair to say we all get some form of attention. I feel we are SUPER lucky, we have a literal army of fans, and they have all (from what I have experienced so far) been very nice and respectful. I’ve gotten recognized a few times, and every time it throws me off in the best way. I’m hoping to use whatever of it I can to do some good in any way. If that be just encouraging The Quest fans one by one, or just representing women of color and mothers in the geek community. I think that would make it all the more worthwhile.

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Small but mighty!

 

TD: What was your favorite moment of the entire season? 

JLK: Though I have HUGE love for the jousting challenge (I’ve had a dream to be a knight for a while, and I got to live it for a day). But I would have to say it was a moment that didn’t make it into the show. The first night we all made our way to the common room. We were wired and beyond tired, but we couldn’t sleep. We sat around that table and just talked and talked. We told stories about our lives, laughed at jokes and then a few of us sang. Bonnie, Leticia, Adria and Jim all sang for us. And then, I sang too. Then I (with the help of Adria and Bonnie who knew parts of the songs) taught the whole group 2 songs that would become important to us. “Wild Rover” and then “Health to the Company.” I’d just finished my 1st season at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire and had all these great pub type songs in my head. After that we started calling ourselves the 12 Wild Rovers. There was also a drinking game that started to come to life that night. It was just this fantastic moment where we felt like we were 1st years at Hogwarts, hanging out in our Common room, just getting to know each other and loving life. That is my favorite moment, and I’m sad The Quest Army will never see it.

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Jasmine trying her hand at archery.

 

TD: Did you ever feel overwhelmed by either the plot or a certain challenge? 

JLK: I never felt overwhelmed by the plot. My personal joy as we went was predicting things that might happen. I think I started to drive the other Paladins crazy with that. Turns out I was dead on a lot of the time. To the point that I had one of the producers tell me after the fact that I was very perceptive with my speculation. As for the challenges… The door challenge was very hard. I have a bit of an issue when it comes to my hands and wrists. Its undiagnosed, but it fits the characteristics of dysgraphia. So writing by hand especially for long periods time, opening things like jars and any kind of thing you have to do with your hands that require strengths are VERY hard for me. I pulled something in my hand trying to open that door, it hurt for the rest of the year (I came home and got to learn a bit of Stage combat that included Rapier sword, that was a challenge cause my hand hurt. But it was good cause I trained it back into shape).

It was kinda difficult because I clearly remember saying “this is impossible” but then switching over and repeating like a mantra “you can do this, I can do this” but all you got to see was me saying “This is impossible, I can’t do this”. I saw several comments that accused me of being negative because of that, and that was extremely disappointing because I worked really hard on that door (I was there for what felt like hours. It took WAY longer than was able to be shown). The battle dome was also SUPER difficult. I had an Asthma attack moments before they revealed we were fighting AGAINST each other. I was pulled away for a while before that, and came back just in time for that little gem. I was freaking out inside I assure you! LOL

TD: What is one challenge that you didn’t get to do that you wish you could have had a chance to try?

JLK: The falcon challenge is the one that instantly comes to mind. I’m not as good a runner as Jim, but I’m VERY observant and I think I would have been able to kick some butt on that one (also its just FREAKING COOL).

TD: How did you feel and what did you think when you were told you would be coming back after being banished?

JLK: I’m not sure I know of ONE good word that really describes it. But it is a tie for my my favorite moment in the whole show. I’ve wanted to be an actress for a LONG time, but never really pursued it. I grew up watching movies like Dune and watching Star Trek with my dad and became a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy that is my passion until this day.

I have also grown up rarely ever seeing women who look like me be being the stars (or being in it at all) of these genres. This has become more disappointing as I have gotten further into those genres, and have wanted to act more. Those are the types of parts I would love to play. They are a HUGE reason why I got into cosplay and RP and working a ren faire. Even though I was in Everealm to just be myself, that final day was like being on a movie set. I realized, no matter how small my part was at that point, I was going to see myself in a fantasy show (we are even LESS represented in fantasy than we are in Sci-fi).

I have this bucket list of roles I’d love to play. From an ancient Egyptian queen, to a Jedi, to Chani from Dune. In that moment, I got to satisfy a bit of that need. I thought, when I was a girl I never saw myself in this type of world. When I fell in love with Tolkien and Lord of the Rings, I didn’t exist in Middle Earth. I just didn’t. But slowly I see myself reflected as a woman and a person of color. Slowly we have more Uhuras, Storms, Zoe Washburnes, Abby Mills, Citizens of Laketown… and now I can say “I’m in Everealm.” The executive producers made that happen for me and all the geeks just like me.

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Jasmine always has her serious face on!

 


TD: When you were banished, besides training for the last fight scene, what else did you do with your time?

JLK: Hahaha, well lets just say there were shenanigans involved. Being banished turned out to be fun because I was with my fellow Paladins. Let’s just say that the Hall of Fates looks suspiciously like a charming European country (or from what I have heard, I mean I wouldn’t know lol). There were hot showers, soft beds and coffee. I can’t complain. The Fates are very powerful with what they can make you see. They can also be a bit twisted, I recall something about a talking piece of toast and a very strange amusement park like land and laughing until I couldn’t breathe! Other than that, a lot of waiting to welcome the next banished Paladins and tons of missing my son. I missed him every single day and as we got closer to the end of our quest it was nearly unbearable.

TD: If you could do one thing differently what would you do?

JLK: It’s very tempting to do that. I’m an over-thinker for sure. I can spend hours and days obsessing over little things. Its my vice that comes with being observant. I want to say I would have taken my time more (like on the jousting challenge), or gotten to know people better but then I feel I might be diminishing my experience.

I worked hard to try and find a balance between taking my time and not hesitating. You sometimes can’t change how much or little you know (or think you know) about a person no matter how much time you are given. So I don’t allow myself to do that, even if I magically could. It happened how it all happened for a reason. In the end, I learned a lot of lessons about myself and about other people. I’m not sure I would have taken away all that valuable insight if I went back and changed anything. So the answer is, nothing, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Jasmine is not fooling around with that sword!

 

TD: Finally, is there anything you wish someone would ask you about or anything you would like to add?

JLK: If there was anything, I think you likely covered it! We were asked often about our motivations to be on the show, and those parts were never really aired. So maybe that, because I had a few very strong reasons why I chose to be on The Quest. 1st) My son: I have always wanted to live adventures, and when you have children you wish all the things for them you never had and more. But you also realize that sometimes “Do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t work. I can’t expect my son (or my daughter who will be with us in a few months) to go off and have their own if I don’t lead by example.

2nd) Which is also related to my kid(s). As I said before, being a woman of color in the geek/fantasy/sci-fi universe is such a complicated thing. I grew up having so few role models to look up to in that sense. Yes there were role-models who were WOC, but I wanted GEEK and NERD ones! One or two (or even 10) are simply not enough. I wanted to give young girls & boys like myself what I didn’t have (this goes for my kids). The ability to watch their favorite fantasy show and say “hey, she’s just like me! Her hair is like mine, her skin is my color! Wow, I can be a ::enter super awesome thing here:: too!” I had to work doubly hard to imagine myself in my favorite worlds, and I wanted to be a part of closing that gap and making it easier for people who were like me to have a place their minds could escape too where they are validated and well… real!

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