Interview With Actress Jaeda Lily Miller, “Christmas In Evergreen”

By Ruth on November 27, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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I believe everyone who habitually reads my interviews comprehends just how much I adore interviewing and highlighting the young people in this business, especially the ones who work rather regularly for Hallmark. In the case of Jaeda Lily Miller, she is even busier than most of the adults I interview; I’m glad her parents help keep her focused and organized. After attempting to schedule an interview for quite some time, I finally had the profound honor of chatting with this sweet, talented, and phenomenal young starlet!

RH: Jaeda, I can’t tell you how lovely it is to talk with you today. 

JLM: Nice to be able to chat with you too, Ruth.

In fact, I was thinking about the first time I really noticed you. It was in the movie Angels In the Snow

Oh, yeah!

I know I saw you before that, but your role was so outstanding in that film. I looked you up and began following your career after that. 

Thank you so much.

We will get to discuss that film, but first, how did you get started in acting?

Well, my parents are voiceover actors, and when I was five I came up to them and said, “I want to do what you guys do, but with my whole body.” Then when I was six, I got my first part, and it just started from there.

What was your first role?

My first role was Untold Stories of the ER. It was a guest star part. I had to have a seizure with that role, and that was kinda cool ’cause I had never done that before.

What a way to start! Had you had any acting training before this first role?

Well, my dad is my acting coach, so he rehearses with me and directs me. Then if I go to an audition and they change something, he’s there to help me.

Wow, at the age of six, that’s quite a way to break into the business by having a seizure.

In the part, I had a dead cockroach in my ear, but it was supposed to be alive and in my ear for the part, and then I had to have a seizure. Of course, this is a doctor show.

Bethany Joy Lenz, Jaeda Lily Miller, William Ainscough Credit: Copyright 2014 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Was Cookie Cutter Christmas your first Hallmark movie?

Actually, my second film was The Christmas Secret.  In that one, I got to work with William Ainscough. And for Ready Jet Go! the TV series I’m in now, he played Sean in it, so it was really fun, ’cause I got to work with him again.

So you had two Christmas movies out that year, and people will definitely remember you from both. But Cookie Cutter Christmas is one people really love because Erin Krakow is in it, and the Hearties love everything she is in. 

A Cookie Cutter Christmas

So Cookie Cutter Christmas was my third role, and I got to work with my best friend. She and her dad came over because we were having a playdate, but he said, “Gracyn {Shinyei}, you have to shoot this audition really fast.”  So she was shooting the audition, and her dad asked me if I could say the lines off camera. But pretty soon, we were in fancy dresses and had a really good camera, and my dad was playing the guitar. I didn’t even officially audition for it. Gracyn just explained, “This is my friend Jaeda, and she’s helping me with the audition.” But the director {Christie Will} decided she wanted both of us, so that’s how I got the role.

Love Under the Stars

Wow, those are two movies that are popular with Hallmark fans, so I have no doubt they will remember you. You were also in Love Under the Stars

Love Under the Stars

Yes, I was. Love Under the Stars was really fun because there was really great actors on it, we got to go to Victoria for a month, and we got to stay in an inn. And it was really fun. My dad and my sister would fly up, and it was all paid for.

Although it was not Hallmark, Angels in the Snow was a very special project that a lot of Hallmark fans enjoy also. How did you get that role?

Jaeda Lily Miller as Emily Montgomery

In the audition, there were three scenes, and in one of the scenes, I had to memorize all the presidents of the United States, and I still remember them. {And Jaeda gave me my own private rendition of the presidents of the United States, adding our current president to the list.} For the real audition at home, we had to do it on tape, and when I got the callback, I realized I had to do it again. So I went into the callback and did it again, and it was good, but it was hard. I found out from my dad that no one else in the auditions did all the presidents. They did just a few of them. The director {George Erschbamer} was on Skype during the callback because he couldn’t make it there since he was in a different city. He asked if I could read the first line of the whole script, and I was like, “Sure.” So I read it. And a little while later, I got the call that I had booked the role. Interestingly enough, the part was actually meant for someone older ’cause they didn’t think a young kid could do it. Then they realized I could, so I got the part.

I’m so glad they went with you even though you were younger. Maybe they thought an older kid could work, but having you was just perfect because there are so many young kids who could relate to that kind of situation where their parents are potentially divorcing and hearing all the fighting.  As to the audition, Jaeda, even I couldn’t name all the presidents! That was amazing! It’s become one of our favorites, and we just sit there and cry every time we watch it. 

Some of the actors in it… Kolton Stewart–I had worked with him before actually on Some Assembly Required. So I already knew him, and it was really fun to work with him again. I also want to add that the crew didn’t think I could actually do all the presidents, and they were thinking, “Ugh, we’re gonna have to do it in pieces. And we’ll have to put a billboard over here so she can read the lines.” Then in the rehearsal, I did it, and they all dropped what they were doing and they stood up and clapped. It was so funny and great.

Firehouse Christmas

Well, they just didn’t know what you were capable of, Jaeda! I mean, I could have told them, “Oh, yeah, she can do that.” Now, last Christmas, we saw you in two Hallmark Christmas films plus there was an Ion Christmas movie which starred one of our favorite Hallmark men, Marcus Rosner. That was Firehouse Christmas

And I got to work with Marcus again this Christmas. We are both in Christmas in Evergreen.

That’s so cool! That one is coming up very soon. But when I talked with Marcus about Firehouse Christmas, he said that one was so different for him because it was his first time to play a father. 

Oh, yeah, it was.

I thought the movie was great. I still talk about it with him. I loved the part where he got stuck in the chimney. 

I worked with George, the director, on that movie too, and since I had worked with him before, it was just great. He is so fun to work with. On that movie, it was amazing because I think they all felt like they could be a kid because I was there. So we had so much fun. And it was in the summer too, so I didn’t have to do tutoring. So we got to hang out the entire time.

Jaeda Lily Miller Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Jeremy lee

Speaking of last year’s Hallmark Christmas movies, one of them was A Heavenly Christmas, and I know the writer of that one very well, Gregg McBride. 

A Heavenly Christmas was great. I got to work with Kristin Davis and Eric McCormack on that. And Shirley MacLaine too. It was great, and I had loads of fun.

That was one I wasn’t sure I was going to like. The trailer made it sound a little bit strange to me, but then I watched it and really liked it. And I didn’t know that Eric McCormack could sing until that movie. I guess Canadians have known for a while, but I didn’t know.

Yeah, he could sing, and he did it live every take. I was like, “How does your voice not get tired?” His voice wasn’t even shot after one or two takes. He could still do it live. And I only had one scene with Shirley MacLaine, but still, it was great. I didn’t get to talk with her that much, but at least I got to work with her.

Well, I would say there’s a lot of actors that cannot even say they have had one scene with Shirley MacLaine, and here you are at your age, and you’ve actually worked with her. You’ve gotten to work with an actual legend. Now, you were also in Operation Christmas last year. 

Tricia Helfer, Benjamin Wosk, Megan Charpentier, Marc Blucas, Jaeda Lily Miller Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Yes, Operation Christmas was really great. And I got to work with Megan Charpentier and Benjamin Wosk too. We got to go to Whistler for two days. While there, we got to go on a chairlift, which I had never done before. We also got to take a snowmobile, which I hadn’t done before. And the snowmobile led to a helicopter which took us on top of a glacier which was really fun. And then they said they needed to leave the parents there and get some shots in the air with just the three kids. I was like, “I’m so glad my mom isn’t here right now!” She would have been freaking out! So they took us up–the camera guy, the three kids, the director, the line guy, and they took shots around while we were circling the glacier, and it was really great. It was a great experience. I really liked it.

I was surprised at how many times we got to see you during Christmas. And we never got tired of seeing you because you’re just such a fantastic little actor! A lot of people don’t know you by name, but they know your works and enjoy seeing you. And another thing about you, Jaeda. You have a smile that just lights everything up. I can see it on screen, and I can see it now while we’re talking. So it’s great to know you don’t just put on that smile for TV and movies. It’s genuine, and it’s a part of who you are. 

Thank you so much.

So you mentioned Ready Jet Go!

Yes, I play the character Mindy, and she’s a five-year-old girl, so I have to put on a voice. Also, in a different TV show I’m in called Rainbow Ruby, I play Jesse, the Rag Doll. It’s a small part, but I recur in some episodes. And she is only three years old, so I have to change my voice for her too.

So with voice work, was this something you started more recently? How did you get started in voice work?

My parents are already doing voice work, so they knew everybody. So it was an easy in, and it got me and my sister involved. So we both went for auditions and tried to get parts.

So what do you like about voice work?

I just really enjoy acting. I enjoy voice work because if you mess up, it’s okay. You can do it again. And you don’t have to reset anything. You get to hang out with your friends and put on a voice, so it’s kinda cool. You’re not just being yourself; you’re being a character. I know you do that in regular acting, but when you’re do voice work, you can be just about any kind of character. The way you look is not what matters. It’s all about your voice.

With Teddy Sears and Marcus Rosner
Christmas In Evergreen

So let’s mention your upcoming Christmas film, Christmas In Evergreen. What can you tell us about your role and how it relates to the overall story without giving away too much.

I play Zoe, and she’s really fun. She wants her Dad to be happy and love Christmas, just like me.

Any special behind-the-scenes moments you can share?

With Ashley Williams
Christmas In Evergreen

Teddy Sears and I loved to play hand shaking games and we made up a new move every day to add to it. And when working with Ashley {Williams}, she’s really fun and we had lots of laughs.

One more thing. The director, Alex Zamm, is really fun to work with. My sister also worked with him on this new movie coming out called Woody Woodpecker, which is this new live animation movie. We’re all really excited for it. And so it’s great that now I got to work with Alex on Christmas In Evergreen, and my sister worked with him on Woody Woodpecker.

Is there anything else you can mention that is upcoming?

Well, there is a movie coming out in theaters where I’m in a flashback scene. It’s not a big part, but the movie will come out within the next three months, I believe. Bella Thorne and some other great actors are in it, and the movie is called Midnight Sun. Even though my part is small, I get to be a bully in it. So that was really fun. I’m really excited to see it since it’s coming out in theaters. So I’m going to go see it in the theater when it comes out.

Well, that is exciting! I have heard about this film, and it’s so good that you have a part in it. Now you mentioned about tutoring on set. When you are not working, do you go to a regular public school?

Yes, I do. In kindergarten and grades one and two, I was in a regular public school. But then I was homeschooled for two years because I had a movie going on, and I would have missed three months of school. That was the year I was filming in Victoria, and after that, I did another movie right away. It worked out just fine. But then my sister wanted to go to high school, and I thought that since she was going back to public school, I would too. So it was last year when I started going back to public school, and I’m still doing that right now.

Barbara Niven, Jaeda Lily Miller, Teddy Sears, Ashley Williams Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

So how does that work on set?

We just work it out with the school, and I have a tutor on set. It works really well.

While I’m sure you don’t have a lot of free time, what do you like to do when you do have free time?

Well, I do competitive dance. I do it four days a week. I do tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary and a few others. I have a lot of friends that do it with me too. I also really like to drum. I have electric drums in my room. I used to do the ukulele, but then I broke my finger and I couldn’t play the ukulele anymore. But then I tried drums, and I really liked it.

Well, you sound like one busy young lady. So, Jaeda, thanks for sharing so much. I really enjoyed chatting with you today.

Me too, Ruth. I can hardly wait for everyone to see the new movie this weekend!

Jaeda Lily Miller, Teddy Sears, Ashley Williams Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

I am cognizant of the fact that I routinely state how amazed I am with these kids I have had the honor of interviewing, but Jaeda is decidedly in a class of her own. One doesn’t have to examine her credits too long to discern the fact that this young lady has experienced things in her brief career that some actors will potentially never experience in a lifetime. Her successes are stupefying, and I will affirm that when she rattled off the presidents to me during the interview, I was literally aghast (as was my mother when I played the recording for her). I believe it competent to call Jaeda a bit of a child prodigy in that she has that natural star quality and talent that is rarely witnessed in one of her age. However, in spite of all her successes, she is still a “normal” child. Her parents have endeavored to keep her grounded while inspiring her to not necessarily follow in their footsteps, but to forge her own way and develop her own passion for this world of entertainment. And it is fully evident that Jaeda is rising to the challenge and relishing every moment along the way. Unlike so many young people today, Jaeda never takes anything for granted, and she savors each unique opportunity with grace and enthusiasm. And that smile of hers–it truly is infinitely brilliant and dynamically authentic. Indeed, I have no doubt she could easily enliven the darkest of hearts if given half a chance. Every person who has ever worked with this darling girl cannot commend her highly enough.

So please tune in this weekend to Christmas In Evergreen premiering on the Hallmark Channel Saturday, December 2nd. Additionally, consider checking out all of Jaeda’s links below and possibly following her where applicable while investigating her previous works. Jaeda is a “once in a lifetime” kind of actress and child, and the fact that she is honing her craft, keeping up with her obligations, and still smiling from ear-to-ear is enough to remind us of the wonder, miracle, and joy of this holiday season!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher

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