Jessica Jones is “female first in its DNA,” according to Rachael Taylor, AKA Jessica’s best friend Trish, and any show that has female best friends kicking ass and taking names is a fierce feminist dream come true. The second season of Netflix’s hugely popular series Jessica Jones debuted on International Women’s Day, and did I mention that every episode this season has a female director? Yeah, Jessica Jones isn’t scared to be fiercely feminist and truthful about women’s lives. Navigating family, friends, mental illness, violence against women, and morality — all while being able to jump skyscrapers — being a modern woman is complicated for Jessica Jones, to say the least. Rachael Taylor is as brave as her character Trish: Moving from home as a young teenager, moving to America alone at 21 and landing a role in Transformers merely a few months later, nothing stops Taylor from reaching her goals. BUST was lucky enough to chat with Rachael Taylor about bravery, super cool superpowers, and being a woman in Hollywood.
Trish may be brave in the face of fistfights and supervillains, but she ain’t got nothing on Rachael Taylor. When Taylor reflects on her own bravery, she tells BUST “...like, I was so brave when I was young...I moved from Tasmania to mainland Australia when I was 16 or 17, which is really pretty young to leave home, but that’s the beauty of young people” — oh to be young and courageous enough to move across the world by yourself when you’re barely old enough to rent a car. The bravery shown in Jessica Jones, however, isn’t focused on flying from your parents’ nest, but rather finding your own. As Taylor tells BUST, “One thing I love about playing Trish is she is an ambitious, driven, and persistent woman. I love bringing those qualities in a female character to life on screen.”
A lot of Jessica Jones fans would agree that part of the show's shine is how real and really awesome the female characters are — even when they’re really bad. Taylor explains, “While other cinematic superheroes are focused on saving the world, the heroes in Jessica Jones are focused on really saving each other, and ultimately saving themselves.” The morality Jessica struggles through again in season two can be summed up as: Can I help myself by helping others, or do I need to help myself first? Trish, as Jessica’s best friend, is always there to help Jessica...and herself in the process. The real bravery of Jessica Jones is showing female characters being imperfect, brave in the face of danger, and always having each other’s backs.
As Taylor tells BUST, the super powers and super-powered-people in Jessica Jones are a bit more complicated than you might be used to: “Jessica Jones is a show that doesn’t put good and bad in some really binary categories, all the characters have shades of good and bad in them.” Fully-flushed out, complicated female characters? Where do I sign up? As Taylor explains to BUST, it’s Trish and Jessica’s different views on super powers that contrast their views on good/bad: “Trish really wants to be that vigilante type superhero, she’s exactly what Jessica doesn’t want to be, who is very reluctant and has had her powers thrust upon her.” Trish wants to save the word, Jessica wants to save herself (and maybe the world too, after she gets a few good drinks in.) As for Rachael Taylor, she, unlike Tris,h would want a simple, humble superpower: “Trish would be very greedy in terms of superpowers. I’d want to be invisible, because who wouldn’t want that?” I mean, ditto, because then I could be an invisible extra in every episode of Jessica Jones ever.
The characters of Jessica Jones may be badass women because the actresses, writers, and directors involved in the show are badasses themselves. As Taylor tells BUST, “Unfortunately for all women, we’re judged by the way we look in a way that is unfair and disproportionate to all the other things we can offer the world.” Taylor adds, “Melissa Rosenberg [the show's creator] has a way of talking about female experience in a way that is incredibly real, and incredibly relatable,” and sometimes, because of that, it is incredibly uncomfortable. As Taylor explains, “[Rosenberg] serves up kind of a mirror for the culture we live in...[such as] I think we still have a long way to go to see gender balance both in the entertainment industry and across a number of different industries.”
Jessica Jones isn’t scared to show us how messed up the world is nor shout us out for how messed up we, the audience, is. Taylor admits that this “mirror” pointed out some things about herself and her career she hadn’t been able to articulate earlier: “All the directors for Season 2 were women, and they’re incredibly accomplished and amazing female directors. That certainly had me reflect on the fact that for the first decade of my career I had worked with mostly men, and male directors.” Taking a breath to “witness this moment of women taking up more space in storytelling” is how Taylor handled all the feminist excitement in this season of Jessica Jones.
Jessica Jones is available on Netflix and fans are already clamoring to find out what the future of Taylor’s character Trish — did someone say Hellcat? A power-couple-esque Jessica Jones and Hellcat duo would almost be too much excitement to handle, especially since Trish and Jessica’s love for each other is “the heartbeat of the show” already, as Taylor explained. To no surprise, Rachael Taylor laughs when asked if she’s as badass as Trish, but does admit that working out for the role has made her a “legitimately dope boxer.” So grab a friend, maybe a bottle of whiskey, and super-jump into the feminist freedom of Jessica Jones.
images via Netflix/Jessica Jones
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big haired nerd who likes to talk about books, politics, coffee and anything else you can think of. Be warned of shennanigans: follow me on twitter @BRIawesome