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Ajiona Alexus shares BTS deets on 13 Reasons Why

Last year, the controversial topics touched on in the Netflix original 13 Reasons Why (based on the YA novel by Jay Asher) sparked a lot of conversation. In fact, the teen drama became the most tweeted about show of 2017.

If you haven't watched it, the very realistic show illustrates the 13 reasons why the main character, Hannah, decided to take her own life. Prominent themes throughout the series include suicide, bullying, harassment and sexual assault. Season two will focus on many of the same topics, but also touch on a few new ones, such as the treatment of women in our society. The show's creator, Brian Yorkey, has said that Hannah's tapes were just the beginning and that there's much more of the story to tell.

Ajiona Alexus plays Sheri Holland, a fellow student at Liberty High School who played a key role in season one (the actress is also a singer who just released her new song, "Baggage.") With the show covering such heavy topics, Ajiona takes a step back for a lighthearted chat about life on set. Read on for more...

Girls’ Life: Season one was talked about *so* much, and people felt very strongly about it. What's your take on the first season?
Ajiona Alexus: I guess it’s a little intense—but the world is like that, so it’s necessary that we are talking about it. I’m happy to be a part of a show that is trying to shed light on important issues that are going on in today’s world.

WATCH: The warning message that will play before episodes of 13 Reasons Why season two.

GL: You've been able to work with Selena Gomez on the series. As the show's producer, what wisdom has she shared with you about the story, your character...
AA: She’s so glad that we’re bringing the vision to light—but you have to remember that she’s just a human, too. So as much as we have to learn from her, she learns from us. And I think just as a whole production team, everybody is learning something from everybody. 

GL: The show is obviously very heavy. How do you step away from the feelings of your character and wind down when you're on set?
AA: I’m always eating no matter where we go, so I go anywhere I can find food—chips are my favorite. I’m also usually singing or in my trailer blasting music. 

GL: What are you listening to on set?
AA: So many different things. Ross [Butler, Zach Dempsey] knows how to play the guitar, so we do acoustic stuff a lot. I listen to Beyoncé, I listen to a lot of like Drake. I actually listen to Nickelback sometimes [laughs]. Ya never know with me, it just depends on how I wake up in the morning! 

GL: What are you and Ross playing together? Any go-to’s?
AA: We always do "Halo" by Beyoncé together. He'll play the guitar and I'll sing along.

GL: Do you have any favorite memories from the show?
AA: Yeah, btu it’s always the behind the scenes stuff that’s happening with the characters. I’m such a goofy person so I’m always laughing on set—people will tell you I’m the laughing black girl on set.

Justin [Prentice], who plays Bryce, and Steven [Silver], who plays Marcus, crack me up non-stop. Just to bond and form a relationship with the cast is the most memorable part for me. 

GL: What do you want viewers to know going into season two?
AA: We do the show with no intentions of harming anyone or being disrespectful. It’s all for the positive and to help people and let them know that they aren’t the only ones going through it. And I just think that’s the most important part, more than anything.

Peep the season two trailer below:

Be sure to catch the season two premiere of 13 Reasons Why when it drops *tonight* at midnight on Netflix.

Photo credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix

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by Cassie Doyle-Hines | 5/17/2018
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