Sometimes when you gather a group of people who don’t belong anywhere else and put them together, you find that that’s exactly where they were meant to be all along. That’s what’s happening with the Toronto Boxsprings, the baseball team at the center of The Ninth, a new series now available to stream on CBC Gem. The Boxsprings are a bad team, owned by a crappy discount mattress store, but the real plays happen during the after-parties. At the center of the action is Messy Jessie (Jess Salguiero), an athletic and deeply egotistical player who is proud of her rep as party girl number one. Jessie is insanely competitive, especially with her best friend and teammate Juicebox (Aaron Chartrand).
Created by Daniel AM Rosenberg and Michael Goldlist, The Ninth also stars Neil Crone and Corteon Moore. The TV Junkies recently caught up with Salguiero, who many will know from her roles on Letterkenny, Mary Kills People and Workin’ Moms, to discuss why she had such a good time playing this role and to learn more about The Ninth. Salguiero also discussed her website BitchesBeWitches and her upcoming role on the new season of The Expanse.
The TV Junkies: How did this opportunity come about and what made you want to be a part of The Ninth?
Jess Salgueiro: One of the writers, Michael Goldlist, and I had done a play together a couple years ago and had a blast working together. We made a promise that one day we would work together again, and this project came up that he co-wrote with Daniel Rosenberg. He said that there was a part that he thought I might be good for. The character’s name was Messy Jessie, and I am messy and my friends call me Jessie so it was meant to be.
It felt like synchronicity because in the audition room Michael said ‘this character is like she has the Night at the Roxbury song in her head at all times.’ What’s crazy is that on my way to that audition, I had that song on blast and even made an Instagram story of me dancing to it. I asked Michael if he saw it and he said ‘no.’ I thought if I didn’t get the part then nothing would make sense in the universe. Long story short, I did get the part.
TTVJ: So even given her name, he wasn’t writing it specifically for you?
JS: No! [laughs] I genuinely don’t think he named her after me.
TTVJ: Can you share a little bit more about her, besides her taste in music?
JS: She’s wild! She’s very liberated and likes to have fun. She’s a blast to play, as an actor, because there’s no filter or censor on her. She’s so unabashedly herself. As a female actor, that’s such a blessing to get to play. She loves her best friend and sister and they all play on the same baseball team. She’s just trying to find her way in the world. She’s a bit lost, though she probably wouldn’t admit it, just like a lot of us in our mid-late 20s.
TTVJ: The Toronto Boxsprings, seem to be pretty bad and a bit of a mess. Why are all these people playing for them?
JS: They are all misfits and none of them really belong anywhere, except on this team. It’s more special to them than they are aware of or willing to admit. This is the only place where they feel part of something. It’s an odd group for sure. [laughs]
TTVJ: I know you’re used to filming a lot of movies and TV series, but what was it like shooting something like The Ninth? How did that experience go?
JS: The vibe on the set was so relaxed. This is a very low budget project, but everyone brought their A game. The director, Daniel AM Rosenberg, did a great job of never showing if he was stressed. So we just got to play and relax and it was always a pleasure to go to set.
TTVJ: Between The Ninth and your role as Mary-Anne on Letterkenny you are covering a lot of sports. Are you as into athletics in real life?
JS: I am, but not in hockey or baseball. I box and am a trained dancer. Doing both of these shows has made me wonder if I should join a team. Being on a team is so fun and I am now like ‘oh I get it!’ It’s also fun to have another skill to work on alongside your character. For Letterkenny I had to do some more skating and really feel comfortable in hockey skates so that was a fun challenge.
TTVJ: You also run a website called “BitchesBeWitches”. Can you share a little about that and what drove you to start that?
JS: I felt like in my early 20s that I didn’t have enough reference points for women who really listened to their own intuition and followed their own paths. I felt like the strongest voice I had inside me was what society expected of me and instead wanted something that shows you an alternative way and way to get back to your own inner voice, to try and muffle some of the sound of all the pressures and expectations put on women. As I started doing more reading and writing, I discovered that the symbol of the witch is one that a lot of feminists are reclaiming. We though instead of being comfortable being called “bitches” in media, that we instead call ourselves “witches” because it’s so much more empowering.
The idea is that every month or so we introduce a theme, have people contribute and want it to feel like a resource site and community. It’s not just me putting out content but people are encouraged to contribute. I often do profiles on several women every issue and people contribute essays, poems and think pieces.
TTVJ: Is that something you really look for in your roles? A feminist angle?
JS: Especially at this point in my career it’s a big incentive for me to want to work on something. I feel like that’s when I am my best and part of why I’m an actor, to lend myself to these stories of really brave women. They don’t have to be fearless. They can have a lot of fear, but do it anyway. That’s the stories I want to do, where you really see the struggles. Let’s see all the things that women rumble with because there’s so many dynamics to being a woman. It certainly is a part of my greater dream and plan for my career to play more parts that resonate deeply with me.
TTVJ: You have a role on the upcoming season of The Expanse. What can you share about that and who you are playing?
JS: I’m playing a character named Chandra Wei. She’s in the book but is expanded for the TV series. That role was so badass! She works for a corporation and is stationed at a new planet in the solar system. I can’t really give anything away, but it’s a very fascinating and pretty poignant character in this new planet. I can’t wait for it to come out and I’m really excited about it. That character definitely aligns with a lot of the feminist principles that I’m trying to continue to play.
Planning on checking out The Ninth? Sound off below!
The Ninth is available for streaming now on CBC Gem.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.