Exclusive Fan Interview with “Shadowhunters” Alisha Wainwright

Fans would likely agree that Season 3 of Shadowhunters is quite heavy and only growing darker, but one storyline may resonant even stronger than some because of its root in reality. In last week’s episode, “Salt in the Wound,” we learned that Maia’s past relationship with Jordan had grown abusive after he was turned into a werewolf.

Maia’s portrayer, Alisha Wainwright, talks about filming the episode and how Maia views having Jordan back in her life. She also gives a few teases going forward and extends heartfelt advice to anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation as Maia.

Unfortunately, our time was short so we didn’t get to as many fan questions as we would’ve liked. But I think you’ll find it to be a profound interview, one that just might make a difference.

Terri: I want to start off first by addressing the issue of abuse. I’m sure you’ve seen how strongly that resonated with fans. With Jordan, we have the fantastical element of him struggling to become a werewolf and not being in control of himself. Some fans believe that, largely coupled with his fear of losing Maia, contributed to his abusive nature, while others felt it was just an excuse. He was merely an abusive boyfriend who could’ve controlled himself regardless of turning. I just want to get your perspective on that.

Alisha: You know, I think the fans are pointing out the dichotomy of argument that is happening in Maia’s mind. Part of you wants to believe that it’s just a singular series of events that happened because of him being a werewolf. Part of her is wondering, “Are you just like this?” In her mind, the entire season three is about her trying to understand, “Who are you and are you a bad person? If you’re a good person, maybe there’s room for me to forgive you. If you’re just more of the same, I don’t need you anywhere near me.” I think the questions the fans have, that they personally feel, I’m so glad that they have those questions because those are the questions that you will…

That’s scene, for example, in episode seven, where she tells him, “Look, great, I’m glad all this stuff happened, and you were able to feel better by joining the Praetor Lupus, but I had to figure out all my stuff on my own, and that’s not fair. That was an opportunity for you to redeem yourself, and you didn’t take it.” Then he’s like, “Well, I’ll just leave.” She’s like, “Here’s another chance for you to redeem yourself, and you’re not taking it.”

I think, in Jordan trying to take that… to just rid Maia’s life of him, she’s forcing him to take opportunities to prove his worth. It’s not about romantic love. It’s about… person to person. “You wronged me. I’m giving you a chance to make it right.” I think that talks a lot about how a person handles trauma. Either you can be like, “Thank you for leaving me alone. That’s what I want.” But in Maia’s life, she has decided in order for me to forgive, I need to see you be a better person.

Alisha: Aww, well Nicole, thank you. Also, I think that being in that head-space takes a lot of preparation off-set. Being comfortable with Chai [Hansen] on-set because we had to, in that one episode, dance between happy times and hard times and troubling times in an entire day… We were lucky enough to be able to do all the scenes in order, so we did almost everything in order. We got to actually play through our relationship, kind of, in one day, which was very helpful for the process. That’s kind of how we approached the flashback scenes.

With the scenes of meeting Jordan inside his apartment and then coming back and being like, “These are the things that I need from you if we’re gonna be in each other’s lives,” those moments are … We didn’t really talk that much on set that day. You kind of don’t want to be too friendly on the day. That influences how you interact with each other. But it’s so hard with Chai. He’s such a goof. He’s very gregarious on set and fun and smiling, so it’s hard to not like him. But I had to find ways to just personally be frustrated with him. [laughs] That was a challenge. But I’m glad it all worked out, and that they captured something that could work onscreen.

Alisha: In terms of flashbacks, I think that the priority is the story at hand. The flashbacks kind of lay the foundation for you to understand why they’re behaving the way they are now. Moving forward, we’re gonna kind of focus on what’s happening at present. I think the more dynamic storyline is what’s happening now, and I think we’re gonna see, in the next episode, Simon has issues with the mark–so who does he ask for help?–but his girlfriend who’s always down to help him with things and then also his Praetor, who is assigned to help him. [laughs] So this requires the three of them to be in the same state together. As much as she wants Jordan to not abandon Simon, it’s hard for her, maybe more so than she realized. I think we’re gonna see that in full next episode.

Alisha: In 3B you’re gonna see it more because there’s always new villains coming up on our show. [laugh] There will be a point in which storylines will intersect briefly. But for most of this season, everyone’s kind of doing their own thing. I don’t know if you’ve kind of felt that.

Terri: Yeah, I’ve noticed it.

Alisha: Yeah, the storylines are kind of segmented, which was super weird because I’m used to seeing Dom and Kat on-set so much. This season, we didn’t really see each other that much because our storylines are doing different things. As much as I want and know that if we get a season four it’ll be more intertwined, season three everyone’s kind of doing their own thing. Taking care of their own business.

Terri: Is there anything you can tease in 3B as far as Maia’s storyline?

Alisha: I can say that this journey in understanding forgiveness and if it’s possible will be resolved in 3B. There’s some awesome fight scenes that happen in 3B with Maia. I think this whole battle that she’s understanding with wolf family life and leadership will be something that she has to deal with herself. Her focus in 3B will be about working as a team, working in leadership, and understanding how to forgive.

Terri: Okay, I like that. For those fans who may be in abusive relationships themselves, or kind of like Maia even, trying to question, “Is this one, or is it not?” what would you say to them?

Alisha: I think that, if you’re having those feelings, reaching out to a close family member or friend that has a third-party perspective on your relationship, just so someone knows that you’re feeling this way, is really important. Someone that’s not necessarily closely involved in your relationship. Having someone else know that you’re unsure if you’re in a safe space is really important.

The second thing I would recommend is if you’re unsure of how you feel, I journal a lot. I encourage anyone who’s not sure of how they feel to write down how they feel. Over time, when you go back and you look at those journals, you’ll know in your gut how you actually feel. Are you in a safe place? Are you in a relationship that makes sense and that’s safe to you? If you know in your gut you’re not in the right place, I encourage you to start thinking about your other options.

I think, for Maia, she was feeling unsafe, and she was feeling frustrated and feeling possessed, so she decided to end that. As difficult as it was and as frustrating as it was, for her it was the right move. I think for anyone kind of unsure of how to handle it, seeking help and advice from friends that are not related to your relationship, but that are still close to you, and then being able to verbalize and articulate your feelings in either writing or in any other way that you think you can go back and reflect on how you were feeling maybe like the week before, those are the ways that I’d recommend handling it.

Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays on Freeform 8/7c. And be sure to follow Alisha on Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow Love Is Respect on Twitter and find tons of information and resources on their website if you or someone you care about needs help. 


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