"This was my dream since I was a kid and to be representing Disney now is so insane"
Young Brit-Asian Jayden Revri has a multitude of talents.
Not only is he a promising actor, but Jayden has been showing off his fantastic singing and dancing skills in the brilliant new teen drama, The Lodge.
Showing exclusively on the Disney Channel, the series follows 15-year-old Skye (played by Sophie Simnett) who is hoping to rediscover herself by moving back to a holiday lodge with her father.
Disney The Lodge sees a great diverse cast of young new talent and respected British actors like Jade Alleyne, Luke Newton, Thomas Doherty, Ellie Taylor (8 Out of 10 Cats), Laila Rouass (Holby City, Footballers’ Wives, Strictly Come Dancing) and Marcus Garvey (Broadchurch, Four Lions).
Londoner Revri has a recurring role playing Noah in the live-action musical shot in Northern Ireland.
DESIblitz speaks in more detail with 17-year-old Jayden Revri about diversity in acting, being part of Disney The Lodge, and his hope for the future.
How does it feel to be in a franchise so widely recognised like the Disney Channel?
It’s just been crazy. Even now to this day, I find it so hard to explain it to people the feeling. Obviously, Disney is such a big company and it’s something I’ve been watching since I was a kid. So yeah, it’s just a dream come true!
Tell us about your character Noah, he’s described as the funny man of The Lodge?
Yeah, he’s definitely the funny guy of The Lodge. He’s a deejay. He’s quite colourful, he likes to stand out a lot I would say.
I think the main thing about Noah is that his heart is always in the right place. I mean, even though his head may be all over the place, his heart is always where it needs to be. I think he’s a very relatable character.
Do you see much of yourself in him? What attracted you to the role?
I definitely do see a lot of myself in Noah. He’s a very good friend and I would see myself as a good friend to my friends.
I mean they always come to me if they need anything or need any advice or just someone to listen to them I’m always there.
Can viewers expect something that is similar to High School Musical and other Disney shows – what makes The Lodge stand out?
Well, it is a musical series, and I feel like music is such a big aspect in the series.
We actually had 9 original songs written for us, and they are all so amazing. Even now, a few of the music videos have been released and I hear kids singing it down the same street that I’ll be walking. They’re just so catchy.
And all the songs have different meanings hidden within the lyrics. I feel like it’s such an important part of the series.
Tell us about your background, how did you get into acting? Did you find that your family was supportive of your career choice?
Both my parents’ dads are full Indian. My dad’s mum is Jamaican, and my mum’s mum is English. So, overall, I’m half Indian, a quarter Jamaican and a quarter English. So, I’m quite a mixture of things.
And yeah, I kind of got into acting, at primary school I did a year 6 production of Lion King and I played Simba. It was nothing I really thought about before I did that.
From there everything just kind of sparked and I got scouted from a lady coming to watch me and it’s just gone on so much since then.
My family are so supportive. My mum – she’s like my biggest fan, and I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this if it wasn’t for her really. She really supports me!
Have you faced any barriers in acting because of your ethnicity?
I think in auditions, some companies are looking for a certain look. You may be an amazing actor and you may have all these skills, but obviously if you don’t have the right look they’re not going to hire you for the part.
I feel that is something that people do face… that barrier.
“But Disney is very good with their whole mixture of ethnicities. There are so many different people in the cast, from different countries and different backgrounds.”
I think that’s another reason why The Lodge is such an amazing show, you’ve got people from all around the world and people from different ethnicities.
You’ve also done theatre acting and short films. How does it differ to be part of such a commercial and mainstream franchise like Disney?
The thing is with theatre, you are always live, like no matter what.
There’s a certain added pressure when you’re doing musical theatre, and you have to get it perfect each time. But I feel like that adds a bit of excitement to your performance like you get a really good buzz off of that.
Obviously, with acting, you can do scenes ten or eleven times to get it perfect. They are both very different.
But they are both just as enjoyable and I highly recommend them to anyone else who would like to do acting.
Who were your acting inspirations growing up?
Actually funnily enough, because we were talking about High School Musical earlier, Zac Efron was a very big inspiration for me.
Just because he went from doing all this Disney stuff to then going off to big Hollywood movies, and that’s definitely something that I want to get to.
You shot the teen drama in Northern Ireland – how was that experience for you?
It was very cold out there. It was very hard during the first few weeks because we were all acclimatising to the weather. And we had to look very alive and happy and sunny in some scenes when we were just absolutely freezing.
The location was so beautiful. I feel that Disney really got the nail on the head with that location.
And I think that’s another thing that’s really special to the series – is the fact that everything is shot there. It’s not a lie, everything you are seeing inside is actually that lodge which is amazing. And the people out there were so lovely and so friendly, and we just built a really big family.
As well as the acting, there’s also a bit of singing and dancing, how did you find that process?
We actually had rehearsals before we went out filming. We had singing and then we had dancing. Ah, it was so amazing!
We had the most insane coaches and they taught us so much. And of course, we were all going in at different levels of how good we were at the singing and the dancing.
But I felt like, towards the end, they really boosted up our confidence so much, and now we’re all just as good as each other. And I feel like we actually really help each other out a lot now.
So, would you consider going into Bollywood with all the singing and dancing?
Literally, I was thinking about that the other day. Obviously, there are these big Bollywood movies coming out. I would definitely love to represent the main character in one of the big movies coming out in the future.
What’s next for Jayden Revri? Is there anything that you’re working on that you can tell us about?
I’m currently not working on anything else. Obviously, The Lodge has kept us really busy, we’re doing loads of different things.
For the future, I’m gonna take everything one step at a time and just see where this takes me. Hopefully, this brings great things.
I just want to go on and just inspire younger actors who may look up to me or look up to other people and just carry on doing what I’m doing.
I mean this is what I love and it’s what I wanna do for the rest of my life
Any advice for British Asians or young mixed race people like yourself who want a career in acting?
I feel like with me being from a mixed background, it’s seen as though it is very difficult to get into acting. But with me, I feel like I’ve shown people it’s not.
I just feel like you’ve got to believe in yourself, just believe you can do it really.
This was my dream since I was a kid and to be representing Disney now is so insane.
But it didn’t get handed to me on a plate, I’ve worked hard for the past seven years. Like I said if anyone else really wants to do it, you’ve just got to work hard and just make sure you motivate yourself.
And don’t take anything on the chin. Use it all as a learning curve, and you’ll get better and better, and hopefully you’ll end up in a big Disney series like me which I’m so privileged to be a part of!
Watch Jayden Revri and the cast of Disney The Lodge in the music video ‘Believe That’ here:
It’s clear that despite being only 17 years old, Jayden Revri’s ambition and maturity really do shine through. He is a great role model for many British Asians hoping to achieve their dreams and pursue their passions.
Disney The Lodge airs on Disney Channel, Fridays at 5.30pm from September 23, 2016.