Over the years, Hollywood has been inadequate in its representation of minorities and this has prompted actors of color to work to address the imbalance. One such actor who is contributing to the fight against this imbalance is none other than Devery Jacobs. Originally from Canada, Jacobs first hit the screens at the age of 14, playing the character of Monique in a TV series titled The Dead Zone.
Since then, she has gone on to acquire an impressive filmography including the series, Rhymes for Young Ghouls, which earned her a nomination for the Best Actress at the Canadian Screen Awards. The talented Jacobs is also a budding filmmaker and has done several projects behind the cameras. She is, however, not letting herself get carried away by her success but remains committed to her activism for indigenous peoples.
Devery Jacobs Spent Her Early Life On An Indian Reservation In Montreal
Devery Jacobs was born Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs on the 8th of August 1993 in Kahnawake, a Mohawk territory located in Quebec, Canada. She comes from a close-knit family but has decided against disclosing specific details about them. We, however, do know that she has a younger sister named Kakwitè:ne. Jacobs and her sister grew up on an Indian reservation near Montreal. Unlike stereotypical representations that depict these reservations as being out of touch with modernity, the reservation that the Jacobs family grew up on was quite a bubbling suburb.
Growing up on a reservation, the actress grew up quite steeped in her culture; however, she also did not ignore western culture. She watched Disney movies from an early age and soon started re-enacting them. She subsequently took to making her own home videos and recruited her sister to take part in them. The young Devery did not stop at this juncture, she joined a small community theatre on the reservation known as Turtle Island Theatre Company and performed with them.
As Devery Jacobs was doing all this, her mother was observing her and realized how enthusiastic she was about performing. Her mother, therefore, took the initiative of submitting her daughter’s profile to an agency in Quebec. The agency agreed to work with Devery and she moved out to the city in search of opportunities. In Quebec, Devery Jacobs did not find it easy landing jobs, so she wisely took the decision of going to college and enrolled in the Correctional Intervention Program of John Abbott College, Quebec. The actress would later qualify as a counselor.
‘The Sun At Midnight’ And ‘Rhymes For Young Ghouls’ Made Her A Star In Canada
Devery Jacobs’ career as an actress began in earnest in 2007 with a role as Monique in the television series titled The Dead Zone. She later landed minor roles in several other projects such as Assassin’s Creed: Lineage (2009), Exploding Sun (2012), and The Blanketing (2012). In 2013, luck smiled at Devery Jacobs when she landed what would eventually turn out to be her breakthrough role in the feature film, Rhymes for Young Ghouls.
Rhymes for Young Ghouls focused on the abuse that hundreds of indigenous children faced at the schools they were forced to attend by the government. In the movie, Jacobs portrayed the lead role of Alia, a teenage girl who bears the brunt of the consequences of this forced education and is forced to seek revenge. Her excellent leading performance helped to make the film a success at the box office as well as the various International Film Festivals where it was shown. It also fetched her several award nods including a nomination for Best Actress in a leading role at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards.
With this surge in her star power, Devery Jacobs began landing roles more frequently. These roles were however restricted to a bunch of low-key projects until the 2016 highly-acclaimed drama adventure, The Sun at Midnight. In the movie, Jacobs played the lead role of Lia, an urban princess who becomes quite devastated after her mother’s death. She takes to acting out which causes her father to send her to summer with her grandmother in the remote northwest territory. There, Lia gets lost in the wildness of the Arctic Circle and ends up forming a bond with a reclusive hunter.
The Sun at Midnight was very a challenging project for Devery Jacobs to shoot but it all paid off at the end. The movie received standing ovations from audiences at the ImagineNative Film Festival and Jacobs was rewarded with the award for Best Performance In A Canadian Film at the Whistler Film Festival in December 2016. She also won the best actress award at the 2017 American Indian Film Fest.-
She Landed Prominent Roles In Hit Shows Such As ‘American Gods’ And ‘The Order’
Devery Jacobs has so far starred in over sixteen films, television series, and short films altogether. However, the two that have made her a notable face in Hollywood remain American Gods and The Order. American Gods is a fantasy drama series in which the old gods, consisting of a hidden America where magic is real, fight for survival against the new gods, epitomized by the media and technology.
American Gods debuted on the Starz Network in 2017 and in it, Jacobs plays the role of Sam Black Crow, a half-Cherokee college student who professes to believe in spirits but is also cynical about them. Jacobs’ character was a recurring role in season two but was bumped up to a major character in season three. This development went down quite well with the fans as the casting directors made sure a native person portrayed the character.
Another TV series where Devery Jacobs is making waves is the Netflix original series, The Order. Debuting in 2019, the horror-drama Series revolves around Jack Morton, a college student who joins a secret society that teaches and practices magic. In the series, Jacobs portrayed the character of Lilith Bathory, a badass werewolf knight who equally belongs to the secret society. Her critically acclaimed performance has contributed to making the show a hit.
Devery Jacobs Is A Proud Ambassador And Advocate Of Indigenous Heritage
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Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day and I celebrate being Kanien’kehá:ka today, and every day. Kawennáhere iontiáts, wakhskaré:wake, tánon Kahnawà:ke nitewaké:non. My name is Kawennáhere, I’m bear clan, and I’m from Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory. Take a minute today to recognize whose land you’re on. I’m in Ateròn:to’ (Toronto) and this is Rotinishón:ni, Anishnabeg, Chippewa, and Wendat territory. Tag your city and whose traditional Indigenous territory you reside on, in the comments below. You can find out with the link in my bio! 👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽 #IndigenousPeoplesDay #NationalIndigenousPeoplesDay @made_nous
Devery Jacobs hails from the Mohawk tribe, an easterly tribe of people that are indigenous to North America and can be found in northern New York state as well as parts of Canada such as Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River. The Mohawk tribe boasts of a rich cultural heritage, part of which is their hairstyle – shaving both sides of the head and leaving only the middle part unshaven. This has since been adopted and popularised by the punk movement in the 80s.
Jacobs is quite proud of her identity and this has propelled her into using her Instagram account to promote indigenous people, cultures, and language. She has also used her account to highlight issues affecting her community such as the fact that the violence rates against indigenous women and girls are ten times higher on some reservations than the national U.S. average.
Devery is also using her craft to bring attention to issues affecting indigenous people. The American Gods star has directed a short film, Stolen (2016), which tells the story of missing and murdered native women in Canada. Jacobs was inspired to film the story due to her experiences of working in a women’s shelter as well as the fact that one of the girls from her community mysteriously disappeared with no trace. Her efforts were not in vain as the film won the award for the best aboriginal film at the 2017 Yorkton Film Festival.