Photography by Trevor Brady

Side by Side with Alexis Sides – Interview

It’s the show everyone is talking about, everyone is enjoying, posting, sharing, discussing, and such. It’s Grease: Rise of The Pink Ladies. For those of you who haven’t watched it (and if not, how come?) or you’re not subscribed to Paramount +, here’s a quick simple explanation of the series: Taking place 4 years before the movie so many of us have seen, it focuses on 4 girls who are misfits at their school and decide to bond together and change how things go at their school, Rydell High. Hijinks ensue, such as pranks, epic music numbers, and radical changes. Now for a full disclosure moment: I was on set. I don’t want to get into too much detail, or this article will look like one of Shaun’s summaries from a trilogy he does from time to time. Normally I wouldn’t do coverage on something I worked on because I consider that to be cheating, not to mention fear of violating those NDA’s I signed every single day. But with the way things are going, I couldn’t pass up the chance to talk to an actor who I may have crossed paths with, and I definitely couldn’t pass up the chance to talk to an actor in what’s trending right now. So put on your leather jacket and prepare for some good ol’ 50’s nostalgia that you may have never experienced except for in the movies/tv you watched. This is my little interview with Alexis Sides and his role as Potato, in Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies. It’s his very first role on a series or production too, but I have a feeling it will be very very far from his last. This guy could be in so much, I can imagine.


HNMAG: Tell me more about your role as a T-Bird. Was it something you felt you could really get into?

Alexis Sides: Oh yeah, for sure. There’s a lot of energy within Potato and the fact that’s he also Mexican, he’s quirky, funny. He always has a joke coming around, he’s very light-hearted, so I felt like I could jump into the character really easily and the hardest part was getting used to the whole 50’s situation but other than that it was like a glove for sure.


HNMAG: How did you feel when you got booked for the role?

Alexis Sides: I was so excited! It was like a 3-4 audition process, a long time and I couldn’t believe it, it was the first audition I actually booked. After 3 years of auditioning and more than 75 auditions, booking this meant the world, and having it be Grease, not only that but being one of the T-Birds. I was stoked.


HNMAG: Did you ever find yourself in similar life situations, such as PTSD, or struggles of learning English?

Alexis Sides: Yeah, fortunately enough I haven’t gone through any PTSD experiences so that was definitely one challenge I had to go through as Potato. Just being in those shoes of somebody who has to take care of their family and someone whose Dad is not taking care of the family as he should be. The language is another thing that has Potato struggling in the school and also being a Mexican and that’s one of the things I definitely relate to. 


HNMAG: I happened to be there myself on set for a few nights. Did you ever get involved in late night shoots?

Alexis Sides: Oh yeah! There were a lot, especially the one in Grease is the Word. That was a long night shoot and we had to go to Langley to a movie Drive-in. That was like 16-17 hours for sure and we are lucky enough that the production had hooked us up with hotels and we just stayed there. It was a 5-minute drive from the Drive-in so that was really easy for us. It was insane but it was fun and having everyone’s energy made the day shorter. 

Alexis and I proceeded to talk about our on-set experiences and from both our perspectives we both agreed it was a fun time. We both went on what happened those particular nights for both of us as we had two different roles and even shared a good laugh while doing it. We may have made awkward eye contact on set at one point but I’m not sure. I was pretty zonked. However, look at us now. I’m doing an interview with him.


HNMAG: And seeing as there were some elaborate song and dance numbers, was it gruelling or did you have less involvement in them?

Alexis Sides: For sure, even though I have a background in theatre, that doesn’t actually mean I took dancing or singing lessons. Back in 2007, Cabo San Lucas was way smaller back then. So I had to adapt with what I had and just coming into this, I saw the audition and all I saw was singers and dancers. I knew that my background in theatre was going to give me a little bit of an edge, but was that going to be enough? I decided to do it and luckily enough with all the support of Jamal Sims, Jeff Mortensen, and Louise Hradsky, it was not easy but easier than I thought and the patience that they had and everything else was just amazing. This season I didn’t get to sing a lot, no solos or anything, but I hope to have some in Season 2. We did some background voices for Grease is The Word and some other songs you’re going to see in the next episodes. Obviously with Simone Torres who helped us record those voices, it was so fun in the studio. She gave us a lot of freedom in our voice, that was really fun.


HNMAG: It was also a chance to play somebody younger than usual. Was that kind of strange for you?

Alexis Sides: A little bit because on set there were definitely things I would forget to do and it was hard to know what to do. Right now I’m 25 so I’m used to the 25 year old life and it’s been 10 years since I’ve been 15. There were a lot of things that were definitely hard to readapt for sure. 


HNMAG: Now what were some other challenges you had on set?

Alexis Sides: Just getting used to the whole thing was overwhelming. It’s not what I was experiencing back at Cabo San Lucas, but with Rise of The Pink Ladies, there was this moment when I was looking up and there were all these lights and cranes and everything was like “wow!” for me since I’ve never been in a production in Canada or anything. It was just crazy for me to see everything and there was a lot of scenes that I had at the beginning that I was a little bit nervous because you have the showrunner Annabel Oakes, Alethea Jones directing you, you have all these big names just looking through a little screen and you know that the camera sees a lot of details. You just want to do your best job and because it was my first job everything was mixed up and I think that’s another challenge I went through but I would say by episode 3 I started getting more comfortable with the whole situation. It was like fishing in the sea for me.


HNMAG: And what were some of your favourite moments on set?

Alexis Sides: The whole experience! The crew, the cast, everyone was so welcoming and it was such a great vibe. Everybody had their backs and we just created this Grease Family vibe. I can’t wait to get back to it if it ever happens. 


HNMAG: The series has been really getting good buzz lately, I’ve noticed. You’re hoping for more seasons, I bet.

Alexis Sides: Yeah, definitely. I’ve seen some the reviews on Twitter, and a lot of them have been amazing. I’ve seen on TikTok all these dances and they did one for Potato and Dot. In the first episode, there’s kind of a spark going on there between both of them. People ship them together and call them Dotato and that’s pretty cute.


HNMAG: How do you feel about what fans say about you?

Alexis Sides: I love it, there’s not a lot of comments I’ve seen about me. They’re not very in-depth because my character has not been very showcased a lot which is coming in the upcoming episodes. I can’t wait to see what people think of Potato and how they can relate to that.


HNMAG: If you had a chance to write, direct or produce an episode in the future, would you take it?

Alexis Sides: I am interested in writing or directing in the near future, but this is my first gig and I’m technically new in this industry. I’m just starting and there’s a lot to learn in acting and hopefully this leads to more opportunities where I can write, producer, or direct.


HNMAG: If you had a chance to get involved in other spinoffs/side projects of Grease, would you take them?

Alexis Sides: (laughs) We’ll have to see what the idea is, but that’ll be really interesting for sure, and to look into.

He may just be starting, but it’s obvious Alexis is finding his way around and that is incredible. What other kind of roles will he take on in the future? We’ll just have to stay tuned and find out, but for now let’s keep watching Grease: Rise of The Pink Ladies and see his screenwork. I’m already pretty impressed with his role as I watch this series.

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