Alisha Wainwright has been a welcome addition to Freeform’s Shadowhunters TV season in which she plays the popular Maia Roberts character from the Mortal Instruments book series. The character has formed a connection with Simon (Alberto Rosende) and now she must deal with the arrival of Jordan Kyle (Chai Hansen), the werewolf who turned her. This storyline has allowed us to finally see some of Maia’s past.
With a new episode of Shadowhunters airing tonight (May 8) on Freeform, we were able to talk to Alisha about what’s been going on with Maia as well as what might be coming next. Enjoy!
KSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: We just got Maia’s origin story shown on TV. Was that a fun one to get to film?
ALISHA WAINWRIGHT: Oh, yeah. From the kind of the start, and at the end of Season 2, they were like “oh, we’re definitely going to do these flashbacks at some point,” so I knew it was happening, it was just a matter of where they were going to stick it in the season. I’m really glad that we got it kind of right off the bat, when Maia and Jordan see each other for the first time after years of not knowing anything about what the other has been up to. So, I’m glad we got a chance to see that unfold from a more neutral standpoint, because the first time we got a taste of what their relationship was like, it was coming from Maia’s side. Now we’re seeing how it went down, and then also, we give Jordan an opportunity to explain himself, to a degree, and that’s how we start to begin with “what happens now,” basically. I don’t even want to call it a reconciliation, but it’s like “how do we move forward now that everyone’s caught up with what’s happened?”
How has her impression of Jordan Kyle changed now that she knows more of the details?
I think the final scene with the two of them in Episode 7 is so great, because it kind of answered all of my questions. “I’m still very hurt, and I appreciate that you are doing this philanthropic thing where you’re helping Downworlders in need, that’s amazing, and I think that that’s great, but that has nothing to do with me. And if you’re trying to insert yourself in my life, you can’t be like ‘look at these great things that I did for other people.’ You have to show me how you would enrich my life. Because if you’re not gonna enrich my life, I don’t want you in it.” He goes up to that, and is like “I’ll leave. I’ll get out of the way,” and she’s like “No. Don’t run from your problems. Stay here, and tell me that you won’t abandon Simon, this person who you’ve infiltrated his life. Now is the time to prove that you’re not like you were in the past, and just running from things. Stay, and help him.” You know?
In this week’s episode there’s a really good scene where Maia really lets her emotions out. Can you talk about that?
I think wolves are so even-tempered, because they have to be. If you get too excitable, that’s what makes you turn. So it’s almost an embarrassment for a lack of self-control, when you turn when you don’t want to. So, I think that scene… it’s really hard, because someone like Jordan pushes her buttons like that, but only someone like Simon can calm her down. So you see it start to happen, but then Simon’s there to relax her and remind her that she is in control, and then she can remove herself from the situation, to actually give it some real thought.
Should Jordan be afraid of meeting Luke?
[Laughs] You know, I think Luke… as much as he cares about Maia, he knows that she can take care of herself, so I would hope that Luke wouldn’t fight a battle that is not his to fight, but I would imagine that he would have problems with meeting him, but I would say that Luke understands that this is something that is Maia’s situation to handle, and it is not his cross to bear.
Does Simon’s new extra power scare Maia at all, considering what she went through with Jordan?
Strangely, no. From her point of view, it kind of just sounds like a really cool feature. Like, “wow! It’s this amazing thing where people can’t hurt you? That sounds great!” And Simon’s like, “wait! No! I hurt people from this!” So I feel like Maia’s just way more relaxed about it than she should be. But moreso, she’s just like “I think you need to relax.” Because Simon’s an anxious person, and he doesn’t want to hurt people. Maia has hurt people in the past, but only when she feels they’ve done something wrong, so in her mind, this mark is kind of a great thing, because it means that only people who are trying to hurt you get hurt.
Do you think Simon and Maia just have a special bond that can keep them from being too ruined by the relationships of their past?
You come into every relationship with baggage, and I think that there’s a tenderness that they share, an understanding of what it’s like to be torn from your mundane life into this new world. So I feel like there’s just such a beautiful camaraderie in that. That’s pretty new. Maia’s been a Downworlder for a little longer than Simon, but on the whole, they’re kind of working through it together, and I just really enjoy how they try and solve problems together. They make a great team, and that’s something that I think keeps them together more than it separates them.
How might Maia fit in to this whole Lilith story that’s growing?
Based on the last episodes, Simon’s mark – it seems like “oh, wait, this could actually be good, but also, you don’t want to vaporize these people who didn’t do anything wrong. So how do we handle it?” So, Maia inserts herself into the Lilith storyline by helping Simon go and try and figure out what exactly happened.
What are you personally hoping to see in Maia’s future on the show?
I just want her to be happy with a white picket fence… no, just kidding. I feel like that being tormented by trauma makes it hard to live your life, and I think that being forced to handle this trauma head-on will close a chapter that’s always been open since she became a werewolf. So, for me, I want to see this get resolved, one way or another. Either she chooses to forgive Jordan and move on, or she chooses not to forgive him and move on, but whatever happens, I think it’s important that when something really awful happens to someone, there needs to be a resolution so that you can live your life past that event. No one wants to be defined by an event. I want for her so much to be able to move on and grow from the experience.
How has the experience been for you to join the world of the Shadowhunters with the huge fan base that the show has?
It’s been incredible. I just feel really privileged to join this cast and this production, and to be given the opportunity to put my personal spin on a fan favorite character. I understand how important it is to those that love the story, love the books, and love the show, and I feel really honored to be a part of it. Also, I feel incredibly lucky that Todd [Slavkin] and Darren [Swimmer] took a chance on me to tell her story, and obviously from this whole experience, just hearing from the fans and being able to really live with Maia’s character for almost two years now… you couldn’t ask for a better situation.
Is there anything else that you’d like to say to the fans who will be reading this?
Ah, man. It feels like the episodes keep getting better and better. It keeps happening until the finale. I’ve been so impressed with the scripts that keep coming in, especially in 3B. The show keeps getting so much better, and I look forward to what the fans say on social media, and I also look forward to potentially doing a Season 4!
Photos from tonight’s episode of Shadowhunters “A Heart of Darkness” can be found here. Our thanks to Alisha Wainwright for doing this interview!