Think of Jaimie Alexander as the ultimate jawbreaker.
Wearing a revealing Azzaro Couture gown that strategically exposed her skin from stem to stern at the Thor: The Dark World red carpet premiere in Hollywood, Alexander, who cheerfully wears her striking combination of beauty and edge on her sleeve, dropped jaws so hard I’d be surprised if they didn’t shatter on impact.
The self-proclaimed tomboy (fans have asked her to arm wrestle) stole Thor’s thunder amid the flashbulbs for sure, but it was her feminine self confidence that really turned heads. Her positive body-image message, shared with young girls everywhere, is what truly makes her memorable.
“I speak at schools, and I speak out about positive body image,” Alexander says. “I know, you look at me and, you’re like, ‘You’re tall. You’re kind of pretty – blah blah blah.’ I have less an A cup, okay? So there are things about me that aren’t Hollywood standard, and I actually really like it. I have tattoos.”
“I grew up with four brothers. I was a high school wrestler. I did all of these things that aren’t typical of a young woman,” she adds. “So I like to embrace that side of my personality and let my uniqueness show. And I try to say to young women, ‘Don’t be afraid of yourself.’ Work what your mama gave you and appreciate it, because everybody is different, and nobody is a duplicate. No one can actually be you, so you have that above everyone else.”
You hear that, ladies?
I had the awesome opportunity to sit down with Alexander in Los Angeles — her headline-making gown carefully covered by a hairy green “Wookiee” coat, as she called it — to chat more about what it’s like to be an extraterrestrial Viking warrior woman navigating a male-dominated Asgardian world. In doing so, I discovered that there’s a lot more to Alexander — and Lady Sif — than a gorgeous face.
10 ways Lady Sif empowers women everywhere to be themselves (and yes, I blurred the line between actual woman and imagined warrior):
Sif has a way of stealing Thor’s thunder… 1 of 11
...for all the right reasons.
She enjoys being a (super) girl 2 of 11
"Oh, man. It's an amazing feeling," Alexander says. "Especially when the character is written so well like my character is. You know, it's about her, personally, and the physicality follows."
"I think that's the way to write a female character really well, and Marvel does that," she adds. "So, for me it's been a dream come true."
She doesn’t need a man to define her sense of self 3 of 11
"They hint at [romance] a little bit," Alexander says. "They can't go fully there - yet - but they definitely hint at it. And it's always fun, because that's in the comic books, and we definitely want to appease the fans."
"So, I look at him a few times," she adds. "Unfortunately he's not shirtless in front of me, but that's fine, it's all right. Thor is the future of Asgard, and he's still a bit of a smart-ass. But he also is very noble, and he's very humble, and I think for her that's partly why she cares so much for him, even more than she used to. And he has a hammer."
She protects the ones she loves 4 of 11
"You get to see a very vulnerable side of Sif," Alexander says. "And you also get to see what her fellow Asgardians mean to her."
"Now, in the first movie, we explored that a little bit," she adds. "She's very protective. Her first priority is to protect her fellow Asgardians and the throne. This one, there's a little bit of heartache, but it's really amazing, because she's very selfless. The heartache is definitely an underlying tone to her, and then she kind of puts it aside and says, 'You know what? I have lives to save. I'm going to put that first,' so you kind of get to see what she's made of a little bit."
She stands up for what she believes in 5 of 11
"I like that she's selfless, and in a way, that's one of her greatest strengths, but it's also her downfall," Alexander says. "She really puts everyone else first, and she's not afraid to give her opinion. She does it respectfully, but she definitely stands up for what she believes in."
I can appreciate that, and I try to adopt that in my own life as much as I can," she adds.
She’s a tomboy 6 of 11
"I try to incorporate that [uniqueness] in Lady Sif," Alexander says. "Her costume is covered. She's not revealing anything, yet, she's feminine."
"But she's also tough, so you really see her personality before you see her physicality, and that's most important," she adds.
She looks up to other wonder-ful women 7 of 11
"There was a superhero named Wonder Woman that I definitely looked up to growing up, and actually, Sigourney Weaver," Alexander says. "She was always my favorite. She seemed to embody a sense of humor while being stoic and being powerful, and also being feminine. To me, she is the ideal woman."
"And, Walt Simonson, who had a great deal to do with my character, actually saw Sigourney Weaver walking down a street in a red trenchcoat in the 1970s, and said, 'That's going to be Sif.' So, my character is modeled after Sigourney Weaver," she adds. "To me, that's come full circle."
She wears what she likes 8 of 11
"I wear two corsets in the movie and a padded chest, so I would say everything from the waist up is pretty inaccurate," Alexander says. "In the first movie, I thought I was going to die. Ken Branagh made us leaning boards like they would use for Shakespearean costumes. So instead of sitting down, we had to lean against a wall like Frankenstein."
"Eventually, the costumes warm up, and they move, and when you break some things in, you can move," she adds. "But, this time around - any time you get a second go at something, you get to make adjustments and make things a little bit easier, better. We did that with the costumes and we made Sif's costume a little bit more feminine. A little bit easier to move in."
"A lot of new materials were looked at," she continues. "The first corset is actually an [old-fashioned] lace-up corset, which, I'm sorry, but I would have hated to have [worn it] back then. And then the second one is metal. So the metal one gets a little annoying after a while, but it's surprisingly easy to move in."
She makes fart noises 9 of 11
"When the cameras aren't rolling, we usually make fart noises to make each other laugh," Alexander says. "That's what you get, being around a bunch of boys, it's like being at home."
Going back to set a second time was like going to a family reunion," she adds. "People got married, they had babies, and all of this craziness. And it was just really fun to reunite with everybody. And then after that awkward moment of 'I haven't seen you in three years,' that breaks, and then the fart noises come out. So it's all right."
She takes risks 10 of 11
"There's an opening battle sequence that I had a blast doing," Alexander says of doing her own stunt work. "I got to do a backflip off a horse. It was a lot of fun and several wires were involved and stunt women. There's a corridor scene with Thor and Loki, and it's pretty funny."
"I'm that right amount of crazy," she continues. "But there are certain things that I'm not allowed to do. But as for the jumps, the fighting, the weapons - I do most of my own. There are some things that Sif does that are just completely impossible for any human being to do, and that's when the CGI comes in, but it's rare."
She celebrates her talents 11 of 11
"I am weirdly good at [sword fighting though]. I won't deny that," Alexander says. "I've got to give myself props. I'm actually a little too good at it, and it kind of freaks people out sometimes."
Photo credits: Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel
Travelhound Pilar wouldn’t mind being at Walt Disney World eating the ears off a Mickey ice cream bar right about now. But, since she can’t be at her “second home” year round, she curates happy thoughts on Disney Social Media Magic, a virtual springboard where breaking news and other Disneyfied thingamabobs are shared. For more mouse-minded geekery, join Pilar on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and personal site, One Mom Media.