'Neighbors' Actress Enjoys Seeing Things Differently

Article excerpt

Question: What's one Earthly custom that's hardest for Jackie to understand?

Answer: It would probably be something that's every day -- like having to sleep in a bed. I don't think it would be a big thing, but probably something little like that.

Q: Did the show give you a new perspective on things we consider normal?

A: Yes and no. I think the writers do a phenomenal job taking something ordinary to Americans and really presenting it as being something weird. Because I'm not from this country, I come from Nigeria, and did grow up without electricity a lot of the time and without water some of the time. So there are just things about being in America that people take for granted every day. And I think it's fantastic that you can take it for granted because I think it's lovely to not have to think about running water and those things. I think that, yeah, every time we do something new (on the show), I'm kind of like, "Oh yeah! I remember thinking that was odd."

Q: Did experiencing different cultures help you relate better to what Jackie is going through?

A: Growing up somewhere, I think of it as wherever your family is. I think the interesting thing about that question, which I've gotten since I moved here, is that people think it must be so different. But your childhood is your childhood, and you don't think growing up, "Oh, this is different!" I grew up with a lot of American television, and I knew I wanted to be an American. It's such a hard question. I know the way I grew up prepared me in many different ways in my life because I believe the universe has a plan for each of us. I love who I am, and I love my life and all the lessons I've learned -- everything that comes up, I'm like, "Oh, that's why I had to go through that!" So in many ways, it's prepared me for life and what I do now.

Q: So you're used to being the odd man out?

A: I was really odd as a kid, and no one ever knew what to do with me. I was really strange and different and very emotional, but on the quiet side. I got picked on a lot, not like I didn't have friends -- I had a lot of friends. But there's always that one girl in the group that gets picked on, and I was that girl. I remember every day thinking, "Someone's going to be picking on me, and someone's going to be telling lies about me. …