[Interview] 7 Questions with SXSW Hosts And “Astrid & Lilly Save the World” Stars, Jana Morrison and Samantha Aucoin #SXSW #gg

Jana Morrison
Photo Credit: Raen Badua

Today, the spotlight gets placed on the gaming world for its outstanding art, design, narrative, gameplay, cultural innovation and more through the “SXSW Gaming Awards.” This year’s award ceremony is scheduled to stream live via SXSW Online and their Twitch Channel (sxswgaming), and it will feature celebrity hosts Jana Morrison and Samantha Aucoin!

Before the “Astrid & Lilly Save the World” stars kick off the high-spirited show, they graced BTSCelebs with their presence to properly introduce themselves, talk about how they became fans of SXSW (aka South by Southwest) and what the immediate future holds for them.

Let’s meet Jana Morrison and Samantha Aucoin now!

BTSCelebs: Who is Jana Morrison professionally?

Jana Morrison: Jana Morrison is a Filipino-Canadian multi-disciplinary performing artist! 

In addition to performing on stage and on camera, I’ve worked as a theater producer. One of my driving forces has been bringing more diversity to the forefront, and this remains a goal of mine now that I’m working in film and television.

Tell us all about your new series “Astrid & Lilly Save the World” and how you got involved in the SYFY production. 

“Astrid & Lilly Save The World” is a fun, scary, heartwarming, gross, cute, new show! It tells the story of two outcast teenage besties who accidentally open up a portal to a terrifying monster dimension. They have to collect a body part from each of a series of monsters in order to close the portal and save the world before it’s too late. They’ve got terrifying monsters in one hand and the horrors of high school in another.

I made the transition from live theater to film and TV in the early days of the pandemic, because film and voiceover bounced back well before the theater world could. I found film is a lot like theater – the acting principles are the same, though you’re acting for a camera instead of a live audience. So I got a great agent who sent me out for plenty of auditions, and I got a couple of fun one liners before I booked the role of Astrid. This is my first lead role, but I’ve been training for this moment for a long time. 

What is your favorite episode so far? 

Of the episodes we’ve seen so far, episode 3, “Amygdala,” is my favorite. It’s heartwarming, funny, a lot or weird stuff happens, and I think Sam and I are pretty bada** in it. I love getting to check in with all of the show’s characters, and (spoiler alert!) it felt really great to kill that monster with mayo! I think the episode does a good job of showing how people’s fears can manifest in so many different ways. But I’m even more excited about episode 9, Doppelkopf, airing on March 23! 

How did you become a fan of SXSW? 

I became a fan of SXSW when I realized how many awesome things they do for the community and for the entertainment industry. I love how SXSW brings people from around the world together, and they how they celebrate and push for diversity. The topics are tremendously varied, there’s lots to learn, lots to take in, there’s something for everyone, and SO MUCH FUN to be had. And I REALLY like fun! 

What is your favorite category in the SXSW? 

Even though I haven’t been in real life yet, I think that the SXSW Art Program would be my favorite part. I love being immersed in art, and I love when something is more than one thing. This artists involved in the program use so many different types of media to create art that is unique, beautiful, and thought-provoking. I love the balance between art and technology. 

What surprises can fans expect from you at this year’s award ceremony? 

Sam and I hope to bring fun, silliness, and excitement to the awards, and we can’t wait to introduce the awesome presenters who will be announcing the individual awards! We’re just gonna be your two new best friends having a laugh and fanning out over the presenters, the award winners, all of the nominees, and OF COURSE the incredible games!! Trust me… there will be plenty of bloopers for you too. 

What additional projects can we expect from you in 2022? 

I have many irons in the fire but nothing that I’m ready to unveil here. BUT I can let you know that I, Jana Morrison, am a project I’ll be working on in 2022; just trying to better myself, educate myself, and take care of my wellbeing. And of course my fingers are crossed for a second seasons of Astrid and Lilly Save the World.

Samantha Aucoin
Photo Credit: Raen Badua

Who is Samantha Aucoin professionally?

Samantha Aucoin is a singer, songwriter, actor and skin care/beauty enthusiast. 

Tell us all about your new series “Astrid & Lilly Save the World” and how you got involved in the SYFY production. 

During the pandemic, I was working as a childcare worker and during that time, I had signed on with a new agent, Emily Adcock, who then got me the audition for Astrid and Lilly Save the World. I found out a couple weeks later that I received a call back for the role of Lilly and then a few weeks after that, I found out I got the role! I flew out to St. John’s Newfoundland 2 weeks later to film the show! 

Astrid and Lilly Save the World follows two best friends in high school. They are plus sized outcasts who are trying to learn how to fit in. One day, they decide to go to this party hosted by this Jock named Tate, and he finds them there and fat shames them into leaving. To get out all their anger and frustration, the two decide to do this burn ritual (on the night of this full pink moon) and end up opening a portal to a monster dimension. Now it is up to Astrid and Lilly to close the portal and save the world! 

 What is your favorite episode so far?

My favorite episode thus far has been episode 5, A-Borg, because I find it’s the turning point for a lot of our characters. The audience receives a substantial amount of plot development in episode 5 and plus, it was really fun getting to kick a real door in. 

How did you become a fan of SXSW? 

I knew about SXSW because of their film and music festivals! I’ve always wanted to attend one of the South By festivals so it’s so cool that we get to host one of the award shows! 

 What is your favorite category in the SXSW? 

 My favourite category would be the music festivals! I’ve always been a huge fan of concerts and would love to attend the South By ones! 

What surprises can fans expect from you at this year’s award ceremony?

There may or may not be some crazy scene reenactments from our show… 

What additional projects can we expect from you in 2022? 

I will (hopefully) be releasing my EP this year! I’ve been working on it for quite some time so I look forward to people listening to it 🙂 Follow me on Instagram for the latest updates: @samanthaaucoin

 Thanks!!

Learn more about the SXSW Gaming Awards by viewing the official press release on BTSCelebs’ Facebook page.

A Special Thanks to Jana Morrison, Samantha Aucoin, Tadpole Communications, NBCUniversal and SXSW for the exclusive interviews and images. 

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