We’ve got all the praise in the world for actors who can singlehandedly carry the movies they’re in. Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York (sorry Leo, but you were on some bullshit in that one) — it’s an exclusive list. But you know what’s even more impressive than shining among shitty supporting actors? Shining when your supporting actor is a horse.
That’s the life Jaylen Barron is about. She plays the lead in Free Rein, a Daytime Emmy Award-winning Netflix series centred around a young girl who spends the summer in her mother’s quaint childhood town off the coast of England, where she befriends said horse while solving mysteries, making frenemies, and falling in love — you know, as one does. She also plays Dominique Winslow on Shameless, where she essentially shines among a cast of raging alcoholics.
Barron recently opened up to us about developing an acting relationship with a steed, chicken wings, and the secret to having an on-fleek Instagram account.
What can we expect from your character Zoe in season two of Free Rein?
Zoe definitely chooses her love interest — someone she really wants to be with. There are a few surprise twists and turns, some enemies might just become frenemies, but that’s all I can give away right now.
Was it difficult building a relationship with a horse vs. a human supporting actor?
I think it’s the same with anybody — you have to build trust with anybody. I had to work with this horse every day, so we spent a lot of time together. It just felt like, over time, our bond became stronger and stronger. But now, me and that horse are close. I think that’s because I always give him treats.
Did you have experience horseback riding before or did you have to learn that for the show?
No, I learned for the show. I lied in the audition room and then we started filming and they’re like, “She doesn’t know how to do anything.” And I was like, “Well, I signed the contract already, guys!” So in between shooting and on the weekends, I would ride horses.
Can you relate to Zoe’s character in the show?
I feel like she’s outspoken and can be a little sassy, so I feel like that’s how I can relate to her. But her and I are really different in a lot of ways — I think that’s why I like to play her. Because she can be very sweet — you know, when she needs to speak up for something, she’ll be like, “You know what? I’ll hold my tongue right now.” And then she’ll go about it the right way. But with me? I’ll just happen to say something right then and there.
What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from doing the show?
To have patience and that everything happens for a reason. So, even though sometimes you might be feeling a little bit down on certain days, literally everything happens for a reason. You may not want to ride a horse that day, especially being so far away from home, but it will all work out in the end,
Was it different filming in England vs. being home in America?
It was a bit different but I think that’s only because I didn’t get to go home to my bed every day, you know what I mean? Or I didn’t get to go home on the weekends. That’s really what made it different, besides the accents and me having trouble understanding everybody.
I couldn’t help noticing that you are slaying all your looks Instagram. What’s the secret to having the perfect Insta account?
I think the secret is to be yourself. Honestly, it sounds so cheesy but it’s true. And also, if you want to do the extra, dress for your mood. Sometimes I feel like I’m a tomboy and I don’t feel like wearing makeu,p and other days I feel like, Oh let me put on this fake weave and then put on some fake eyelashes and call it a day. So it really depends on your mood. Dress for your mood.
Who do you look to for inspiration, style-wise?
I lurk on Rhianna’s profile all the time. I think that’s where I get my inspiration from because she dresses for her mood. Somedays she’s really girly and some days she is a tomboy.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what are three things you’d need to keep yourself sane?
My dog, some conditioner, and some Wingstop.
It’s, like, this hot wing place.
Are chicken wings your favourite food?
Yes! Chicken wings and french fries and ceasar salad.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
On my social media, I don’t really post pictures of my family because I’m a really private person with that. I also don’t post people I’m dating. I’m an over-thinker.