“I never saw anybody like me on the screen” : actress Jessalyn Walim

Jessalyn Wanlim (Jenny) in CBC’s Workin’ Moms. (CBC photo)

Updated: April 19, 2021, 8:15 A.M.

Vancouver, B.C.

She loves playing characters that represent her culture


Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas

Editor, Philippine Canadian News.Com (PCN.Com)

“Growing up, I never saw anybody like me on the screen,” and being “able to play this character and representing my culture, I think that’s the one thing that I really love about this show.”

That’s how Jessalyn Wanlim sees her character in the CBC series Workin’ Moms in an interview with the Calgary Herald. The hit series first aired in 2017 and had its season 5 finale  on April 13. 

Wanlim’s mother is Filipino and her father is Chinese-Indonesian.

The Calgary-born actress studied dance at the National Ballet School of Canada and furthered her artistic endeavors at The Juilliard School in New York. While in New York, she began booking roles on popular shows such as Gossip Girl and All My Children, and eventually moved to Los Angeles where her television and film credits grew to include The Closer, Modern Family, Bad Teacher, Matador, CSI:NY, Bones, Scoundrels, Alex Cross opposite Tyler Perry, and In My Dreams opposite Katharine McPhee, among others. In 2016 Wanlim played Evie Cho in a season-long arc on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black opposite Tatiana Maslany.

Workin’ Moms became a surprise hit for CBC and was praised  for its funny but realistic portrayal of new motherhood through the eyes of four friends. Wanlin plays Jenny Matthews who she sees as reflecting some of the struggles young mothers go through.

The actor and mother who now lives in the U.S. grew up in Calgary. At age 12, she moved away from home and started taking dance pretty seriously, “wanted to continue my education instead of auditioning for dance companies, and got accepted into Julliard when I was seventeen,” she told Ricepaper in an interview.

She says she likes Jenny Matthews who “marches to the beat of her own drum, a lot. She initially in season one, realizes that motherhood doesn’t suit her and it doesn’t necessarily fulfill her in terms of happiness and identity. A bit like losing yourself because you’re there for somebody else. “

Her partner in the series, Malcolm Cody Patrick (MCP), is played by Filipino actor Alex Mallari Jr.

Two Filipinos in Workin’ Moms. (CBC photo)

 Mallari Jr. is a Canadian actor and martial artist. He is best known for portraying Four/Ryo Ishida on SyFy’s hit series, Dark Matter. He has since guest starred and recurred on primetime TV shows such as, Workin’ Moms, Coroner, Jett, and Shadowhunters. Mallari has also found his way into the video gaming industry as the voice of Nomad, the main character on Ubisoft’s, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint.

You can watch Workin’ Moms on the free CBC Gem streaming service.

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