From being an adorable child model in Band-Aid commercials to playing Zuri Ross in the Disney Channel sitcom Jessie and spin-off Bunk’d, 14-year-old Skai Jackson has literally grown up before our eyes on television. And now, thanks to some crafty people on social media, she has been immortalized as a meme.
You’ve probably seen the meme of Skai, sitting prim and proper, with so many hilarious captions attached to it. But there’s a simple backstory to the photo, and in an interview with The Root, Skai spoke about her Internet popularity, and of course her recent Twitter squabble with rapper Azealia Banks.
The Root: Can you give us the scoop on where the photo was taken and the occasion?
Skai Jackson: The picture was taken in New York. I was about to go on Good Day New York, and it was 7 a.m.—4 a.m. L.A. time—and I was super tired and my hairstylist just snapped the picture.
TR: What was your reaction when you realized you’d become a meme?
SJ: When I first saw the memes, I was surprised and I didn’t know why they were making them! But then I understood why and I thought they were funny, too!
TR: How have your family and friends reacted to the memes?
SJ: My friends thought they were really funny! Sometimes we would just text them back and forth.
TR: What are some of the positive and negative aspects of social media?
SJ: I think some of the positive aspects of social media are showing people your experiences and being able to connect with the fans, and the negative is getting hated on for whatever you do, and people assuming things about you that aren’t true.
Skai had the world of social media rooting for her a couple of weeks ago, when she single-handedly defended herself against grown-ass Banks. Banks not only attempted to body-shame the young girl but also tried to flex her own wilting star power. But that was nothing compared with what Skai had in return.
TR: Before the Twitter beef with rapper Azealia Banks, were you a fan of her music?
SJ: I never really knew any of her songs. I heard she had a song “212” back in 2011, and I’ve listened to it once and it wasn’t that bad.
TR: Why do you think she attacked you?
SJ: I think she attacked me because that’s just who she is. She’s a bitter person and just wants attention.
TR: What advice would you give teens your age on social media?
SJ: I would say don’t let the Internet haters get in the way of you being you. A lot of people aren’t going to like what you do at the end of the day, but if you think it’s something that you should be doing, go for it!
TR: If there was one thing you could change about social media, what would it be?
SJ: If I could change one thing, it would be the negativity. It can really put people down! It used to bother me, but now I know how to handle it. But I feel like if there was no negativity, it would be so much easier!
At just 14, Skai is wise beyond her years. When not squashing Internet haters in a single bound, she is working on an animated TV show called Wee Dragon 6 for DreamWorks; she also just started filming season 2 of Bunk’d. I’m willing to bet that her star will continue to outshine Banks’ in the long run.