Meet actress Skai Jackson. Skai, 10, plays eight-year-old Zuri Ross, the youngest member of the rambunctious Ross family at the center of Disney Channel’s Jessie. The Ross’s adopted Zuri from Africa when she was a baby. Zuri and her three siblings are watched over by their nanny Jessie, played by Debbie Ryan.
In a new episode of Jessie airing Friday, August 24, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Disney Channel, the Ross family celebrates Zuri’s “Gotcha Day,” and Jessie is in charge of decorations. What is Gotcha Day? Read TFK’s Q&A with Skai Jackson to find out.
What do you like most about your character Zuri?
I like how she’s fashionable. She knows what she wants. She loves her nanny Jessie. They really bond together. And she loves her brothers and sisters.
How are you similar to and different from Zuri?
I like to wear the same things Zuri does sometimes, but I don’t wear [as] much pink. I’m kind of sassy, and Zuri is too. So we have some similarities in that.
Zuri is the star of an upcoming episode about her "Gotcha Day." Can you tell us about the episode?
Gotcha Day is basically when you celebrate the day you adopt a baby. So we share photos from when Zuri was a baby, and she gets so many prizes for her Gotcha Day, and she’s so excited. She doesn’t know if Gotcha Day is going to go well, and it does. You guys are going to love the episode.
Are there any special anniversaries or holidays you like to celebrate?
I love to celebrate Christmas. I love to celebrate all the holidays.
What else is going on with Zuri on the show this season?
(Skai wears) some new clothes that you guys will like. Many more adventures. You guys will love it.
Zuri, the character, is a big prankster. Have you played any pranks on set?
I actually have played pranks on set. Me and my friend Peyton [Peyton List, who plays Emma Ross on Jessie] pranked the boys. Debbie got us these marshmallow guns—you shoot marshmallows out of them. We pranked some people [on set with them]. We also pranked [the cast of] Ant Farm on one episode, and they got so scared.
It sounds like you have a lot of fun on set. Do you enjoy working with Debbie Ryan?
I do. She’s, like, the best person ever. She’s really sweet, and she cares for us.
Does she give you advice about acting?
She gives us really good advice about acting, and she gives us advice about hitting our marks on Jessie, and sometimes she gives us gifts. She’s like our second parent.
Other than playing pranks, what else do you like to do during your down time on set?
I like to play with the cast, that’s so much fun. I love to go outside, ride my bike, do hula hoops, and just be active and run around with the cast. And every Thursday or Friday when there is a live taping [of the show], we walk around the stage, and we get to see the fans who are in the live audience.
You have an interesting pet on the show, Mr. Kipling [played by giant lizard Frank]. Do you like working with the giant lizard?
I do like working with Mr. Kipling. He’s a very strange pet to have, but he’s really nice. That’s the biggest lizard I ever saw in my life.