Whenever she is on screen, Tasya Teles commands attention, no matter what character she portrays or which side her character is on. Even in the CW’s apocalyptic thriller series THE 100, Tasya’s ferocious energy and determination shines like a beacon, particularly as her character Echo was first introduced while held captive in a cage and yet we never forgot for one second that Echo was dangerous. Echo’s loyalties and trustworthiness have been a point of contention over the past two seasons and it continues to make her a “wild card” element as the show enters Season 4. In an exclusive interview, Tasya Teles talks about the tremendous appeal and draw of portraying the multi-layered Echo and the joy of working on THE 100.
What initially drew you to the role of Echo in THE 100 when she first joined the show?
TASYA: Definitely her sass! When she spat in Bellamy’s [Bob Morley] face I basically fell in love.
How would you describe who Echo is? What do you most admire and/or like about her?
TASYA: Echo is a badass warrior with samurai-like sword skills, who is fiercely loyal to those that she fights for. She’s a member of Ice Nation’s Royal Guard, and their best spy, which is so cool. Part of what makes a great spy is they’re so paranoid all the time, which keeps her emotionally distant from others. She doesn’t trust people quickly, and she lives in the safe simplicity of her mission: to protect the King. There certainly is an emotional side to Echo, but she’ll do her best to never let you see it. I love that she doesn’t go down without a fight, and she’s also incredibly resilient and very clever. That’s what makes her so dangerous.
Is Echo solidly behind the decisions being made by Roan [Zach McGowan] as the new king of Ice Nation, or is she starting to question his leadership in Season 4?
TASYA: Echo and Roan play off each other as they tumble through negotiations between Skaikru and Ice Nation. At times, Echo is the driving force behind the decision making, and Roan is exercising his new power as King, but it’s a bumpy road. Messages get lost and warped, and nobody ever seems to have the full picture of what is going on. But I can say that Echo stands solidly behind King Roan. She’s his most devoted, and loyal guard – despite whether she agrees with his choices or not. It will be fun to see if that starts to change or not.
After betraying Bellamy’s trust in Season 3 in order so that Ice Nation would destroy Mount Weather, does Echo view him as friend or foe?
TASYA: It’s difficult to say exactly how she perceives him. Perhaps somewhere in between.
Is Echo conflicted about betraying Bellamy’s trust after he so heroically saved her in Season 2 from the Mount Weather harvesting?
TASYA: Well, she did save his life by taking him out of Mount Weather. But yes, on some level I’m sure there’s remorse.
Generally, what kind of journey does Echo undertake in Season 4?
TASYA: Her entire belief system gets challenged time and time again. You see her struggle through a lot through the season, both physically and mentally. Negotiations between the clans is more difficult than ever, and compromise isn’t Echo’s forte. She’s not great at dealings with questions of humanity or negotiations. She’s a product of basic training, and basic training deals with black and white. She’s not cerebral or emotional; that’s a part of her learning, and her journey in season four.
Do you see Echo as a hero, savior, betrayer, or traitor this season?
TASYA: Echo will always be my hero. She’ll selflessly put herself in danger to protect others, is fiercely loyal, and never backs down. Respect!
What are the odds of Echo making it alive through the entire season?
TASYA: Very few people make it out alive this season. It’s heart breaking. That’s all I have to say.
What has it been like working more with Eliza Taylor, Bob Morley and Zach McGowan? Any favorite scenes or moments you can share?
TASYA: Oh my gosh. I love those fools so much. We had innumerable moments of hilarity and insanity and everything in between. I remember the day Zach and I showed up in our Ice Nation war paint. Bob thought it was the most hilarious thing he’s ever seen. He’d especially pick on me. He kept on calling us pandas, which stuck for the rest of the season. Then Zach discovered this panda face warp app on MSQRD, so we’d run around snapping photos of us as pandas totally misbehaving. The pandas stealing all the cookies from craft services, the pandas out at night, the pandas mean mugging with the crew, the pandas were unstoppable!
What is your favorite part about working on THE 100?
TASYA: The cast. The story. The crazy things I get to do on set. Speaking and learning Trigadeslang. Working in the forest. Our craft services truck. Fight choreography. Working with the best crew ever. Being a part of this really special story is a privilege I don’t take lightly.
What is the one thing you have taken away from working on THE 100?
TASYA: To live in the moment. That anything can happen.
What do you hope viewers take away from watching it in Season 4?
TASYA: That there are many sides to a story. And most of the time, no one is completely innocent.
Who would you like to have the opportunity to work more with on THE 100 and why?
TASYA: Sachin. He’s hilarious. It would be so much fun to work with him. Plus, our characters are so different from each other, it would be awesome to see how they interact.
You are also appearing in the role of Tricia in PRISON BREAK: THE SEQUEL this Spring. How would you describe who Tricia is and what do you most admire and/or like about her?
TASYA: Like many of the characters I play, she’s tough and strong willed. She’s fought her way to the top of the food chain, which warrants tremendous respect.
What is your favorite part about working on PRISON BREAK: THE SEQUEL?
TASYA: I have to say, it was really fun pretending to participate in high-level Pentagon style espionage. I was super important. I had the expensive suit and security clearance card to prove it.
What is the one thing you have taken away from the experience of working on PRISON BREAK: THE SEQUEL?
TASYA: Working in a suit is tough. Especially in the summer.
At this stage of your career, what do you think you have learned from the amazing variety of roles and projects you have worked on?
TASYA: That each of us harbors many different versions of ourselves, some versions are nicer than others, and some are the worst versions of ourselves. But we are not uniquely one thing, good or bad, and we shouldn’t perceive ourselves or anyone else that way. Each person is uniquely complex and interesting: so let your freak flag fly, and be generous with others. We’re all in this together.
Then what are the perks of where you are in your career right now?
TASYA: A major perk is being surrounded by so much talent at work. It’s also exciting to be at the tipping point where I feel like anything can happen. I also love doing fan conventions and connecting with the viewers. It’s so lovely to meet everyone, get to know them, and hear their stories and ideas about the shows. I always have such a blast.
If there were one role you would like to revisit from your career, which would it be and why?
TASYA: Kate Luck in “Damaged.” It was my first lead role in a feature film, and I was so nervous. I remember this one big emotional scene where I’m screaming and crying, and I got so worked up that I kept wandering off my mark and off camera. By the way, Rule number one is hit your mark. I think some of my best work was lost because I wasn’t in the frame. Sigh, would love a re-do.
Has there been any great advice you have gotten? What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
TASYA: Surround yourself with amazing teachers and mentors who keep you inspired. One of the greatest teachers I’ve had told me that your self-esteem comes from being good at what you do. So pick something you love, and don’t give up until you’re the damn best.
Are there other upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
TASYA: “Watch Dogs 2”! I play Sitara, the female lead. She’s a badass in her own right; very smart, agile, creative, and tough. She’s a parkourist graffiti artist, and one of the coolest characters I’ve played. “Watch Dogs 2” is one of the best stories I’ve been a part of, so check it out for sure.
What do you aspire to do next?
TASYA: Learn how to salsa dance. Write and produce my own feature film. Sleep.
To see how fiercely Echo strives to protect her clan and her king and the lengths she will go to, be sure to tune in for the Season 4 premiere of THE 100 on Wednesday, February 1st at 9:00 p.m. on the CW. Then also keep an eye for her new film “Watch Dogs 2” coming in 2017. For updates on her work and career, be sure to follow Tasya on Twitter @tasyteles and Instagram and Snapchat under: Tasya Teles