Actress, Pisay Pao Talks “Z Nation”, Fashion, and Healthy Living
“It’s Zombie Slicing Time”
Words and Interview by: Royse Todd
Since the start of the thrilling new season of “Z Nation”, the cast has been busy fighting off zombies and trying to save the world from total destruction. However, I was able to pull the attention of star, Pisay Pao and discuss with her the disgusting zombies that now were a part of her everyday life. Born in Thailand, the natural beauty had the makeup of a star and drive that took her career to new heights. Pisay came to the states along with her parents who had the dream that she would become academically brilliant. Although she did excel academically, Pisay had dreams of her own which included her passion for being in front of the camera. After one year at the University of Washington, Pisay left and pursed a career in fashion while still doing some work within the performing arts. After graduating, she looked into living her dream. It did not take her long to snag commercial gigs and the attention of different agencies and shortly after doing local commercials and some movies, she packed her bags and moved to L.A. where she earned the role as Cassandra in the skin twisting zombie fighting series, “Z Nation.” I was intrigued to learn about Pisay, the new season, and her future endeavors.
You’ve always had a niche for acting. What was the eye opener that gave you the inspiration to go after what seems to be your calling?
I was getting to a turning point in my life where I did not know what I was doing or where I was going. Every decision I wanted to make was somehow bound by finances so I asked myself what I would do if I won the lotto and did not have to worry about money. The first thing that came to mind was moving to LA to pursue acting. I realized that even with all the money in the world, I still wanted to pursue my dreams and at the same time I realized what my dreams actually were at that moment! I will never forget it.
It seems like everything happened so fast with your career. Was there ever any conflicts or setbacks that really brought you down?
The first year in LA was really hard for me emotionally. I just had not found my groove, my friends, or my routine. I was still discovering the city and myself. My agent back in Seattle (Melissa Baldauf) was really supportive. She told me to give it at least two years. I did and everything started working out right around the two year mark.
Tell us about Z Nation.
Z Nation takes place 3 years after the zombie apocalypse. My character Cassandra, along with a group of other survivors, are trying to get the only known human to have survived a zombie bite to a blood lab in California so we can reproduce a cure. We do not quite make it there but we run into a lot of other things along the way like Viagra zombies and a zombie bear. It is a bloody fun time.
Seeing how zombie centered shows are taking over television, what attracted you to the role of Cassandra in Z Nation? Do you and Cassandra relate? Why or Why not?
I am attracted to how mysterious Cassandra is and how they never announced in the breakdown nor the series where she is actually from. I get a lot of people asking me that and I love to hear their guesses. I also relate to Cassandra’s inner strength. I have not gone through nearly as much as she has but I have always been really different. I had to endure a lot of bullying in school.
What separates Z Nation from the other trillion zombie shows out there?
Two words. Zombie. Bear. Two more words. Viagra. Zombies.
What would you say will be the biggest fan upset for this season on Z Nation?
SPOILER ALERT!!! We just lost Michael Welch who played Mack and I am pretty heartbroken about it. I love Michael. I just think he is so committed as an actor and is a kind human being.
Z Nation has a solid cast. Who is your favorite actor/actress you’re working with on the show? Why?
Like my mom says, “I don’t have favorites.” But, I get along pretty well with Nat Zang. We are both from Seattle, he is a great dancer, and he likes my cooking. What more can a girl ask for?
So far, what was your favorite scene to shoot for Z Nation?
I shot a scene while strapped to a car going 30 miles an hour with blood and guts all over my face. That was pretty epic. I cannot talk about my favorite, favorite scene just yet but it does involve 10K.
Fans don’t generally show as much love to all of the behind the scenes talent that makes a project work. What’s it like working amongst makeup artists who have to create these zombies? What’s the process like?
Our makeup team is phenomenal. Mostly because of their talents but also because they have to deal with our whiny butts sitting in the makeup chair for four or more hours.My makeup does not take that long but it does get hard to sit still even after one hour. It is amazing to see it all come together no matter how long it takes though.
Are you ever grossed out on set?
No. My mind knows it is not real so I do not react to things in the same way.
Besides slicing and dicing up zombies, what else gets your adrenaline pumping?
Just being on set! I am on an awesome TV series that is in it’s second season and has fans all over the world, dang nabbit!!!!
What is life being Pisay when the cameras are not rolling?
I usually work out in the morning. I have been doing a lot of Pilates and juicing. I also love walking, hiking, and dancing. Anything to keep me active and moving. Afterwards, I am either on my computer working or going through my never ending “to-do” list. “Buy green juice at Trader Joes”. Does that sound exciting? Probably not. Then, I either cook something delicious for myself or go out for dinner because food does excite me.
Being into fashion, do you have a particular “go to look” that you just love to see yourself in or you’re the most comfortable in?
I love dressing for the occasion. Like when I wore leather zip up short shorts to San Diego Comic Con or when I wore a gold lame gown to our season premiere in honor of Cassandra’s gold get up. When in Rome…Fit and fabric are also important for me. I do not like to sacrifice fashion for comfort because I do not think looking uncomfortable is fashionable.
What type of charity work do you enjoy doing or a certain cause that you focus on?
I am actually in the process of researching which charities I want to donate my time and energy to. There are a lot of great causes out there and I want to be as involved and committed as possible when I find the right one. Given my background though, I am sure it will involve women in or around South East Asia.
Tell us something about yourself that most don’t know.
I wanted to adopt 10 children from all over the world at one point in my life. If I ever meet a Brad Pitt look-a-like that might still happen.
You’re wanting to write children’s books at some point in your career. Who were your favorite childhood authors?
Shel Silverstein is a genius. I wish I had been more familiar with his work when he was still alive.
How would you describe your healthy living lifestyle? What makes your diet and your exercises work well for you?
I have been doing a lot of Pilates and being mindful of what I eat. Honestly, 80% of being healthy for me is eating healthy. I have lost weight just from changing my diet and not working out at all but I think it is important to keep ourselves active regardless. You never know when the zombie apocalypse might happen and you always want to be ready to break into a run.
With Z Nation in it’s prime what is next for you?
Italy! We have a comic con there in November so I am looking forward to meeting our international fans.
How can you be reached (social media)?
My Twitter handle is @pisaypao and my Facebook page is the same.
Any last words?
Dream big. The bigger, better.