Warning: spoilers ahead for season one of Zero Chill.
Jade Ma, one of the stars of Netflix’s new ice skating series Zero Chill, has opened up about the ‘personal connection’ she has to her character’s moving storyline in the teen drama.
In Zero Chill, viewers are introduced to a 15-year-old called Kayla (Grace Beedie), who feels that her figure skating dreams have been pushed to one side when her family move from Canada to England to help her twin brother Mac (Dakota Benjamin Taylor) pursue an ice hockey career by attending an esteemed academy.
Kayla quickly befriends Sky (Jade), who reveals in episode two that she was diagnosed with leukaemia the previous year, which is why she had to take time off from figure skating while she recovered.
During a recent Zoom call with Metro.co.uk, Jade, who stars in Marvel’s Black Widow, explained how Sky’s backstory connects to her own life, as she suffered the loss of her father to cancer a few years ago.
‘So for me, I had a bit of a personal connection to that story because I lost my dad to cancer a few years back,’ Jade said.
‘So in a way, playing Sky kind of opened me up to processing it a little bit more in certain ways, so that let me almost understand it a little better from the patient’s perspective.’
In Zero Chill, Sky’s mum, Holly (Christina Tam), is very protective of her daughter, as she fears she could hurt herself if she returns to the ice.
‘It really helped me understand her relationship with her mum, because Holly, played by Christina Tam, is so protective over her and so worried about her, especially at the beginning, before she realises that Sky is a lot stronger than she thought,’ Jade said.
‘At the beginning Holly’s very like “no you can’t do that because you’re not out of the woods, you’re still in recovery, you don’t know what could happen”. And it made me very empathetic towards it and very empathetic towards that whole storyline.’
Jade expressed her hope that Sky’s story provides a ‘source of comfort and hope’ for ‘any kids going through that or knowing someone going through that’, offering the message that ‘things can get better’.
‘Once you’ve had that, that doesn’t define you. It doesn’t close off any doors,’ she said. ‘Eventually it is possible to get back on your feet and get back to doing what you love.’
In Zero Chill, Kayla and Sky eventually become a figure-skating pair.
The prospect of being a part of an all-female figure skating duo was one of the aspects of the show that drew Jade in, as she said she found it ‘innovative’ and ‘forward-thinking’.
Jade, Grace and Dakota all took part in a gruelling training process ahead of filming, which involved a two-month bootcamp and practise alongside their ‘incredible’ doubles.
Following on from the skating stunts of Zero Chill, Jade is starring in Marvel’s upcoming blockbuster Black Widow, which features lead actor Scarlett Johansson reprising the character of Natasha Romanoff.
While Jade couldn’t disclose many details about her character in the film, as per the rules of the super secretive MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), she said that it was ‘a super incredible experience and an amazing film to be a part of’.
‘It’s always kind of been a big thing for me to want to be in something action-based, and that was kind of a realisation of that. I got to train with some of the most incredible people,’ she said.
‘The whole cast was really lovely, the other girls that I was working with. It was a really nice, diverse, and just nice cast. Everyone was really sweet and I had a really, really great time on it. It was an incredible, kind of mind-blowing experience. Super surreal.’
Zero Chill is available to watch on Netflix.