Jona Xiao has just begun to make her mark on the entertainment industry with roles of Julie Yang on AMC's hit tech show Halt and Catch Fire, while also turning in a much different performance as Natalie Wu on BET's Being Mary Jane. Her next-level opportunity will come with the Marvel film, Spider-Man: Homecoming.
While limited in what she could reveal about the project, she was able to tip her hand to confirm that fans will see more of what was shown in the most recent Avengers film.
"What I can say is I am sure a lot of the readers have seen Captain America: Civil War; so we will get to see that young, coming-of-age story and that Spider-Man who is more sarcastic and truer to the comic books," she said. "The one a lot of us grew up with. There will be things from the comic books that fans will recognize -- while there will also be some fun little surprises that Marvel and Sony have put together.
"For my role specifically, one of my favorite actors and one of the stars of Spider-Man actually selected me and cast me in my role. They are doing all sorts of things to keep it under wraps. Like we get call sheets in the morning in the trailer and then at night someone comes around and picks up the call sheets. It was a real fun project to shoot and a whole other level of awesome."
Before her role in Halt and Catch Fire, the 27-year-old actress paid her dues with unnamed parts in The Forgotten and Rizolli & Isles as well as non-recurring performances in daytime television with Days of Our Lives as well as The Young and The Restless.
It was considerably earlier in life where she first caught the acting bug.
"When I was 12 years old I was forced to take a drama class," she said. "We did the rapping version of Rumpelstiltskin. It was a comedy, and me rapping is a funny, funny thing. I just fell in love with it because about half of my childhood my family had a lot of financial troubles and we were living in a trailer park in upstate New York. There was a lot of heartache. Being able to be an actor and make people laugh and feel and think differently was addicting. Drama class became my favorite part of the day."
As she matriculated through high school -- eventually moving to St. Louis -- she learned another challenging lesson within the industry: figuring out who to trust.
An unexpected run-in with a paraiah has helped shape how she goes about her business now.
"I got scammed by an agent, was still in the mid-west at that point, and just didn't know the business side," said said. "What made the difference is my guaranteed formula for success. I call it 'ABC.'
"'A' is A-game mentality. 'B' is business know-how. And 'C' is craft. If you are strong in all of those, you are guaranteed to be successful in this industry."
Her recent run of victories is proving her theory correct. Halt and Catch Fire has been received well by critics and fans alike. The show has proven to be a sturdy home for Xiao, with a role that lends itself to some fiery possibilities.
"In Halt and Catch Fire, I recur as Julie Yang who is a very badass, tough, doesn't take shit from the guys character," she said. "She is the first female coder that gets brought on. That's always fun to play strong female characters."
With an all-encompassing passion for the industry like Xiao's, it is sometimes challenging to find a limit within a single lane. The actress is now regularly switching between entertainment mediums, but she is adamant about genuinely love it all.
"I kind of like it all," she said. "I've been focusing a lot more on TV and film. And I've traditionally done a lot more television than film, but the last year I've been really grateful to be a part of some pretty awesome film projects. I think what I love about TV is that family you are creating, especially as you're on for a season or more. With film, what's great is a shorter term commitment and I get to work on different projects. And now I'm maybe slightly more interested in film."
Spider-Man: Homecoming is scheduled to be released in North America on July 7, 2017. The film was originally slated for release on July 28, 2017.
According to AMC, Halt and Catch Fire Season 3, Mutiny leaves Texas for the big leagues of Silicon Valley. Founders Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis) and Donna Clark (Kerry Bishé) search for the idea that will launch Mutiny as a player, but new collaborators test their partnership. Gordon Clark(Scoot McNairy) struggles to find a place within his wife’s company as Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace) builds upon his empire, reinventing himself with a bold play that shocks the Valley and sends him back into the lives of his former partners.
AMC renewed Halt and Catch Fire for a fourth and final season of 10 episodes on October 10, 2016.