Native Zombie Killer Tinsel Korey Talks About Her Role on #ZNation

Headshot courtesy Tinsel Korey - Show Tile SyFy Channel / Tinsel Korey is likely best-known for her role as Emily in The Twilight Saga. But now she's killing zombies!

Native Zombie Killer Tinsel Korey Talks About Her Role on #ZNation

Canadian-born Ojibwe actress and singer-songwriter Tinsel Korey is likely best-known for her role as Emily in The Twilight Saga. But Korey is going to put down her wolfpack fighting gloves in order to kill some zombies on Native land.

To the delight of Native zombielovers everywhere, Korey will be appearing in an episode of SYFY’s Z Nation airing Friday, November 13th at 10 pm Est.

Her acting career includes commercials, television roles on the FOX series “Tru Calling,” the TNT mini-series “Into the West,” as well as TV shows “Sanctuary,” “Da Vinci’s Inquest,” “Godivas,” “Blackstone” and “Rabbit Fall.” Her most recent works have been “Avarice,” an action/thriller feature, the horror film “Stained,” “Bullet” with Danny Trejo and a comedic feature “Fishing Naked.”

As a singer-songwriter, Korey also has performed at the 2008 Aboriginal Achievement Awards.

In addition to her acting roles Korey is an acting and music coach to youth and she now spends her time in Los Angeles, Vancouver and Arizona with her husband, Doug Yazzie, and their 3-year-old border collie, Lucky.

Before her Z Nation episode airs in the U.S., Korey corresponded with ICTMN via email about her zombie-killing spree in Indian Country and her experience on the set of Z Nation.

What was your role?

I play “Ayalla” in the show. She is this nurturing, intelligent (she went to Yale on an archery scholarship), kick-butt character.

Ayalla and '10K' on the set of Z Nation – Courtesy Tinsel Korey

Did you get to kill any zombies?

It wouldn’t be Znation if there was no killing of zombies 😉

How does it feel to represent Native people and actors on the SYFY channel?

It’s always a blessing. Any role I get when I’m representing our Indigenous women, I do not take lightly. There is a responsibility to do it right. I’ve turned down many roles and auditions because it didn’t show us in a positive light. We are already under-represented in regards to the modern day narrative in media, so it’s even more important for me that the roles I take are empowering and uplifting when it comes to our community. That’s why it was an honor to work with the producers and director, who were so open to all of our suggestions, in bringing to life these strong multidimensional Native heroes.

How did you feel about getting the part on Z Nation?

This is a dream role/project for me. It has everything I look for when searching for projects. Action and comedy.

How fun was it?

Not only was it great to work with the series regulars, who have such amazing chemistry, but who also are such giving actors. The first time I met Kellita Smith [Warren], she came right up and introduced herself and made all of us feel welcome. Sometimes you work on sets and the leads won’t even look at you, except in the scene. It really set a positive tone for the whole experience.

Also it was so nice to get to work with Tonantzin again [Into the West]. It’s rare that there are ever two Native female roles available. I had a talk with Roseanne Supernault one time, and she said there is normally only one female role in mainstream projects. We never get to share the screen together. Having Tonantzin there was a fresh breath of air and working with Eddie Spears was awesome. I’ve been a big fan of since I saw “Black Cloud” years ago. I was super intimidated to talk to him, but ended up finding out he’s a big sweetheart.

Eddie Spears and Tinsel Korey on the set of Z Nation – Courtesy: Tinsel Korey

I heard Juan and the others were very respectful of Native culture even though the series is light-hearted in some aspects. Thoughts?

Juan and the producers were constantly listening to our suggestions. I live in Arizona, specifically the Navajo Rez, and the episode takes place around the Grand Canyon, so I was able to give a couple of suggestions on things that could be a little more accurate. For example, there is something I give to 10K (you’ll have to tune in to see what it is), that has a lot of meaning. Juan let me put it in the show.

Obviously, it a fictitious world, so there were small liberties that were taken. But I was impressed with how everything was handled and I am extremely proud of everyone who worked on this episode.

What can the Z Nation creators teach others in the industry?

That it’s important to include modern Native stories into their shows. That there are a lot of Native youth who watch shows like Z Nation and it’s important for them to see themselves represented in a positive thriving light in mainstream society. I know this episode has the ability to open that door. Hopefully it stays wide open from this point forward.

The more people watch, the more it shows Hollywood there is an Indigenous audience.

I do have one more question. Did the Zombies say anything about Native brains tasting better?

Ha ha! Do you think the Zombies are even smart enough to be able to get to us?

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