Kaylee of Firefly
“I love acting because it allows me to be as many different people as my imagination can conceptualize and I can spill my guts, bare my soul and be a bitch without actually offending anyone in the real world.” Jewel Staite
Canadian actress Jewel Staite is familiar among TV viewers as Kaylee Frye, the sweet, mousy mechanic, on Fox’s critically-acclaimed, but short-lived, sci-fi western television series “Firefly” (2002-2003), and in its film version, “Serenity” (2005). She currently plays the recurring role of chief medical officer Dr. Jennifer Keller (2005-Present), who reluctantly replaced former regular Dr. Carson Beckett (played by Paul McGillion), on Sci-Fi Channel’s “Stargate Atlantis.”
Staite's initial TV series work included Nickelodeon's sci-fi series “Space Cases” (1996), the coming-of-age show “Flash Forward” (1996) and the syndicated drama/comedy series “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show,” (1997-1999). She was also in the Canadian drama/adventure TV show "Higher Ground," as Daisy Lipenowski (2000), the crime/drama TV series “Da Vinci's Inquest,” as Gabriella Da Vinci, and NBC’s comedy-drama series "Just Deal" (2002), as Laurel. She has been a guest star on such shows as “The Odyssey,” “Are You Afraid of the Dark,” “The X-Files,” “Dead Like Me,” “Huff” and “Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction.”
On the big screen, the 5' 5½" actress could be seen in the adventure drama “Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain” (1995), alongside Christina Ricci and Anna Chlumsky, and the comedy “Carpool” (1996), starring Tom Arnold and David Paymer. Next, she will appear in her first leading role in an upcoming thriller feature film titled “The Tribe.”
As for her personal life, Staite has been married to Matt Anderson since April 2003.
Childhood and Family:
Born in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada, on June 2, 1982, Jewel Belair Staite spent three years in Maui, until her family moved to Vancouver when she was four. She later attended the Vancouver Film School, in Vancouver, Canada, and worked with the Vancouver Youth Theatre.
On April 25, 2003, Staite married Matt Anderson on the island of Maui. The youngest of seven children, Staite lives just three blocks from her parents in Vancouver. In 1996, she had to move from her hometown of Vancouver to Toronto during her two year run on the Disney show "Flash Forward."
During her free time, Staite enjoys traveling and writing. She has also been involved with the Dyslexia Foundation and several AIDS charity projects (her uncle died of the disease).
“I have two cats who really don't know I'm alive except when they need a place to sleep.” Jewel Staite
At the age of two, Jewel Staite made her first public appearance in the Maui County Most Beautiful Baby Contest. At age six, she was discovered at a Sears’ photography studio and soon landed jobs as a child model in a number of commercials.
Nine-year-old Staite made her acting debut in the made-for-television movie “Posing: Inspired by Three Real Stories” (1991), starring Lynda Carter, Michele Greene and Amanda Peterson. She then played Megan in “Meeting Dad” (1992), a Vancouver Film School short, and won best actor.
The following year, Staite appeared in the television movies “Liar, Liar” (1992; starring Vanessa King and Art Hindle) and the based-on-play “The Only Way Out” (1993; alongside John Ritter and Henry Winkler). She was also spotted as a guest in two episodes of the Canadian adventure-fantasy television series for children, "The Odyssey," and the sci-fi, horror-themed TV series "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"
At age 13, Staite landed her feature film debut in director Kevin James Dobson's commercial flop, the adventure drama “Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain” (1995), starring Christina Ricci and Anna Chlumsky. That same year in November, she guest starred in an episode of Fox’s internationally hit sci-fi drama series starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, "The X-Files." She recalled, “It was a tough job getting mouth to mouth from David Duchovny but somebody had to do it.”
In 1996, Staite received a Gemini nomination for her role as Rebecca "Becca" Fisher, the thirteen-year-old best friend of Ben Foster's Tucker, in “Flash Forward,” a coming-of-age TV show produced in Canada that aired on both the Disney Channel and ABC. Also that year, she became a series regular in Nickelodeon's sci-fi series “Space Cases,” playing Catalina. She originally auditioned for the role of Rosie on show, but lost out to Paige Christina. Staite left “Space Cases” after the first season.
Staite acted with Jonathan Jackson, Richard Lee Jackson and William Shatner in the made-for-television movie “Prisoner of Zenda, Inc.” and was cast alongside Tom Arnold and David Paymer in Arthur Hiller's comedy film “Carpool” (both in 1996), playing a soap opera actress. She also played the recurring role of Tiara Vanhorn (1997-1999) on the syndicated drama/comedy series “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show,” based on the hit feature film of the same name.
From 1998 to 2001, Staite played another recurring role, as Gabriella Da Vinci, on the Canadian crime/drama TV series aired on the CBC, “Da Vinci's Inquest,” starring Nicholas Campbell. She also became one of the main characters on the Canadian drama/adventure TV show "Higher Ground," as Daisy Lipenowski (2000).
During that time, Staite had been spotted as a guest in such TV series as "Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy," CBC’s television show based upon the adventures of author and rancher Richmond P. Hobson, Jr., "So Weird," Disney Channel's television series shot in Vancouver, "The Immortal," ABC’s series based on a pilot movie of the same name, and UPN’s sci-fi series "Seven Days."
From 2002 to 2003, Staite was cast as Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Frye, the lovable girl-next-door, on FOX's critically-acclaimed, but short-lived, sci-fi western television series “Firefly,” created, written and directed by Joss Whedon. She later reprised the role in its film adaptation, “Serenity” (2005), also directed by Joss Whedon. Additionally, she wrote a chapter in the book “Finding Serenity” called "Kaylee Speaks: Jewel Staite On Firefly."
“When we got canceled it all happened very quickly. I’m from Vancouver, so I packed up and went home and felt like there was no closure whatsoever. When we were greenlit to do the movie and saw each other again and were able to play these characters one more time, it was gratifying.” Jewel Staite
Meanwhile, Staite has appeared in the television movies “Roughing It,” an adaptation of Mark Twain's book starring Robin Dunne and James Garner, “Damaged Care,” a drama starring Laura Dern, and “Widow on the Hill,” a true story-based drama starring Natasha Henstridge. She was also spotted as a guest in such shows as Fox’s anthology show "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction,” Showtime’s "Dead Like Me," the pilot episode of Showtime’s drama series "Huff" and the Canadian crime series "Cold Squad."
Additionally, Staite has recurring roles on NBC’s drama series "Just Deal" (2002) and Fox’s series “Wonderfalls” (2004), as Heidi Gotts, the antagonist. On the big screen, she could be seen as Teddy Blue the Curser in writer/director Andrew Gurland’s coming-of-age dark comedy, “Cheats” (2002), starring Matthew Lawrence and Mary Tyler Moore.
Staite, who has previously played Wraith child Ella in the “Stargate Atlantis” episode “Instinct,” currently plays the recurring role of chief medical officer Dr. Jennifer Keller (2005-Present) in the Stargate spin-off on the Sci-Fi Channel, “Stargate Atlantis.”
Staite is currently filming “The Tribe,” a thriller movie by Roel Reiné about group of twenty-something friends stranded on an uncharted island. Justin Baldoni, Kellan Lutz and Nikki Griffin will also star in the movie.
Staite also has appeared in a TV commercial for “Girl Talk” and was featured on the preteen video/board game “Party Mania.”