Character Conversations: Dia Frampton and Jacky Lai Bond Over On-Set Anxieties and Lessons Learned in 2020

For those looking for a little romance and comedy, feast your eyes on Dia Frampton’s “I Hate New Year’s” and Jacky Lai’s “A Sugar & Spice Holiday.” The stars of the films sat down virtually to discuss what it was like working on their respective projects, overcoming performance anxiety and which creative pursuits kept them busy in their off-time.

Both fans of holiday rom-com films, Frampton and Lai shared their excitement in getting cast and praised the authenticity of the projects breaking down barriers for representation both in front and behind the camera. “It really translates into the shoot,” explained Frampton. “I Hate New Year’s” is an LBGTQ-themed rom-com written, directed and edited by a queer female team while “A Sugar & Spice Holiday” was Lifetime’s first film centered on an Asian American family and shot by a predominantly Asian American crew. “There was no need to explain anything—if anything people were just adding on to preexisting ideas [and] because of the team that we had, it gave us authentic moments,” Lai reflected on the experience. 

The two actresses also spoke on what it’s like on set where a million and one things can go wrong—from a cell phone going off during a scene to frosty cast members, and the two bonded over how they worked to overcome those on-set anxieties. For Frampton, who tried everything from hypnosis to considering beta blockers, being prepared and in the moment has helped her the most in putting her acting chops forward. “I found that the thing that has made me more confident is working on the task at hand,” Frampton shared. And for Lai, who runs her lines while on a treadmill, echoed the sentiment. “I share the same anxiety,” Lai said. “And I think it comes from caring so much about it.”

During the downtime in quarantine, Frampton has been keeping busy screenwriting. “I find that there’s power in writing. It makes me feel not as helpless,” she revealed. She found inspiration from Hulu’s “Happiest Season,” co-written by actress Mary Holland who also plays a role in the film. For Lai, she gives herself 30-day challenges to learn something new like singing, which prompted Frampton to share her previous vocal teacher and offer words of encouragement. 

The two lastly reflected on lessons learned in 2020. “Career success can affect our own personal self worth,” Lai said, but found remedy in discovering new creative hobbies to pursue, and soon she will be off to South Africa for her next project. “There’ve been a lot of peaks and valleys in my career—so many ‘almosts,’” Frampton said thoughtfully. “[In the past] I valued myself depending on where my career is [but] this year I didn’t really do much but I still feel okay with myself.”

Watch the full conversation above, and catch Frampton and Lai’s highlights below. Then, make sure to check out “I Hate New Year’s” and “A Sugar & Spice Holiday” for some inclusive holiday cheer!