- Vanessa Lachey said her daughter’s reaction after watching her on “NCIS: Hawai’i” was meaningful.
- Lachey said she plays NCIS Agent Jane Tennant for “anybody that feels different.”
- While promoting DQ’s Miracle Treat Day, she also shared the moment when she connected with Hawai’i.
Vanessa Lachey told Insider in a recent interview that taking on the role of Jane Tennant on the CBS show “NCIS: Hawai’i” had a whole other level of importance after watching it with her daughter.
The mother of three, who first rose to fame as a VJ on MTV in the early 2000s, is the network’s first female and first Asian American lead in the “NCIS” franchise. She told Insider her 7-year-old daughter Brooklyn’s reaction to her performance was especially important.
“For me, when my children saw it and my daughter saw it and the way she looked at me like her Wonder Woman and she saw me representing women, that hit me,” the CBS star told Insider. “And then I realized it’s a bigger picture than just my children. This is for all little girls and all little boys, too. Anybody that feels different.”
“It means that we’re moving in the right direction in terms of what’s on camera, because it’s actually in the real world,” Lachey told Insider during an interview promoting Dairy Queen’s Miricle Treat Day coming up on July 28. “You know, there are women in my position who are of my ethnicity in NCIS, and so to be able to see it represented on television is so… It’s an honor that I get to be the one to do the representation.”
The actor told Insider that she believes it’s important to make an impact in the world and stand up for those who need her to use her voice, which is why she partnered with DQ for Miricle Treat Day. Participating stores will donate a dollar from every Blizzard purchased to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“You are bringing health and hope to local kids and also treating yourself to a summer Blizzard treat,” Lachey said.
The Netflix host elaborated on why providing authentic representation to kids matters to her.
“I just remember growing up, I remember thinking the closest thing I had to actually being to Wonder Woman was that we both had brown hair. I remember thinking ‘I don’t look like her,'” Lachey said, of why it’s important for all kids of all abilities to see authentic on-screen representation. Because I didn’t have someone that looked like me to represent that.”
She said she hopes her role will inspire all children to see you can have it all, no matter who you are.
“You can be Jane Tennant on ‘NCIS Hawai’i,’ but also you can be your own person and you can get the spouse and get the family and get the job and live in the dream island that you want to,” Lachey said . “If that’s what you want to do, the way you look will not stop you.”
Lachey recalled the moment Hawai’i became ‘home’ to her
Lachey moved to Hawaii’i with her husband Nick and three kids when she landed the role of Jane, and she recently Us told Weekly the island feels like “home.”
She shared insight into the moment she felt most connected to the island with Insider.
“I was sitting there 2 in the morning and I was having this talk with the island,” she said. “I was about to jump into the ocean for a fight scene and I was like, ‘OK, please protect me. I’m a mother of three. I’m the first female lead of this franchise. I want to do good for you. I want to tell the world about this island and how special it is and how much we need to, we need to take care of it. .'”
“And I kid you not, I just had this wave of feeling the love of the island and feeling like I was home and feeling so grateful and appreciative,” Lachey continued, calling Hawai’i “magical.”
She encouraged tourists to come and experience the history of the island for themselves, beyond the tourist spots they can look up online.
“NCIS: Hawaii’i” season two premieres Monday, September 19 on CBS.