Here's Everything You Should Know About Grace Saif, '13 Reasons Why's New Star
This post contains spoilers for Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why. 13 Reasons Why's Season 3 investigation of Bryce Walker's death could have been limited to the perspectives of those who only knew him as a bully, but the drama had other plans. New Liberty High student Ani was introduced to deliver a more sympathetic portrait of Bryce, and while many fans weren't thrilled with this character's addition, her portrayal had them wondering about the talented actor who plays her. So, who is Grace Saif? The British actor has reached her big break through the 13 Reasons Why role.
As the daughter of Bryce's (Justin Prentice) grandfather's live-in nurse, Ani Achola wasn't familiar with Bryce's destructive past when she arrived in the town of Evergreen. Befriending Clay (Dylan Minnette) soon after he foiled Tyler's (Devin Druid) plan to begin a school shooting, she then learned of Liberty High's traumas as she formed a cautious friendship with Bryce, then a Hillcrest student, at home. Despite developing feelings for Clay, Ani also had a brief romance with Bryce, whose eventual murder inspired Ani to join Clay in an unofficial investigation of possible suspects.
Ani ultimately helped protect Alex (Miles Heizer), Bryce's actual killer, by successfully framing Monty de la Cruz (Timothy Granaderos) for the murder. However, 13 Reasons Why fans weren't too pleased with Ani narrating episodes, having a say in events she didn't witness, and contributing to the attempted redemption of rapist Bryce.
In late August, the backlash developed into fans reportedly attacking actor Grace Saif online, and as of Aug. 29, her Twitter account is set to private and her Instagram account is devoid of photos. In light of the backlash, Granaderos defended Saif in his own Instagram post, writing, "Whether or not you support, like, or love, a character in our fictional TV show —please remember that there is a talented and beautiful actor/actress bringing those scripted words to life."
Saif definitely doesn't deserve this real-life hatred for her character, and it's understandable that the intense response has seemingly shaken her, as her 13 Reasons Why role seems to be her most visible one yet. According to her IMDb page, Saif's previous on-camera credits are limited to only two short films, a guest spot in a TV series, and a voice role in a video game. Regardless of what some viewers may think, appearing on 13 Reasons Why just may be Saif's path to even bigger acting roles.
The Brit graduated in 2017 from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, or RADA, and was previously a member of Great Britain's National Youth Theatre. Her online RADA profile states she has an intermediate understanding of Spanish and can play guitar. She also cites some of her interests as songwriting, world cinema, gymnastics, and singing. Her 2009 cover of Paramore's "Decode" can be found on YouTube.
Before pulling back from social media, Saif didn't appear to give any interviews about 13 Reasons Why, so her thoughts on the season and what might be next for Ani are still unclear. As viewers saw at the end of Season 3, Monty's secret hookup Winston (Deaken Bluman) confronted Ani about having a solid alibi that proved the innocence of Monty, who was killed in prison. Tyler's stash of discarded guns was also discovered in the river, meaning Ani, Clay, and friends might have more dangerous issues on their plate in Season 4. Here's hoping Saif feels the support from her co-stars and fans as she continues into the future.
Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why is currently streaming on Netflix. Season 4 is expected to premiere in 2020.