Days of our Lives fans met new Salemite Jada Hunter when she made her first appearance during the July 19 episode of the NBC soap opera, and portrayer Elia Cantu is thrilled for viewers to get to know the detective as she gets more and more involved with helping fellow cop Rafe Hernandez (Galen Gering).
"I love the character," the actress shares with Soap Opera Digest. "She's a very confident woman. She's intelligent. She's gorgeous. She's tough. But she also has, like all humans, layers. She has a vulnerable, soft side, but it takes time to get to that. She's been through some things. And she's in a male-dominated world, but she hangs in there. She really holds her own. She's very independent."
Viewers saw a small glimpse of that in her first episode, but Cantu teases that there is a lot more to come from the detective, who she likens to a black stallion. "As an actor, I use that animal as inspiration, because she's on her own path," the actress explains. "She does her own thing. She's not afraid to be by herself. And she is very strong."
Cantu is a long-time DAYS fan, and it's really important to her that she do the best job she can while she's in Salem. Part of doing that was researching police work before she began taping.
"I reached out and contacted people, made sure I was as true to the profession and character as I could possibly be," she shares. "I reached out to actual police officers that I know. I wanted to make sure that I was handling a gun correctly, that I was doing everything I should be doing as a detective. It's been pretty awesome to be able to do the special stunts and get to handle a gun on the set."
But the best thing so far, she enthuses, has been meeting and working with DAYS stars that she's loved as a fan of the show over the years.
"I was looking forward to meeting Kristian Alfonso [ex-Hope Brady], which I did get the opportunity to do at one point. That was awesome," she enthuses. "Deidre Hall [Marlena Evans] was amazing. I met her, as well. Ari [Zucker, Nicole Walker], too. She's fantastic. You'll see that we get to work together. She's an amazing actress and person. I always used to watch her character, Nicole, and Sami [Alison Sweeney]. So, it was pretty awesome that I got to work with her."
Cantu is also thrilled to be working alongside Gering as Jada's superior, Rafe. "He is the commissioner. He's the big boss," Cantu points out, adding, "[Galen]'s a hoot. He's hilarious. He's great with comedy and improv. He's a great actor. It's been really lovely working with him. He was another person that I watched when I was younger, so, it was great to meet him and work with him."
Check out Cantu's full SOD interview here, and let us know your first impressions of Detective Jada Hunter in our Comments section below.
What are your initial impressions of DAYS' new character, Jada Hunter? How do you think she'll fit into storyline in the weeks ahead? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.