Jy Prishkulnik as Cleo De Nile, and Lina LeCompte as Lagoona in “Monster High.” (Kailey Schwerman/ Nickelodeon/Paramount+)
It’s not often that Jy Prishkulnik gets to portray a 1,600-year-old teenager on film.
This is the exact reason the former Santa Fe resident jumped at the chance to be part of “Monster High.”
In the film, she portrays Cleo De Nile, who is a mummy and a student at Monster High. The live action movie is currently streaming on Paramount+.
“Monster High” tells the story of Clawdeen Wolf, who was born half-human, half-werewolf and had to hide her wolf-side.
Former Santa Fe resident Jy Prishkulnik, right, as Cleo De Nile in a scene from the film, “Monster High.” (Kailey Schwerman/ Nickelodeon/Paramount+)
She’s off to Monster High where she hopes to truly be herself.
One problem: her human side keeps showing up, which is a big problem considering Monster High’s “Monsters Only” policy.
Her teacher, Mr. Komos, tells of a secret lab, and a special potion, that could help her get rid of her human half once and for all. In order to save herself – and the entire school.
Along the way Clawdeen meets a scary, but friendly cast of characters including Draculaura, Lagoona Blue, Deuce Gorgon, Ghoula Yelps, Heath Burns, Abbey Bominable, Frankie Stein and Cleo De Nile.
As Cleo is unsurprisingly the queen of the student body, though few know her confidence is not as solid as she makes it seem to be. There is more to the high school’s 1,600-year-old residential mean girl than she lets on.
Prishkulnik originally auditioned for the series as Nefera, Cleo’s older sister.
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The role didn’t seem right.
“Then I got the audition for Cleo,” she says. “I wanted to know if they were the same thing. Reading the sides, I felt a connection to Cleo and wanted to be part of the live action movie so bad.”
After the audition process, Prishkulnik was cast as Cleo De Nile.
Filming took place in Vancouver, Canada – all beginning with a two-week boot camp of choreography.
“We learned all the dances and figured out hair and costumes,” she says. “I felt confident in everything until I realized I had to do the dances in high heels. Luckily, the costume department let me borrow the shoes so I can practice in them.”
In preparation for the role, Prishkulnik learned what exactly makes Cleo tick.
“Cleo is bold and sassy,” she explains. “She’s not the average mean girl. Yes, she’s judgmental and quick to have an attitude. But her confidence is what I want to strive for in life. She uses her time in the story to come into herself and realizes she can be better.”
Prishkulnik moved to Santa Fe with her family when was 6 years old, where she attended Wood Gormley Elementary School.
She also went to Santa Fe Girls’ School for three years and then Desert Academy.
She moved to Los Angeles at 16 to pursue her acting career.
Her parents still live in Santa Fe, where they run Just for Grins Pediatric Dentistry.
“I have so many fond memories and though I wasn’t born there, I consider it my home,” she says. “Fun fact, there’s another New Mexican in the cast. Case Walker who plays Deuce Gorgon was born in Albuquerque. We bonded over stories of our childhoods in New Mexico.”
Albuquerque native Case Walker as Deuce Gorgon in Monster High. (Kailey Schwerman/ Nickelodeon/Paramount+)
Prishkulnik began acting classes in Albuquerque when she was young. Her parents would drive her twice a week for classes.
She booked a role on “In Plain Sight” – which remains a fond memory.
“My first kiss was on the set,” she says. “I was cast as the younger version of the guest star. I leaned out my bedroom window and kissed a boy like 32 times with my dad watching. I still get $1.82 for residuals from that show.”
It was in New Mexico where Prishkulnik fell in love with theater and film.
At Desert Academy, she was able to participate in improv, speech, musical theater and debate.
She credits growing up in Santa Fe to helping cultivate her skills and gave her the confidence to take the leap and move to Los Angeles.
“I think for a long time, I never realized I could have a career in film,” she says. “I loved Nickelodeon and Disney Channel growing up and now I’m part of that world.”
While Prishkulnik lives in Los Angeles now, there are memories of Santa Fe with her.
“I adopted my first dog from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter,” she says. “I love him so much, I adopted another dog from Santa Fe and now they both are living the California lifestyle with their mummy.”