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Richmond actress stars in ‘Fakes’ CBC, Netflix TV series

Vancouver finally gets to represent itself and not Seattle and LA in shows, according to Tong.

Creating fake ID wasn’t on a Richmond actress’ resume – at least, not until she landed a  leading role in CBC Gem and Netflix’s newest TV series.

Leo-nominated actress Jennifer Tong plays the role of Rebecca in the show “Fakes” that follows two best friends who accidentally build one of the largest fake ID empires in North America.

The McMath alumna works alongside Emilija Baranac and Richard Harmon in the 10-episode comedy series, which premieres on Sept. 1 on CBC Gem for Canadian viewers and Sept. 2 on Netflix for other countries.

Tong had been shopping at a store on Granville Street in Vancouver when she received the call from her agent that she landed the role.

“I went outside, I screamed, and I cried on Granville,” she explained.

“It’s every actress’ dream come true especially for a role in a story like this,” she says.

Tong describes her character Rebecca as a motivated, passionate and adventurous 17-year-old girl who also has “fatal flaws” of hurting others.

“I relate to Rebecca in a lot of ways because I have that drive and motivation inside of me that she does. Rebecca is a loyal friend to Zoe (Baranac’s character) and … you can see her grow and be vulnerable throughout the season,” she adds.

Tong told the Richmond News that there was undeniable amount of pressure filming as the lead character Rebecca, but experience from past roles in film and theatre prepared her well.

“I felt ready for it, and I think ‘China Doll’ kind of prepped me for it too,” she says.

“I’m so grateful and had so much fun in a collaborative experience while getting to know the writers, show runners and other casts.”

And while her character makes a living from producing fake ID, Tong said she never had a fake ID herself -- “not to say that I did not underage drink,” she added.

Friendship, vulnerability and relationships are all challenged in the comedy show, says Tong.

“I think one of the biggest underlying messages is analyzing that friendship between a friend you grew up with and just how much sh*t can be thrown at it before it finally breaks or succeeds and survives.”

Vancouver featured as itself

An import part of the filming, for Tong, was the fact it showcases Vancouver itself.

Iconic views of the Vancouver Seawall, Ambleside Beach and the Lions Gate Bridge can be seen throughout the TV series. Too often, these scenes need to be “hidden” to create the impression the action is happening in Seattle or Los Angeles, said Tong.

About 70 per cent of the film was shot in the outskirts of Greater Vancouver like Abbotsford and Langley, according to Tong.

“Being able to show Vancouver as Vancouver … it’s a proud moment for all of us. It’s magical,” she says.

“I really hope Vancouver people watch this show and are proud of what their city looks like on Fakes.”