Everything that Charmaine Diyoza was is everything that we want to be.
From the second, she crashed into The 100 universe; it was apparent that we were in the presence of an extraordinary woman.
Diyoza had a full circle storyline, from her time as the new big bad to the familiar hero that we had to root for, all in just three seasons. She was a chilling antagonist, who only needed some much-deserved screentime to showcase her development.
It all accumulated into a The 100 Season 7 arc that focused on Diyoza's journey as a mother. She was able to find momentary peace with Hope and Octavia on Sky Ring during The 100 Season 7 Episode 2, and from there, things took a turn.
But Diyoza took it in a stride, doing everything she could to get back to her daughter. But time dilation made that reunion different than either of them expected, but still just as emotional.
Ivana Milicevic delivered a stunning performance as a mother finding her child again, while at the same time struggling with the fact that she couldn't stop Hope from venturing into a darker role as an adult.
Diyoza stopped at nothing to try to help Hope see that the future can't be full of resentment and anger, so much so that her last moments were all about protecting her daughter from making a mistake she might not recover from.
That became a choice that Diyoza couldn't recover from, as she became an actual crystal memory in Bardo.
Taking some time out to answer our questions, Ivana Milicevic shares her thoughts on Diyoza's final journey, her relationship with Hope, and the message that she hopes fans take away from Diyoza's legendary presence.
Ivana also shared what planet she enjoyed exploring as Diyoza the most.
The 100 Season 7 Episode 10 was such a big episode. We might not get to see you again this season, which was a very big loss. How much did you know about Diyoza’s journey in season seven as you started to film it?
I knew that they found a great way to have Hope not be a baby, which was great. I didn't quite understand all of the time dilations because that was crazy, sci-fi mumbo-jumbo, so I could not figure out how he was going to do it, but [Jason Rothenberg] did it quite well, I thought.
I knew that when Hope came back as an adult, and we got reconnected, that even though I tried really hard not to let her be like me, and I didn't let her train as a warrior or soldier, that the worst thing in the world happened and she became one anyway.
I wasn't there to guide her, even though Octavia was teaching her a little bit.
So, I knew that, and I assumed I would die because I couldn't do the whole season because of family and time constraints. Jason wasn't sure if he'd have me die or something else, but in my heart, I hoped I would get some really badass death, which I got.
Unfortunately, Diyoza’s death felt unavoidable from the moment she and Hope reconnected, but I don't think any of us expected her to go out like that. Did you think that was a fitting exit for Diyoza because it was very beautiful.
Yes, a mother sacrificed herself for her child, which any mother would.
So it was a last-ditch effort, a hail Mary, to do her best to ensure that Hope’s soul is saved and she doesn't go down the same path that Diyoza did.
Thinking of happier times, it was interesting how Penance was seen as a punishment on Bardo, but to Diyoza, it was a place of peace for the brief time that she did get to be there. It didn't last long, but what was it like for you to get to explore this point in time when Diyoza was happy with her family?
I think that's the peace she had been fighting for her whole life.
There they were -- just the three of them for a while anyway. There was nobody there to mess it up until, of course, somebody came to mess it up, but it was perfect and manageable. And after however many years that she consciously lived, finally, she could take a breath.
Finally, she could exhale.
You and Diyoza kind of went through motherhood together. Obviously, there was a bit of time between seasons, but you still sort of were on this journey together. How did you bring your experiences as a Mom into Diyoza’s journey in season seven?
Diyoza, you would have thought that before this that she was the least maternal person in the universe. I probably would have thought the same thing, but once you become a Mom, there is a maternal instinct that kicks in, even when you're pregnant, that grows throughout your pregnancy and explodes after you give birth.
I felt very protective even when I had the other baby Hopes that I was working with. I was crying just because there were babies on set. And I thought, “I hope they're not cold.”
You get very soft but very hard.
It is a fact that even people who attack women, the smart ones know you should never attack a mother, especially with babies around, or children, because she will go into some other zones and murder you or worse. They don't even remember what happened. By the time they had an idea to gouge their eyes out with the key they're holding, it already happened.
So there's some secret power that mothers have anyway. Mama bears. Women who would never hurt anyone, if their baby is around, we'll do things that you could never do under other circumstances.
So even if Diyoza weren't a trained SEAL and killer, this would have happened. So imagine a trained SEAL and killer with protective, mothering instincts.
Forget it, game over.
That’s true. What was your experience getting to film with so many different versions of Hope?
They all kind of happened quickly, for the most part. All the babies and little girls compared to the working hours I got to work with Shelby. Even when I was working with the babies, Shelby was sometimes around, coming over, spending the night, and working on our stuff.
It was so beautiful to me.
I was already a maternal person before I was a mother. I was also a badass before I was a mother in real life. And motherhood makes you softer and harder at the same time.
You spent all this time with these different versions of Hope, and then you finally got to the point in the narrative to meet Shelby's version of Hope. What was it like for you to play off of Shelby in that way? Especially in the scene where they were locked in together during The 100 Season 7 Episode 7, and they had to unload all of their pain that they've been holding back from one another.
There is no greater pain than a mother knowing that she couldn't protect her child. So Diyoza felt powerlessness and then deals with it by covering it with anger. It was a little bit difficult to play.
Actually, it was hard to find because there I saw my daughter for the first time in, not that long from me, but fifteen to twenty years for her. So I feel all that pain of wondering what would happen to you while you were alone and thinking I'm such a failure for not being able to have been there for you during that time.
And yet, I'm so angry that you went down this path, and I don't know which emotion to use on you to get you to understand that this is not the way. It was a tricky thing to play, actually. Not to mention, poor little Hope being so upset with me for leaving and upset with the Disciples for taking me away from her. Me and Octavia.
Diyoza spent her last episode trying to get Hope to let go of that pain and that anger that she had in her heart. It didn't go as well as we would have hoped. What do you think Diyoza hopes comes from this for Hope?
That was all a last-ditch effort of what a mother did for her child, literally sacrificing herself so that there's time for Hope to make a better choice for her life.
It’s a gamble. Who knows? She might think, “That sucks. I'm even more pissed.” But this was the only shot she had.
So if that doesn't show her how pointless the path that she's currently on is, then I don't know what would. It’s one thing to see somebody die like that slowly, your mother -- that's people that she wants to keep.
I was going to say people she wants to kill are somebody's mothers, but not so much on Bardo, actually.
Jumping to another relationship, Diyoza and Octavia came a long way. Diyoza appeared in season five, and she didn't have, what we would say are close relationships, but she formed a bond with Octavia over time. What it was like for you to develop that relationship in your scenes with Marie.
That was so much fun. It was one of the most developed relationships I got on The 100, and it was fun to explore because Octavia's so tough and badass. Yet, I'm just older, wise, and wisecrackier, and for most of our relationship, pregnant-er.
I loved getting to be dry with her because she was all that time she was like, “Love is weak. Love is weak. Blah, blah, blah.” And I don't know how to feel about love either. I'm not trying to push love on you, but the things you're doing, they’re dumb. She was just so fun to play with. We got to be stuck in the goo.
It was a really good time.
There was this opening scene in this season where we finally see Diyoza after not knowing where she was in Bardo. She had this sort of epic sequence where we went through her whole time in Bardo, leading up to her reuniting with everyone. How fun was it for you to do that?
That was probably my favorite. I loved when I first got taken to Bardo. We saw Octavia’s past and then mine. That was a really fun sequence to shoot. We hadn't really seen Diyoza be Diyoza. We saw her during The 100 Season 5 when she had a fight scene when she was pregnant.
So clearly she's a badass, but we haven't seen her be the conniving, cunning, merciless killer that we've heard about. I think that sort of showed why people were scared of her because it was just so vicious.
I thought that was an awesome sequence.
Was there anybody you wish you shared more scenes with this season that you didn't get to?
At the beginning of season five, Diyoza and Clarke had a lot to do, and I really love Eliza. She’s so kind. And Lindsey. I love the girls on the show so much. I love the boys too, but I just had more to do with the girls—just all the women.
I can't pick a single person. In terms of character arc, Eliza and I were talking for a while before we knew where season seven was going. We were like, would we two mothers unite in some sort of mommy and me group? But that didn't happen. We went in totally different directions.
Everybody. I love our cast, and I was such an outsider as a character for so long. It was nice to get more of them at the end.
What was your favorite memory of your time on The 100?
Being pregnant on the show was really special. Just that whole time, I was so tired. I saved all my energy just to do a scene. And then I would pass out in a chair until it was my turn to go again. That was such a special time.
And I love my medley. My jolly, happy medley of coming to Bardo. And my death was really intense.
That was a very beautiful scene.
It was a full circle because they probably didn’t use the scenes where I was crying a lot because it was probably unusable. It came so full circle for me. Shelby crying her eyes out for her mother, and I'm looking at her thinking, “You weren't even supposed to be here. You're here because I actually fell pregnant with my beautiful son in real life.”
And now look at all of these beautiful things that happen -- this beautiful story arc on this awesome show that ended up lasting three years. I got to meet Shelby and have a friendship with this beautiful girl that played my daughter. It was awesome.
It was emotional for me in real life.
Just the full circle of it all, not to mention, tomorrow is the anniversary of my brother's death, which is really important because on the first anniversary of my brother's death, I got the show, and The 100 was my brother's favorite show. At that time, I honestly had never even heard of it, but my other brother told me that.
It was really full circle and magical, you know, I found out I got pregnant around it. Everything was sort of from on high. It was very emotional.
But here we are, tomorrow is the anniversary again, it's gravy, and we're talking about it. So it's another full circle.
What did you learn from your time on the show?
I was already grown up, I guess you could argue, but I grew up more on there. I prioritized the things that were important. It's all very personal, but it happened as I was working on the show.
It's not that I learned anything in particular about acting more than I normally do. Obviously, every job enriches your skill hopefully, but it was growing up, being comfortable in my skin, and just giving it my all emotionally and not worrying too much about what I look like for the first time in my life—just being present.
What do you hope, pun intended, the fans take away from Diyoza’s legendary time on The 100?
Look at this arc: she went from terrorist to prisoner, to mother to survivor, to mother, friend, and confidant. And then for one split second, a savior. That is one hell of an arc.
I don't know if everyone can say they get an arc like that.
And what would be the takeaway from all of that? Grow. Grow every day, and whatever doesn't work for you -- let it go and grab the other branch that works better and grow. Grow, evolve, transcend.
That is the theme of the season as well, it sounds like: transcendence.
Transcendence. Transcend the crap. We have to.
Look at what we're all going through. We’re in it. So our only choice to go up because you can't move side to side. We literally gotta be six feet apart from everybody.
What was it like being on a show like The 100? It seems like an unexpected experience, jumping from planet to planet. There are so many new things introduced every season.
I love sci-fi, and I think this was the first I've done it. So, that was great for me.
I loved our crazy costumes. I loved that I could look dirty and not made up and grammar. That's what I loved about it. I could just act.
There are tons of beautiful people there that are younger and beautiful, and they can be beautiful. So I got to be grungy. I liked being so makeup-less. That was special, and I loved the sci-fi aspect. It’s a gift that I didn't even expect. I thought I was doing one season, and I thought I would dive in.
It was just a gift that kept on giving. And by the way, I loved that backdoor pilot, The 100 Season 7 Episode 8. I am so invested in what happened.
It was such a good way to introduce Cadogan. He’s so different in this season versus the prequel. It was very interesting. And as a last question, what was your favorite planet to be on? You've been on quite a few in The 100: Earth, Sanctum, Sky Ring, Bardo.
Sky Ring, obviously. Yes.
Sky Ring for the family piece, Bardo for the badassery, and Earth for the nostalgia.
For The 100 fans still looking for some more nostalgia, TV Fanatic has a special new ongoing The 100 interview series. "Looking Back on The 100" that centers on monumental cast members and characters from the show that left behind a legacy.
We then had the chance to take a walk down memory lane with the iconic Christopher Larkin, as he talked about his time playing Monty Green. And we got to hear Aaron Ginsburg's insight on his most iconic episodes and his writing journey on The 100.
Chai Hansen also looked back at the show with us when it came to his time on it as Ilian. And Charmaine DeGraté expanded on her writing journey with the show, as well as what it was like to write for Bellamy and Octavia Blake.
Eve Harlow spoke with us as well about Maya's pure presence on the show and about Maya's relationship with Jasper.
Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past.
The 100 airs on Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.