Rise Of The Pink Ladies: Alexis Sides, So Hot (Potato) Right Now

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Alexis Sides had big dreams when he moved from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Last year they came true. With only a few student films under his belt, Sides was cast as Potato (Pedro), the T-Bird in Paramount+'s prequel series Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies.

We caught up with Sides to chat about his experience filming the first season of the nostalgia-infused musical series.

Alexis Sides Headshot

When asked how the response has been from his family back home, Sides says, "Everybody's excited! It's been a long ride."

"Coming from Cabo San Lucas, such a small place, everybody [there] is so excited -- my mom and her boyfriend, my grandma, are all so proud. Everybody's been texting me. I'm ecstatic. It's just amazing to be part of this show."

New Cool T-Birds - Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies

A theatre kid growing up, Sides was already familiar with Grease. "In Mexico, Grease is a big thing. We call it Vaselina. There are adaptations of the Broadway show in Spanish. Being a T-Bird is something legendary."

Setting his sights on a career in film and television, Sides made the move to Vancouver, BC, Canada, a city often referred to as "Hollywood North" due to the number of American shows and movies filmed there.

New York and LA were considerations, but ultimately, Sides took a practical approach. "New York is more theatre than TV and film.

"Of those two, LA would have been better for me, but LA would have meant going into a big industry where there are many Latinos want to be actors. There are a lot of Latinos in Vancouver, but not as many as in LA. So, the amount of competition was lower."

Also, the climate didn't hurt! "One of the things is the weather, obviously," Sides remarks. "It's lovely here. I love the combination of all four seasons in Vancouver. It's such a nice city."

Alexis Sides B&W

As it happened, Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies was filmed in Vancouver. "It made it easier for me. I've been living here since January 2017, so I know a lot of Vancouver."

"When all the actors came from LA, I knew where to take them and what to recommend to them. It was a lot of fun!"

Sides admits he has a lot in common with his character, Potato, though he swears that the part was written before he ever auditioned.

"Everything [about him] was there! I honestly think the casting they did for this show was on point. They were getting actors that fit. The audition was more in the slate than the actual lines. [The casting directors] would see the attitude, how relaxed we were."

Potato & Shy Guy - Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies

"Most of the cast are [newcomers]. I think giving us the confidence to be ourselves on screen first was helpful -- that's what most of us are doing. With Potato, I identified right away. He needed a few tweaks, but most of it is who I am!"

As Sides notes, he is one of a large cast of performers who are relatively new to the screen. "I just couldn't believe what I was living.

"In 'Grease Is The Word' in the first episode, there was a lot happening, so many cars, crew, production, lights, and cranes. It was just a machine. Seeing that was inspiring. I was grateful to be a part of it. I really honestly imagined it would be like this."

"You see it in pictures. Living in Vancouver, you see a lot of [film] productions around, on the street, so I knew what I was getting into."

"This has been my first professional acting gig. I had never even booked a commercial! Just stepping into this was overwhelmingly exciting. It was a lot to take in, but at the same time, I was excited to tackle it."

Alexis Sides in a suit

Like so many of the cast in our interviews here, Sides has a hard time choosing a favorite song or scene from the series. "There are 30 original songs in this show! I connect a lot with the whole vibe."

"There's a song in Episode 7 called 'Pulling Strings' that's really beautiful. There's also one that I love that's a surprise. I don't want to give anything away about it."

"I couldn't give a concrete answer because there are too many! You'll understand why by the end of the series!"

Sides also mentioned the show's relevance to today's issues, despite the era in which it takes place.

"We talk about a lot of these social issues, like racism and discrimination. I hope that people think on how this is a show [set in] the 1950s, and it still feels like it's happening nowadays -- because if it feels that way, it's because it is!"

Olivia, Potato & Gil - Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies

Paramount+ is a streaming service, but Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies still releases one episode a week, rather than having dropped the entire 10-episode season at once.

"I feel like it's easier for people to digest the show as a weekly thing," Sides ruminates. "It's a lot to take in. A lot is happening in the background and in the forefront. Sometimes some shots are like two seconds, and you miss a lot in those two seconds."

"You want to go back and rewatch it! I think releasing the whole show in one day would have been too much, so it's good they did it this way."

So what's in store for Potato, who has been relatively lowkey in the first four episodes? Any romance with any of the Pinks or Socs? Any solo numbers?

Sides stays evasive but enthusiastic.

TP - Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies

"We'll see more of the T-birds in the second half of the season, so I'm excited! I've only seen up to Episode 5 -- people would think the cast would have seen the whole season already, but no."

"Not even Marisa (Davila, who plays protagonist Pink Lady Jane), she's only seen up to Episode 6, I think.

"There are a lot of good scenes, so get ready!

"Going into Episode 5, I will just say to keep your eyes open. The relationship that is about to happen is going to be interesting. We'll see where it all goes."

Alexis Sides B&W close-up

In his downtime, Sides love cooking and cooking shows, so in honor of his character, we asked him to tell us his favorite potato dish. He had a very specific answer!

"You know what I love with all my heart? Mashed potatoes! I would always get them back in Mexico. And KFC's mashed potatoes were something else! I learned how to make it myself at home.

"I've also discovered this new way of making potatoes — layered potatoes. You use a mandolin, stack the slices on a tray, put a lot of weight on them, cut them into squares, then cover them in fat, and [bake them]."

You can catch Alexis Sides on Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies, with new episodes streaming every Thursday on Paramount+. Read our review of the first five episodes (spoiler-free!) right here.

Interview has been edited for length/clarity. Recipes are not affiliated with TV Fanatic, Paramount+, or Alexis Sides. 

Mary Littlejohn Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She loves television, cinema, and theatre (especially musicals!), particularly when it champions inclusivity, diversity, and social justice. Follow her on Twitter.

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