The minute Jaimie Alexander read the script for NBC’s hit action thriller Blindspot, about a beautiful, ass-kicking FBI agent who suffers from amnesia, she knew she had what it would take to play the role. She’d grown up in Texas, where she’d started her high school’s first female wrestling team. She’d proven her on-screen prowess as the fierce female warrior Lady Sif in Thor. And perhaps most important, she’d learned how to hold her own with four brothers.  

“There’s a certain strength and durability one gains from growing up in a household full of boys,” Alexander says.  

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Transforming herself into the mysterious-tattoo-emblazoned Jane Doe, aka Remi (her character’s real name, revealed in Season 2) did require some physical prep on Alexander’s part. She trained with Navy SEALs, learning how to fire weapons and even move through water without making waves. “Not bad for someone who didn’t know how to swim a year ago!” she says. And since her character’s head-to-toe tats (which can take seven hours to apply) are fully on display throughout the show, she keeps her physique toned with weight training and boxing. “Strong is sexy,” she says. “I hate being skinny—it’s not a good look for me.”

She doesn’t get much time away from the set, but when she does, she decompresses through sketching and yoga: “There’s something incredibly therapeutic in zoning out while you take a pencil to paper.” And during this summer’s break between seasons, she traveled to Mexico and kicked back with friends. But once her full-body ink dries, Alexander quickly slips back into character.

“I was excited to see what happens once ‘Who is Jane Doe?’ was answered,” she says.“The sky’s the limit as to where this character can go.”