Jacky Lai on Starring in Lifetime's First Asian-American Holiday Movie: 'The Industry Is Changing'

A Sugar & Spice Holiday premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET

Jacky Lai on Lifetime’s first holiday movie centered on a Chinese-American Family
Photo: Lifetime

Actress Jacky Lai is making history with her latest project, Lifetime's A Sugar & Spice Holiday.

The film is the network's first holiday movie centered on a Chinese-American family, a milestone Lai tells PEOPLE is "an honor to be part of."

"It's an honor to be part of the change. We hear about it, and I'm seeing it," she says, going on to reference Constance Wu's performance in 2018's Crazy Rich Asians, which had an all-Asian cast: "I know how much it affected me when I saw Constance Wu in the theaters."

Lai, 31, continues, "I still don't think I've wrapped my head around the fact that I'm a part of this film — it hasn't come out, so I'm like, did it even happen? But I think for the most part, it's just that I am proof that the industry is changing. There's evidence, and now I'm a part of it."


A Sugar & Spice Holiday stars Lai as Suzie, a young architect who returns home to Maine where her Chinese-American parents, Pete (Tzi Ma) and Mimi (Lillian Lim) run a local shop.

Grappling with the recent death of her grandmother — a legendary baker — Suzie gets convinced to follow in her footsteps and enters into the town's gingerbread house competition with the help of old friend and new love interest, Billy (Tony Giroux).

"Through that process she learns what life is really about," Lai says. "And it's not always about achieving something, necessarily."


Lai's family immigrated to Canada from Vietnam when she was around 5 years old. She says she's particularly excited for them to see A Sugar & Spice Holiday, despite the fact that she didn't grow up watching holiday movies at home.

"It took me many years of my early childhood to learn English, and we didn't actually watch a lot of movies," she says. "I feel like I'm making up for it now — everyone's like, 'You've got to watch this, you've got to watch that!'"

"I am very excited for my family to see this, though, because I feel like all my other projects were sci-fi based, and because of the language barrier they may not necessarily understand what was happening," Lai adds. "But I think with this, love is such a basic human emotion that I am really, really excited for them to actually know what's going on."

A Sugar & Spice Holiday premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

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