13 Reasons Why's third season includes many returning faces, but it also includes a key new one: Grace Saif, who plays new girl Ani. Based on the narration from 13 Reasons Why's Season 3 trailer, it's clear the British transfer student will shake things up at Liberty High, and she may even know who killed Bryce Walker. But while you race to piece together the new mystery, you might also be curious about the actor bringing Ani to life.
According to the BAFTA website, Saif is a British actress from Crawley in West Sussex, a county in the south of England. In 2017, she graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), which was established in 1904 by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree and is now one of the oldest and most respected acting academies. Notable alumni include Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins, and Michael Sheen. The current president is Sir Kenneth Branagh, the actor who played Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter films and who directed several film adaptations of Shakespearean plays.
Saif must have been a star student during her time at RADA, since she was awarded a scholarship of £4,500 during her final year of study. "I will be able to focus my energy entirely on completing my training without the additional pressure of finding employment in such a dense and time-consuming final year," Saif said, according the school's official site. To add to that impressive resume, Saif's BAFTA mentor was Billie Piper, who is best known for playing Rose Tyler on Doctor Who and Brona Croft in Penny Dreadful.
Saif's RADA page shows she was very active in performances while in school. She has a pretty classical background, having played Ophelia in Hamlet, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Antigone in Sophocles' The Theban Plays. She also has a voice reel of her doing a speech from Emilia in Othello. Other projects she participated in include the stage plays When You Cure Me, A Bitter Herb, and Blues for an Alabama Sky.
Outside of acting, Saif is an all-around talented performer. On her RADA page under special skills, it lists that she has a British Academy Of Stage & Screen Combat distinction, which means she's trained in stage fighting and choreography. It also says she's a skilled mezzo-soprano singer, and has a good ear for accents, including "General American, African-American, Spanish, Manchester, West Coast and Irish." She knows how to dance flamenco and the waltz, and can play guitar too.
Saif is clearly dedicated to her craft, and with all those extra skills, it won't be surprising if we see a lot more of her soon. And at the very least, we'll definitely be seeing her in 13 Reasons Why Season 4: she's listed as a series regular in all 13 episodes of Season 3, so it seems like she's taking over for Katherine Langford (who played Hannah) as the main narrator of the series. Barring any fatal twists, she'll likely continue to have a central role when 13 Reasons Why returns.