The beautiful model turned actress, teamed up with Will Smith and famed director David Ayer (Suicide Squad) in the very first Netflix blockbuster playing the role of Larika, an antagonistic member of “The inferni” gang.
Nadia opens up about working with Will Smith & David Ayer, life in Hollywood, and keeping things in perspective as her unique star continues to rise.
“Bright” premiere’s tomorrow on Netflix 12/22/17.
Nadia, tell me about your new exciting role as Larika?
Nadia: Larika is an elf in the crazy world of Bright. She’s a member of a gang called The Inferni. She’s a villain with an evil agenda, and was so much fun to play!
What was it like to work alongside Will Smith and to be directed by David Ayer?
Nadia: Just meeting Will was so exciting. He’s a lovely person. I’m not sure that guy ever has a bad day. Getting to work for David Ayer was the best experience of my career. He’s so impressive the way he works, meticulous over every detail. The man is an evil genius, and I’m forever grateful for the time we had on set.
“It’s okay to not feel confident 100% of the time, but you do have to be fearless…” -Nadia Gray
What did you take from this experience?
Nadia: So many things! This was my first time working on something so massive, and it being Netflix’s first big blockbuster was so important as well. In my line of work, everything is so subjective. It can be hard to know if you’re making the right choices for the character. I think having the opportunity to do fight training, coupled with being directed by David, I feel like I learned to really trust my instincts and just go for it. It’s okay to not feel confident 100% of the time, but you do have to be fearless – whether I’m making a fool out of myself or not.
You play a very realistic elf and member of “The Inferni”. You really had to go through a drastic transformation. What was the daily makeup/wardrobe/character study process like?
Nadia: It was massive. We had the Oscar-winning hair and makeup duo from Suicide Squad; with the most skilled team alongside them creating these beautiful looks everyday. It was amazing. The wardrobe team was unbelievable… -I wanted to keep everything!! And learning my lines in the elvish language had me geeking out everyday.
The amalgam of all these things made me really feel like an elf by the time I stepped on set.
As a former model from Clearwater, Florida when did you know you wanted to full on chase your dreams, move to L.A., and become an on-screen actress?
Nadia: I’ve always wanted to be an actor. It was cute when I was little, but then I was kind of steered towards preparing myself for a practical life. It wasn’t until I started making real money, doing print work, that I figured this could be my foot in the door in Los Angeles. So that was my plan – continue modeling for as long as I could to pay the bills, while I pursued acting.
You’re at an exciting place in your career; but nothing happens overnight. What adversities have you had to overcome that make you appreciate the successes of today?
Nadia: How much time do you have?! Seriously though, I always knew it was going to be a grind. I think if you don’t walk into the business with that attitude, you’re done for. I was broke for so long; and the rejection had me questioning myself the whole way, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m lucky too, because I’ve never wanted anything to do with fame. I just wanted to be a working actor. Having that kind of perspective continually keeps me in a sunny disposition, because I’m just so psyched and grateful every time I’m hired.
“I was broke for so long; and the rejection had me questioning myself the whole way, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”-Nadia Gray
What inspires and influences you outside of film?
Nadia: I think I’m constantly trying to take pause for self-reflection. I’m a believer that happiness is a choice. You can either be a victim of circumstance, or you can choose to find a lesson to be learned through the hard times. I wouldn’t say I’m very emotional, but I am extremely sensitive and most definitely influenced by human behavior. I think turning the lens back towards yourself, and how you treat people, and the world around you inspires us to be better. Which is always a good thing.
“Stop saying ‘I’m sorry’ all of the time! The downsides of the industry takes its toll on everyone, but I think it’s most definitely harder for women.” -Nadia Gray
If you could give some real advice to the 20-year-old Nadia Gray, just coming out to Hollywood, embarking on a film career; what would that be?
Nadia: Stop saying ‘I’m sorry’ all of the time! The downsides of the industry takes its toll on everyone, but I think it’s most definitely harder for women. Especially the lower on the totem pole you are, it can feel pretty brutal sometimes just the way you’re being talked to. I’m self deprecating by nature so anytime someone was terrible to me for no reason, my knee jerk reaction was always, ‘oh I just messed up, they’ll never hire me again’. I think I would tell myself to drown out the BS- whoever it is, their opinion won’t end up mattering to you whatsoever.
What’s up next? What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Nadia: That remains to be seen, but I’m really excited about it!
NADIA GRAYNETFLIX'S -BRIGHT - INTERVIEW
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