Pool noodles! That’s funny. Obviously in this film you acted alongside the likes of Kate Winslet – did you have any advice from your older, more experienced colleagues on how to navigate your acting career going forward? As you’re still so young at 19, and I’m sure you have a long career ahead of you.
Zoe Saldana shared with me the power of ‘no’. Being a woman in this industry is very different from the experience of a man, and our ‘No’ is sometimes not taken as seriously. So to get that advice and support from Zoe, who has accomplished so much in her career and who has done so much for women and women of colour, is wonderful.
And honestly Kate, Zoe, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, they were all slaying. And in those moments between scenes, it didn’t feel like we were just looking up to them – we were all equals.
Did you ever get starstruck?
I definitely had my moments! I screamed when I saw Zoe on set because I didn’t know she was gonna be there, and then I saw her walk in and I screamed and hid because I just can’t take it. Then I saw her later and she gave me the biggest hug. Same with Kate – I was speechless, and she just gave me a hug and said she was so excited to be on set.
They just come in with such professionalism and such excitement to create that it calms everyone’s nerves because we know that we’re equals here. We’re just creating art.
Did you have any cast & crew social events while you were filming? What was the highlights?
Honestly, most of the time I just went to bed after filming. But I do remember laser tag – we went to Hurrcane Harbor Six Flags in Los Angeles a theme park venue a bunch of times, which was awesome. And we did rollercoaster rides there. Also, one of the best bonding experiences was when we all went to, we did a photo shoot at Pandora in Disney World an Avatar-themed area in Disney World, Florida and we got to watch the sunrise there together, then spend the day riding on the Flight of Passage a 3D flying simulator attraction within Disney World’s Pandora.
Finally, family is a theme at the heart of the Avatar franchise. You mentioned your family earlier, would you say you also have strong family values?
Oh, 100%. My mum goes everywhere with me. She is my number one support system. I would not literally not be here if it wasn’t for her, because she put me in modelling when I was two, which started my career. I’m from Brooklyn, New York, but I’m also Belarusian through my grandparents and we’re a brutally honest culture.
They don’t sugar-coat anything – they will always tell me the truth, and that pushes me to be better, stronger and prepared for everything. It’s a big part of who I am today. My family means the world to me. This is my first press tour and I can’t wait to have them next to me for all my premieres and just seeing their smiles, because I wouldn’t be here without their support.
Avatar 2: The Shape of Water is out in UK cinemas from 16 December.