Nadia Gray: Bright And Beautiful

Words + Interview By: Tyrone Davis (Editor)

Over the last few weeks, Netflix’s “Bright” has been called, “The Worst Movie of 2017” by critics. However, a huge amount of viewers have said otherwise (myself included), and many are calling these critic reviews a conspiracy against the film for various reasons. Prior to Bright’s release, I got the chance to interview Nadia Gray, who plays “Larika” in the film and we talked about her start, role in the film, music, and more. The film had 11 million viewers in the first 3 days of it’s release. One thing is for sure. Things are changing and Nadia has been a part of something special.

Describe your childhood. How does Florida compare to LA life?
I grew up in a small beach town on the west coast of Florida and it couldn’t be more different than LA. I appreciate the sleepy beach vibe of Florida and I definitely miss the warm gulf water, but I love that LA is a town full of dream chasers. I get to live in a city that was built on what I love doing for a living. There’s an energy here that I haven’t found anywhere else. It felt like home to me the first day I ever came to visit almost ten years ago.

What made you decide to switch from modeling to acting?
Modeling was always a means to an end until I got the ball rolling with acting. I gleaned enough right away to know that it was something that was going to take time and having work to pay the bills along the way was invaluable. Print work, commercial work, background work, aka “the grind”!

What has been your best acting experience to date and why?
Most definitely, “Bright”. It was something that I completely lucked into, thanks to David Ayer. He turned my very small part initially into something that mattered. Having the chance to work for him and be a part of that world was the highlight of my career thus far. I learned so much from the experience and witnessed firsthand Netflix making history with this film. It’s been a really special time and I’m eternally grateful I even get to talk about it at all.

Tell us about your character, “Larika” in Netflix’s “Bright”?
Larika is an elf! She’s an assassin and member of the Inferni. Very high brow, us elves.

How was working with Will Smith? Is there anything in particular that you learned from him that stood out?  
Oh man, I was just so excited to meet him! He seems like a genuinely great guy. He’s someone who is always smiling and polite to everyone around him, which was nice to see. I guess the lesson learned there is that someone at the top of the top, like Will, remains kind and patient to the people around him, which aside from his talent, I’m sure has a lot to do with how he got to where he is today.

How do you prepare for a role?
That’s top secret! Just kidding. It is really just a mess of all kinds of things. I will say that my first step is over learning my lines so that on the day I can be in the moment and not reaching for my words every take. It never fails me!

How long did it take to apply your make up and elf ears while on set?
It was about two hours every day. It was magical though. I was in love with the elf ears! I was that creep that wanted to wear them home every time.

“Bright” was set in what seemed like LA, but with characters from a different world. Do you believe in aliens?
Hell yes I believe in aliens! My mom was obsessed so I grew up watching “The X Files”, starting at a super young age. Also, there may or may not have been an incident in high school where I SWEAR I saw a round something in the sky that was moving too quickly to be possible with a green lit underbelly! And really, how narcissistic of us as humans to assume we are the most intelligent species in this universe. Just saying.

There is a soundtrack along with the film (Bright The Album). Speaking of music, what artists are you currently in to?
Ahhhh, the Bright album! I can’t stop listening to every song. The scene in the strip club is one of my favorites, so I’ve got, “Smoke My Dope” by Steve Aoki on repeat. Lately, it has been a lot of Migos, Bastille, Louis The Child, and even more recently, I’ve been taking it back to Lil Wayne’s best album, “The Carter 2”.

What are your top 5 favorite films?
This question is impossible to answer. I love so many! I’ll give you a soft 5 though. Fargo, Scream 3, It Follows, Nightmare on Elm Street and Secret Life of Pets. Yikes!

Who/What inspires you?
I think I’m always inspired by people. I’ve always been fascinated by psychology which I think helps me as an actor. I am fairly sensitive though, so I try to keep my circle small with positive people. I shit talk a lot but I’m a very happy person. That always helps keep the juices flowing.

Your dog needs her own Instagram. What do you love most about her?
She does! Now, her ego will be unmanageable! She’s the best. I’ve never seen an animal with such a big personality. She’s crazy, smart and perceptive, so she knows what mood I’m in and what I need from her. She’s also super funny and self aware. Also this kid lives off of affection. I’ll make a kiss sound from across the house and she’ll come running and dive-bomb my face with her cheek to get the kiss. She kills me.

Tell us something about yourself that most don’t know.
I curse like a drunken sailor. I’d like to say that I’m working on it but it feels like a character flaw that came early and is late to leave the party, know what I mean?

Any last words?
Please go watch “Bright” on Netlfix if you haven’t already! It’s the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in a long time! Netflix really nailed it with this one and I cant wait to see what they’ll do for the sequel. Also, thank you for having me!

Follow Nadia on Twitter and Instagram @itsnadiagray. 

Photo By: Julio Duffoo

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