Our little Rue, Amandla Stenberg, has grown up and out of the Hunger Games and moved on to some amazing things in Hollywood including TV’s new hit Sleepy Hollow! Her good friend Tanvi and Dazed and Confused magazine sits down and talks The Hunger Games, feminism, and activism with this young little starlet!
Tavi Gevinson: I remember the first time we met, at a Rookie party. You were wearing a pleated green dress and it was super cute. It made me happy because you’re someone who’s part of mainstream culture, but you like all the same stuff me and my friends like and you’re so down-to-earth. I don’t mean for that to sound narrow-minded, but it just made me happy that you would come dance at our party.
Amandla Stenberg: Well, Rookie is a publication I really connect to. It was when I first started going on red carpets and that kind of thing that I started reading it religiously, and it really impacted on me, first in terms of fashion and learning how to wear clothes as a form of expression, and then later it got me interested in feminism and that conversation.
Tavi Gevinson: It’s exciting to know that someone out there making waves beyond Rookie’s audience can be informed by the messages we try to put out in the world. I feel like there’s something happening now – a generation of girls around our age, from a similar background of beliefs and ideas, are inspiring and influencing each other, and that’s super exciting to me. A few years ago I would have said, ‘It’s okay if my friends my own age don’t get it, because I have a bunch of adult, professional friends who do get it.’ But that’s kind of sad, because I need friends my age too. And suddenly in the past few years there’s been this rise of community among young, female creatives who understand and support each other – people like Maude Apatow, who I know you’re friends with, Petra Collins and so many more.
Amandla Stenberg: I totally agree, and find it really empowering.
Tavi Gevinson: So, I’m curious – as people often say it’s catty between young actresses – to know if you’ve found a sense of community in that world?
Amandla Stenberg: Well, what’s unique in my case is that there aren’t many young African-American actresses, so I haven’t really experienced the cattiness or competitiveness of the industry to a large extent.
Tavi Gevinson: You mean because white girls are more likely to be considered for the same part?
Amandla Stenberg: Well, yeah. Most of the time directors and writers have very specific casting intentions, or there’s a family and it’s already been decided that the parents are Caucasian. I don’t want to sound bitter or anything, because I know it’s hard to find great roles for any actor or actress, but being a young African-American woman definitely narrows my choices. That’s why it’s been so refreshing working on Sleepy Hollow, because my character is really complicated emotionally. And also, there’s two main characters – Ichabod and Abbie – and they’re played by a Caucasian male and an African-American woman, and that doesn’t really exist anywhere else on TV. Sleepy Hollow just unintentionally has a cast filled with people of colour and that’s really cool.
Tavi Gevlinson: When you’re looking at scripts and choosing what to audition for, what speaks to you?
Amanda Stenberg: Well, I intentionally pursued The Hunger Games. I’d read the book and realized, ‘Wow, this is a young African-American girl who has a really powerful story,’ so I was emailing my agents non-stop, trying to get into the audition room. Even now I have moments where I’m like, ‘Whoa, I got to be in The Hunger Games, that’s insane.’ I wanted to ask, since this issue deals with feminism, what you think of your work being labelled ‘feminist’?
Read Amandla’s entire interview HERE!