Although many were somewhat hesitant to embrace the Peacock series, Bel-Air, the show has proven to be nothing less than a hit. More dramatic from the classic 1990’s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the premise of the show remains the same. One familiar face that Marvel fans will know immediately is Akira Akbar. Now, it’s time for everyone else to get to know the talented young actress who portrays Ashley Banks in the series. Let’s get to know Akira Akbar from the Peacock’s, Bel-Air.
As we mentioned, Marvel fans already know Akira’s face as she appeared in the 2019 hit film Captain Marvel in the role of Monica Rambeau. However, that is not all of her acting credits. The talented teen has a resume that seasoned vets would applaud. Akira also appeared on NBC‘s hit series, This is Us and in the Netflix film, We Can Be Heroes. Additionally, she starred in the Freeform series, Good Trouble.
When asked by Looper, in a previous interview, how she chose to approach her Bel-Air audition for Ashley Banks to differentiate it from her other roles she told the news outlet that, “I brought a little bit of the original Ashley into this character, connecting with the other characters. I think I had a scene and it was with Will, and bringing their connection to the audition. I made it my own a little bit, but at the same time used a little bit of the original Ashley.”
Akira has many fans cheering her on regardless to which show she’s in as her social media presence is seriously significant. Her official Instagram, (@akira_akbar), boasts a hefty 310K followers while her TikTok account boasts 1.6M followers.
Akira recently sat down for an exclusive interview, with Black Girl Nerds, to talk about making her character her own.
BGN: What was the auditioning process like and how did you prepare yourself to step into the role of Ashley Banks?
AA: The process was quick, actually. I had an audition, and the next week I had a callback.Then I think the next week I had a producer session, and that was when I got the call. What I did to prepare for Ashley is — I mean, I knew about Ashley from the original Fresh Prince. I did put my own spin onto her, but it wasn’t that hard preparing for Ashley. I actually did watch the original when it came on reruns. I wasn’t there to see it when it first came out [laughs], but I really love the show. I did take a lot of points from the original Ashley. We have a lot of the same character traits. She’s so smart, she was very opinionated, and she’s very family oriented.
It looks like you and your castmates have a lot of fun when cameras aren’t rolling. What’s it like working with the entire cast, especially being the youngest?
AA: I love working with the cast and being the youngest cast member. I feel very included in everything. We’re always hanging out, and I’m always invited. I just love being with the cast. It’s like we became a real family. Everyone is so musical. Literally when the cameras stop rolling, everyone starts jamming out — dancing, singing, playing music.
Your character Ashley is figuring out her identity and seeks advice from her big sister Hilary. Why do you feel it’s important that your character has Hilary to confide in during this time, and how do you connect to your character?
AA: I think it’s important for Ashley to have Hilary because not a lot of people have someone to tell their problems. With Ashley going through the stuff that she’s going through, I think it’s important to have someone to talk to. I did come out of my comfort zone playing Ashley being part of the LGBTQ community since I’m not a part of the LGBTQ community. So I had to step out of who I am and become Ashley. I connected to it because I have friends who are in the community, so I talked to them to see how they would handle the situation. It helped me understand what Ashley was going through.
I feel like we have a lot in common. We both love our families in the same way, we’re both really family-oriented, and we both want what’s best for everybody.
The hair and wardrobe for Ashley is on point this season! Do you get to have a lot of input into what your character wears, and is fashion something you enjoy in real life too?
AA: Yes, I do have a lot of input! I go to set, and I’ll be like, “Oh I think we should try this for Ashley. I feel like it fits with what she’s wearing and what she’s going through.” I love fashion. I literally could shop all day long. One of my favorite brands is Dior. I just went to one of their events and it was amazing.
There’s just a couple more episodes left in Season 1. What do you hope the writers will explore about your character in Season 2?
AA: I would definitely love to see her in a school setting. I feel like she’s definitely the type to start a protest if she doesn’t like something that she sees. Also, her room. I would love to see what her room is like because she definitely has a lot of mental health posters and everything since she’s a really big activist.
If you haven’t seen Bel-Air by now, what are you waiting for? It is currently streaming on Peacock. Catch up before season 2! We guarantee that after the first episode, you will be hooked.
If you want to get to know this talented young rising star even more, check out her exclusive interview with We Got This Covered.
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