Yasmeen Fletcher on Ms. Marvel Episode 2, Nakia
As Disney+ releases all six episodes of “Ms. Marvel” this summer, POPSUGAR has exclusive interviews with the cast and creators to bring the series to life. This week, Yasmeen Fletcher chats with POPSUGAR about episode two, “Crushed.”
Yasmeen Fletcher really loves her “Ms. Marvel” character, Nakia. Before she knew the show was going to happen, a friend told her about the comics, explaining that it was about a Pakistani American Muslim teenager with a culture similar to Fletcher’s. “I immediately went to the comic store and picked up the first comic I could find and read it and fell in love with it,” she told POPSUGAR.
When Fletcher heard rumors about an adaptation of the series, the actor told his manager that she had to be part of it and that she had to play his favorite character, Nakia. “She’s so strong and she’s kind of a badass,” Fletcher says of her character. “She’s not afraid to speak her mind, and she’s so confident in who she is and so loving to her friends and loyal and supportive and fiercely outspoken to the people she loves. [and] his community. »
All of these characteristics of Nakia are on display in the second episode of the series, when she – with the support of her best friend Kamala (Iman Vellani) – decides to run for a seat on the council that runs her mosque. Fletcher likes how quickly Nakia decides to jump in. At first she’s unsure, and then, “She’s like, ‘I’ve got posters printed. I’ve got pimples. We’re doing this with all our might. I’ve got a campaign plan and y’all are involved.’ ‘ said Fletcher.
There’s a very funny moment when Nakia explains her game plan to Kamala and Bruno (Matt Lintz) during the Eid party at the mosque. It’s reminiscent of the scene in many classic high school movies where someone breaks down all the school cliques for the new kid on the block – but here it’s all the mosque cliques. “It kind of looks like Kamala’s AvengerCon plan in a different way, but you can see it in a very Nakia, takeover-type twist,” Fletcher says, referencing the events of the first episode.
Episode two also features a very sweet scene between Nakia and Kamala in the bathroom. Kamala, who has just discovered her powers, struggles to keep them under control while she is at school. She runs to the bathroom in a panic and Nakia follows her. Assuming her friend is on her period, she passes him a tampon above the cabin door. Fletcher loves this moment. “Nakia and Kamala support each other so sincerely and love each other so much,” she says. “She doesn’t know exactly what’s really going on with her in the bathroom stall. . . . ‘Whatever you do, I got you,’ and that’s really the best version of a friendship feminine and the best you could ask for.” Fletcher says the relationship between the two reminds her of her own best friend and that she and Vellani are just as close now after filming the show.
In the show and the comics, Nakia chooses to wear a hijab. Fletcher doesn’t, but it was really important to her to highlight that aspect of who Nakia and many Muslim women are. “I was really passionate about getting it translated correctly,” she explains. “I was also surrounded by an incredibly talented Muslim creative team who were extremely supportive and also had this dedication and passion for the character and wanted to make sure she was strong and empowered in her hijab.”
She adds, “I was all ears at all times and wanted to learn everything I could because again, this character is so important to me and I know she is so important to so many people.”
“I’ve never heard of co-ed experience on TV because it sounds like a niche topic, but it’s not.”
But one of the major changes made by the creative team concerns Nakia’s ethnicity. In the comics, she’s Turkish-American, but for the show, they decided to make her Lebanese-American and mixed-race, like Fletcher. In the second episode, Nakia delivers a monologue about how choosing to wear a hijab helps her feel empowered and more secure in her Muslim faith and mixed-race identity. She says: “All my life I’ve been either too white for some people or too ethnic for others. And it’s been very uncomfortable, sucks in between people, but I kind of realized that I didn’t really need to prove anything to anyone. Like, when I put this on, I feel like I. Like, I have a purpose.
“It was extremely gratifying [to deliver that monologue]”, says Fletcher. “I’ve never heard of co-ed experience on TV because it sounds like a niche topic, but it’s not. . . . You live in that in-between space, and I think we’re also a little scared to talk about what it’s like growing up in that liminal space.”
Looking ahead, there’s a big test coming in Nakia and Kamala’s relationship: Kamala’s new status as a superhero, which Nakia still doesn’t experience. As Fletcher points out, it’s clear from the first two episodes of “Ms. Marvel” that Nakia isn’t a fan of superheroes. “She thinks the real heroes are the people on the streets making a difference,” she says. “She just doesn’t really like the way the superheroes have handled saving the world because it also causes a bit of destruction.” She adds, “Even though she has grudges against superheroes, she also really, really, really loves her best friend.” It remains to be seen how things will develop.
Fletcher says it’s been a long wait for these episodes to hit the screen. they finished principal photography in May 2021, then did a few reshoots this winter. And the wait didn’t help her worry about viewers’ reactions. “You’d think over that two-year period we’d be like, ‘So I’m ready now,'” she says. “It doesn’t actually happen. It’s a misconception. Once you get here, you’re still not ready for it.”
But whatever happens – a season two, perhaps? – Fletcher is grateful for the friendships she made on set. She says that within three weeks of knowing each other, some actors decided to get matching lightning bolt tattoos. “On the very last day, a relative of mine flew in and tattooed us all in my apartment, and it was the biggest, craziest bonding experience we could have ever had,” she says.
The first two episodes of “Ms. Marvel” are now streaming on Disney+, with new episodes released weekly.