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A Conversation With Quvenzhané Wallis

Jeremy before his interview with Quvenzhané

Quvenzhané Wallis, a young American actress, stars in The Prophet, a new animated film. Set in a Mediterranean seaside village, the movie chronicles the struggles of a Lebanese poet, Mustafa (Liam Neeson), who is imprisoned for his radical ideas. After a spirited girl named Almitra, played by Quvenzhané, strikes up a friendship with Mustafa, the two embark on a journey home with Almitra’s mother, Kamila (Salma Hayek). Along the way, they must escape authorities who worry that the truth in Mustafa’s words will cause a rebellion.

When I learned that I was going to interview Quvenzhané, I was very excited about the opportunity, even though I couldn’t even pronounce her name. I did extensive research about the rising actress and learned that Quvenzhané (kwuh-VEN-ja-nay) was actually born in the same year that I was, 2003. She is one of the youngest actors ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, for her 2012 role in Beasts of the Southern Wild.


The morning of the interview, my father and I left the house early. During the drive, I nervously rehearsed my questions in my head. When we arrived at our destination, the room was full of professional adult press. I was the only kid reporter there, and I could feel everyone’s eyes following me as I walked by.

I was anxious about the interview, but I was also thrilled to meet an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee. I was one of the few who got to have a one-on-one interview with her. My father and I had to wait almost an hour-and-a-half before getting to meet Quvenzhané.

Right before the interview, I could feel my heart beating rapidly. But Quvenzhané was very friendly, and I relaxed, having a great time throughout the interview. She gave me her full attention and answered all of my questions.

When I asked what it was like to perform in an animated film, Quvenzhané said that it was sometimes confusing since you aren’t in the same room with the other actors. But it’s also fun, especially because you get to wear whatever you want—even your pajamas!

Quvenzhané, who enjoys reading, riding her bike, and playing with her German Shepherd in her spare time, has some advice for kids who might want to pursue a career in acting: “Just keep trying,” she says. “There’s no reason to give up your dream. Not everything is going to be very easy, [but] don’t give up.



See Jeremy's interview with Quvenzhané.

Photo courtesy of Andy Hsiao