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Where EAST meets the Northwest

BIG BREAK. Iman Vellani poses for a portrait in Dana Point, California. Vellani, who had her big break earlier in 2022 as the star of "Ms. Marvel" on Disney+, and will next appear in The Marvels movie alongside Brie Larson and Teyonah Parris, is pacing herself and not concerned with the Hollywood rat race. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

From The Asian Reporter, V33, #1 (January 2, 2023), page 9.

Iman Vellani ó in marvellous form

By Alicia Rancilio

The Associated Press

DETROIT ó With countless auditions, constant rejection, and a calendar thatís often in flux, acting professionally can be anxiety-inducing. Once success comes, there can then be added pressure to keep the momentum going, book more jobs, be seen in the right places, and strike while the iron is hot.

Iman Vellani, who had her big break earlier in 2022 as the star of "Ms. Marvel" on Disney+, and will next appear in The Marvels movie alongside Brie Larson and Teyonah Parris, is pacing herself and not concerned with the Hollywood rat race.

"I am taking a bit of a break right now," said the actor over Zoom. "The Marvelsí was extremely stressful on my body, physically and mentally, and it was a lot. I was away from home for like two years and I was only 17 when I left. I am spending time with my family right now and living the nice, calm Ontario life."

Vellaniís maturity, enthusiasm, and acting skills have led to her becoming one of The Associated Pressí Breakthrough Entertainers of 2022, alongside stars including Sadie Sink, Simone Ashley, Daryl McCormack, and fellow Marvel standout Tenoch Huerta.

Now 20, Vellani could attribute some of her Zen perspective to wise words from Samuel L. Jackson while filming The Marvels.

"I remember when Sam Jackson was on set, I had this whole laundry list of questions for him. And I was asking him like, ĎWhat are the best characteristics of an actor?í And he was like, ĎPatience.í I was like, ĎYes, Sam, youíre right, patience.í After that, I never complained, ever. If anything took longer than 5 minutes or 10 minutes or coming to set and not even working, you know, itís all part of the job. You have to understand, thereís so many moving parts."

While she wants to continue with showbiz beyond Marvel, Vellani remains open to possibilities and has two criteria: "I just want to meet cool people and do cool things."

"I have so much to learn ... I feel Marvel Studios compared to the rest of Hollywood is such a different world. I want to experience whatís out there. Iím in a very lucky position where Iím able to do that, and Iíve built so many incredible connections at this point. So yeah, I donít know where life is going to take me, but Iím excited and obviously I will work for Marvel until the day I die. Iím loyal."

Sheís not kidding about being a Marvel fan. Vellani read the comics and watched the films before the opportunity to act in "Ms. Marvel" was even on her radar. Because of her own fandom, sheís especially encouraging and open to those who recognize her and want to chat.

"Iíve lost my anonymity now. I donít really mind," said Vellani. "Yes, itís annoying to kind of lose the ability to have a first impression, but it means so much when people tell me how much the show meant to them. Iíve had so many great conversations with people. I just like to picture them watching the show."

Vellani says she had "a two-year countdown" to prepare her for fame. "I got cast during the pandemic. How rare is that, that someone actually gets to mentally prepare for two years to know how their life is going to change? Because Iíve seen it happen to like the Tom Hollands and the Chris Hemsworths of the world, I kind of knew what to expect."

**

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