Adventure — we dream of it. We want to experience adventure to escape from the everyday, from the mundane, and from all the tedium that constantly invades us on a daily basis. Rarely do we have the opportunity to jump into the wild, explore unknown territories and experience new and exciting ones. What should we do when this happens? Carlacia Grant has no doubts about it.
Grant has decided to live big. Since she was young and growing up in Connecticut, Grant dreamed of becoming an actress. Destiny had a huge surprise in store for her, eventually becoming a part of one of the most followed and successful phenomena of the streaming giant Netflix. Outer Banks is the show where an adrenaline-seeking group of young people — “The Pogues” — fight against their destinies while looking for mysterious treasures in North Carolina. Since its premiere in 2020, the show has attracted an increasingly large fanbase that has elevated its protagonists to authentic tv stars.
Grant came to the series during its second season and her role of Cleo — a tough, headstrong girl with a good heart — has become so well-loved, she became part of the regular cast in its subsequent season. Now, while we look forward to solving the cliffhangers that the final of the third season of Outer Banks left us, Grant talks with Schön! about her dreams and her desire to always have a good adventure.
Carlacia, it’s such a pleasure to have the chance of doing this interview with you. I’m such a big fan of your character in Outer Banks. First, I would like to know you better. Tell me about your childhood. Where did you grow up?
I was born in New Haven, CT. I moved around a lot as a kid, but I spent the most years in South Florida.
Many actors discover their love of acting through a movie or some others just through acting in roles during high school. I would like to know what it was like when you discovered you wanted to be an actress.
I discovered my love for acting when I went to a theatre camp when I was 13. It honestly was like electricity ran through my body, like I came alive at that moment. From learning the lines to performing on stage, the entire process of becoming an artist just felt right.
I don’t know if it happens to you, but I think a lot about my possible life — about how everything would have been if I had chosen this path or the other one. Before dedicating yourself to being an actress, did you contemplate any other career?
There were times in my career when I feared it wouldn’t work out for me, but honestly… No. Every time I thought about doing anything else, it scared me into wanting to act even more because I truly love it and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.
I’d like to talk about one of your early roles. In the remake of Roots, you played Irene. This television series is compelling and deals with very relevant issues about racism and discrimination. How was it for you to be part of that project?
That was the first time in my career that I played a character that changed me, Carlacia, as a person. Doing the research in preparing for Irene and learning on a much deeper level about my people, I felt a responsibility and sense of pride in knowing I come from such resilience. It’s given my life greater meaning knowing I stand on their shoulders. Now I’m living my ancestor’s wildest dreams.
Your breakthrough role has come thanks to the Netflix series Outer Banks, where you play the character of Cleo. How did this project come to you?
Honestly, it felt like just another of the many auditions I had that week. I honestly thought I wouldn’t get it, so much so that I didn’t even want to do the audition let alone attempt the accent. My friend who was my reader [for the self-tape] convinced me that I should. So, we taped it and sent it in. Eventually, I got the call for a chemistry read that went great and the rest is, as they say, history.
The series revolves around the spirit of adventure of a group of friends. Many times we tend to believe that we are adventurers but, deep down, we are not. What do you think? Do you consider yourself an adventurous person who is not afraid of taking risks?
I wouldn’t say I’m not afraid to take risks because I’m very much afraid, but I take them anyway despite my fear.
Cleo is a strong character but she hides a very vulnerable side. Was it difficult for you to understand the motivation of such a misunderstood woman?
That’s a good question. I’ll say this: I understand that behind every quote on quote “strong” people usually lies a softer side and often that strength is a mask to protect that vulnerability. As an actor, I wanted to make sure Cleo had those same complexities. I say all that to say it wasn’t hard, it was fun.
Outer Banks is one of Netflix’s most popular shows. Were you prepared to be part of such a phenomenon? Have you received any advice?
I don’t think anything can prepare you for the whirlwind that comes with being a part of something of this magnitude. It’s been a blessing to have my cast members who are experiencing some of the same things. As well as family and friends who keep me grounded because you really need a strong foundation. As amazing as it is, it comes with great responsibility. Some of the best advice as cliche as it sounds has been to just be to myself.
As an actress, what would you say is your mission and the reason that makes you want to continue acting?
Growing up, I remember the feeling of watching a tv show, going to the movies, or seeing a play and how it made me feel not just entertained, but less alone. That’s the same feeling I want my work to give people. I think that’s why Outer Banks has resonated with so many people because they see a little bit of themselves in each character. I want to continue to do that in other projects and be in the position to create opportunities for others to do the same.
I pay attention to your fashion editorials and on red carpets, I feel that you have a very defined personal style. Could you tell me a little about it? What role does fashion play in your life?
Oh my God, I love that question! Thank you for noticing. Fashion is actually my first love. I always dreamed of being a supermodel, but just wasn’t quite tall enough. [Laughs] I love how putting on a piece can completely transform you. It puts me in a mood — it’s almost spiritual. I love that. l love how you can express so much through clothes, accessories, and shoes in a similar way you can with acting. Every garment is another character.
Finally, let’s talk about the future. Where does Carlacia see herself in about ten years?
Hopefully, I’m happy! Having already launched my production company, fashion and beauty brands, still acting and already have some blockbusters under my belt. But, again, to be happy and continuing to elevate not just in my career, but as a woman.
Outer Banks is streaming now.
photography. Edward Aninaru
fashion. Madeleine Zoeller
talent. Carlacia Grant
hair. Chloe Target
make up. Sean Harris
movement direction. Luiza Comsa
photography assistant. Ravin Goyal
fashion assistant. Livi Nichols
words. Juan Marti