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Exclusive Interview with “Fresh Off The Boat’s” Luna Blaise

Luna Blaise is the girl next door, both literally and figuratively.  A fresh-faced beauty who’s close with her family, has a passion for music and obsession with Harry Potter, she’s exactly the kind of 16-year-old you’d expect to find catching your son’s eye next door. Only Luna also plays the Huang’s neighbor, Nicole, on Fresh Off The Boat, and she’s just had the biggest storyline of her career: Nicole’s coming out. Meet this rising star, you’ll be seeing and hearing more of her in the future.

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed in watching Fresh Off the Boat is how Nicole and Eddie’s friendship has really developed and deepened over the seasons. It went from his crush on her to really, what I consider to be, his most profound and true friendship. What has it been like for you to develop that comradery with your costar, Hudson Yang?

From the very beginning me and Hudson have always had incredible chemistry onscreen, and offscreen. We’re really, really close friends, and he’s really funny. I just think that if you’re gonna be… a majority of the scenes that I have on Fresh Off the Boat are with Hudson, and I think you have to have a connection with them on and offscreen to be able to have that chemistry onscreen and be able to be comfortable, especially with the situations that we’re talking about in Fresh Off the Boat. Like Nicole coming out and Eddie being such a young age. It’s a lot to put onscreen, on TV, and you have to really be able to have a connection when you’re doing it, not just barely talk to each other and not know each other and be like, “Oh, let’s get really close while we’re onscreen, really quickly.” We’re really, really good with that, and it’s been like that for like four years now, so I think we’ve kind of nailed it.

I imagine, especially going into the episodes this season, you have to have that kind of trust factor there.

100%, you have to have the trust there.

Nicole’s obviously had a really important arc this season, and I was really excited to see that, especially a coming out story for the time period that they’re in. I was curious if the writers actually approached you when they were developing the storyline.

They did. It wasn’t like a big thing, especially because I’m all for the LGBTQ community. I basically just got an email, and they said that this was Nicole’s story arc this season– It was actually a phone call. It wasn’t an email. It was really easy breezy. I said nothing but “Of course” and “I would love to do it.” I think it was a major breakthrough for Fresh Off the Boat, because the last person who came out on ABC, to be a girl, was Ellen, and then me.

I actually just re-watched “A League of Her Own” this morning and I want to say you beautifully played her fear and vulnerability in coming out to her dad. His initial reaction just kind of leaves you with your heart in your throat, and reads as really true and raw. What was it like filming the episode and, in particular, that scene?

Since Nicole has such an important storyline on Fresh Off the Boat this season, it was kind of a lot of weight on my shoulders. I felt like it was kind of my episode, almost, because it was such a big storyline that was going on, and it was super important, but during filming it, it was honestly so empowering. It was really awesome to be a 16-year-old girl who is playing a lesbian character on her TV show, being 16, and it’s, like, it’s really cool and really awesome. I don’t think a lot of people can say that, so being able to film that was really, really awesome for me. Definitely something that I’ll always remember. Also with the help of my TV dad, Ray Wise, he was incredible. He was amazing, he really helped me with the whole dad figure in it.

I understand you partnered with GLAAD for support on the role, and how to communicate with teens who might need guidance. Can you tell us about that partnership?

Well, my partnership with GLAAD, when I went and had the meeting with them in their office, I was really open-minded. I really had no idea what I was really getting myself into, because this is such a new topic for me, not a topic, but a new subject for me to be coming upon, not the LGBTQ community, but being able to play an LGBTQ character. GLAAD really, really helped me, to inform me, and I gained so much knowledge from them. It was really, honestly insane, because I am such a strong advocate of the LGBTQ community.

I think anytime an actor has an episode like this, where you’re coming out, it puts a lot of responsibility on you. I’m certain fans are probably coming out to you and telling you their own stories. You have to be able to know how to react to that, how to best be supportive. Is that kind of what they did for you?

Oh, 100%. 100%. When I tell you I’ve had nothing but support this whole entire time, this whole entire season, it’s really been nothing but that. Even support from our viewers, from our fans. When the episode came out we really didn’t know what people were gonna say, because in this day and age people just really say what they want, but it’s like we didn’t exactly know what was gonna happen, especially for me. I was kind of just watching the show on my couch and I was like, “Oh my god, how is this gonna go? What are people gonna say?” Of course, I went and checked Twitter right afterwards, because that’s usually where people speak their mind. It was nothing but positivity. It was nothing but positivity and support. Saying, “Nicole, this is amazing,” and actually saying, “I’m about to go come out to my parents.” I literally saw that on Twitter. It’s really empowering. The feedback was so positive, so positive. I’m very happy about that.

That’s wonderful. I wondered if you would hear from fans who planned to come out to their parents after the episode.

Oh, yeah, I did.

Something people may not know is that you’re also an incredible singer. You recently debuted two singles, “Over You,” and “Camera Roll.” Who are your musical influences?

My musical influences: probably Julia Michaels. I love Julia Michaels. I think she’s amazing. She’s also a songwriter like myself, so I definitely look up to her. Not a girl, but I think John Mayer is amazing. I love him. I think his writing’s incredible and I think his sound is amazing. And probably Halsey. I really like Halsey, too.

You have written both of these singles?

Yes, yes.

Are you going on tour?

I’m actually on tour right now with Jacob Sartorius.

How can fans find out where you’re at?

At just Luna Blaise, L-U-N-A B-L-A-I-S-E. That’s on all of my social media.

Do you have a listing for where they can catch you on tour?

Yeah, they can go to Spotify or they can go on my Instagram. It’s there. They can just go to jacobsartorius.com. It’s there, also.

You’re 16 and you’ve got this passion for music and acting. Where is it you would like to see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years? That’s hard. I probably would want to be doing exactly what I’m doing right now, just better. Definitely, I hope I’ve improved what I’m doing now by then, and just making movies. Making music is kind of what I want to be doing. I think I can do both 100%. I’m doing it right now, so hopefully by the time I’m 20, or by the time I’m 25, I’ll kind of have it down. Continuing to grow as an artist is really what I’m focusing on. Artist in movies and artist in music.

You mentioned wanting to do movies. Is there a particular genre of film or a specific kind of role that you are just itching to get your hands on?

I’m always down for whatever, whatever comes my way, but I definitely would love to put my feet into a drama role, because I’ve been doing comedy for the past four years, even though it is dramatic. It is somewhat drama, but I’d love to really get into the drama side of acting, just go into a really deep role.

Along those lines, do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us?

I did a movie that’s gonna be coming out sometime this year called Surviving Theater 9.

What’s that about?

Do you remember, in Colorado, the mass shooting in The Dark Knight[Rises]?

Yes, that was actually not far from where I live.

Oh! Well, yeah, in Aurora. Basically, the movie is about that. The movie’s about a guy who actually experienced it. He basically wrote the story around that and about what he was experiencing. That’s exactly what it is. He’s actually in the movie, which is really cool. He plays himself, and he wrote it, he produced it and directed it. It’s really, really amazing. It’s really, really cool. Such a fun project to work on, so I’m very excited to see that.

Are you one of the theater goers then in the movie?

No, actually. When the shooting happened in Colorado he was a young boy. He was younger. He was about 14, 15, something like that. I play the girlfriend, almost, or the crush that he likes at school. I’m seeing him go through this really dark place.

So, dealing with the aftermath.

Yeah, I’m dealing with the aftermath. Exactly.

Last question for you, what is it, outside of music and acting, that you really nerd out about? What is your geek side?

My geek side is 100,000% Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter. I have a wand at home. It’s Neville Longbottom’s wand, and I have seen all of the Harry Potter movies more than I can count. I have marathons. I haven’t had one in a while, but I literally love Harry Potter so much. I plan on going to Harry Potter World when I get back to LA. I’m gonna get a cloak, I’m going to get butterbeer, and I’m going to be living my best life, because I love Harry Potter so much.

Fresh Off The Boat returns Tuesday, February 27th on ABC at 8:30/7:30c.  And you can follow Luna on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

 

This article has been edited and condensed for content & clarity.

Written by Terri Clark

Terri Clark is an entertainment writer, TV addict, pop culture geek and award-winning young adult author. She loves the access Twitter has given her to the people behind her favorite books & TV shows. TV isn’t just a static sport anymore. (Yes, sport! Watching as much as she does requires commitment, dedication and endurance.) She's a writer and lead editor for Talk Nerdy With Us. Please follow her at terriclarkbooks on Facebook and Twitter. You can find info on her YA books at TerriClarkBooks.com.

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