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Kaci Walfall is only 17, and she's now the center of her own TV universe

Dawn Burkes, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Q: Teenage girls that look like you can see themselves onscreen with "Naomi." Is that in your head too? Do you feel like you need to speak up for them?

A: I think 13-year-old me would look up to Naomi. I don't know if I feel pressure because ... this show's grounded in normalcy. It's highlighting, like, the greatness of being a Black girl, and, you know, Black girls who are powerful when we're all powerful. Naomi is a great example. She's like a lot of girls I know in real life.

Q: You have said that this role checked all the boxes, that it was everything you ever wanted. What are those boxes?

A: One, working with Miss Ava. Miss Ava loves her job. These shows are like her prized possessions. . And then CW checked my box because I'm a teenager, and I've seen CW shows, and I don't think I've ever auditioned for a CW show before. Then DC checked my box. DC-CW, like that combination is just great. And that checked my box because I don't think I had ever auditioned for a comic book character either. And what really, really, really, really checked my box was the character description. It's this cool, confident girl and I remember the words that they put in it were like "charismatic," "confident," "has doting parents," "in all these AP classes," "knows nine languages." I was like, "I want to know about this girl."

Q: Ava said, "This is the first part of the Naomiverse." What does that mean for you?

A: I love that it's put into a different universe. And I love how universes can come together, like the Arrowverse can come to us or we can come to them. Not to speak for her but that could imply maybe future people, future stories and future DC characters — she's in the Justice League, and she's in Young Justice — will live in the Naomiverse with her.

 

Q: You have entered an arena where the fandom is intense. Are you ready?

A: With intensity comes power and weight, and DC and all these great superhero outlets have gained a great mainstream fandom and that's so beautiful because these stories are being listened to and are being told. Art is subjective. Stories are subjective. And people may not be a big fan of it, but all I'm asking is just to give it a chance.

Q: Do you want to say something else to your fans?

A: "Naomi" is on The CW, and it's generally a teen-based genre program, but I think you can totally watch it with your family. And I think that people of all ages can see themselves within the characters and within the story and within the message. The message is really two things: That you are enough, and even sometimes when you may feel like you aren't or feel like you're different, there's gold within that difference. Once you find that within yourself, that is your power. And then I would also say don't believe everything you think, don't believe everything you hear and don't believe everything that someone tells you about someone else. You really have to find people's background stories before you judge them.

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