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Priah Ferguson is a shining star in the making. At only 15 years old, the Georgia native is known for stealing the show every time she graces the screen as Erica Sinclair on Netflix's Stranger Things. She captured the hearts of viewers, who couldn't help but transform her epic one-liners and always-witty suggestions into viral memes. I mean, does it get any more iconic than "You can't spell America without Erica?" Priah's success in the breakout role of Lucas Sinclair's little sister led to her promotion from a guest on the Duffer brother's show to a series regular, and we love to see it!
It's been a joy to watch Erica's character, first introduced in the show's second season as a 9-year-old, growing up on the small screen. There's no denying it. Priah is growing (and glowing) up, too. Along with her permanent spot on Stranger Things, Priah's been venturing off, adding new film and TV projects to her resume while living an everyday teen life IRL. With a knack for entrepreneurship and beauty (a girl after my heart), Priah became a certified eyelash technician in November 2021. She also runs her own content creation company Bold Honey, too.
With all the great things Priah has and continues to accomplish on the small screen and beyond, this is only the beginning for the budding multi-hyphenate. Here, Priah spills the tea with Seventeen on all things Stranger Things, reveals her fave co-star, and shares the big plans she has in store for her milestone birthday this year.
17: How did you get started in acting?
Priah Ferguson: I've always had an outgoing personality. Anywhere I went, I would talk to anyone. I liked to watch a lot of action movies and movies with a lot of drama, and I'd always wonder how they got on TV. So, I asked my mom, and she explained that they were actors. I was like, "Oh, well, this is something I want to do." So, I started by getting into acting camps, then I did a little bit of theater, but nothing too extreme. I joined an agency, and my career has evolved since then.
17: Everyone loves Erica because she's so witty and resourceful. Do you see any of yourself in Erica?
PF: Definitely. I have a little sister as well. So I kind of take from her to kind of put it into Erica too, but Erica and I, we both, share the resourceful trait. We're both very proactive.
17: Who is your favorite Stranger Things character?
PF: Dustin. I think his character adds a light to the show. He's funny, but he also gets stuff done and his heart. I love his heart, and he's very sweet on and off-camera. I would say he's my favorite.
17: Erica went from being a small yet impactful character on Stranger Things. What's the transition from a guest to a season regular been like in your personal life?
PF: It's been great. I have a sense of normalcy in my life. I still go to public school. I joined the JV cheer team, so that's cool. I still have some normalcy, but you have to mature faster and differently from all your peers.
17: Since Stranger Things is set in the 1980s, did you have to do any preparation to learn more about the era?
PF: My mom grew up in the 80s, so she told me some things about what happened in the 80s and what they did back then. Also, I listened to a lot of 80s music, so that got me in my zone. I watched a lot of sci-fi films and 80's movies that got me in my zone.
17: Do you have a favorite artist or song from the 1980s?
PF: It would have to be a Whitney Houston song.
17: Do you have any favorite trends or beauty looks that came out of the 80s?
PF: 1980s makeup, that was cool to see. Even the clothing trends wear y'all pants inside out, little dorky stuff like that.
17: Netflix confirmed that Stranger Things is ending after season five. How do you feel about being so close to the end of the series?
PF: It's bittersweet, like the beginning of the end. It hasn't hit me yet, but I think it definitely will on that last day of filming, like not having anything to look forward to filming next. I also think it's just the start of a new beginning. After Stranger Things ends, it'll open new doors for me and new activities and roles. It would be cool to experience the fashion part of the industry or work behind the camera. I think that would be cool to experience after the show is over.
17: People probably flood your comments with this, but everyone loves, "You can't spell America without Erica." What's one of your favorite things that Erica says or has done?
PF: Erica has many little iconic lines that she says. I really like the My Little Pony scene with Dustin [found in season three, episode six]. That was cool and fun.
17: How do you feel about having such an important role on such an impactful show?
PF: It's still surreal, but it's a blessing. It's opened a lot of doors for me. I can't wait to see what the future will look like for me. It's taught me a lot.
17: What's one of your favorite things about navigating Hollywood as a young Black actress?
PF: I inspire many other young girls of color and other young Black girls, and that's pretty cool.
17: You're turning 16 this year. Do you have any big plans for your birthday this October?
PF: I'm taking driver's ed to learn how to drive. I have my learner's permit right now, so hopefully, I'll get my driver's license. I also want to go out of the country instead of having a sweet 16.
17: You're interested in beauty, do community service, and obviously kill it on the acting scene. What are some of your other hobbies?
PF: I just made the JV cheer team. It's really fun. I also like to write and direct. I'm getting into producing and filming and also studying fashion more.
17: You also became a certified eyelash tech in November. How do you find the time to fulfill your work obligations while living everyday life?
PF: I have a pretty good balance. I'll work on something, and then I might have a day off and do whatever I want to do. I change my looks so much that I don't get recognized as much. So that's pretty cool. That humbles me a little bit. I also hang out with my friends.
17: What's the best lesson you've learned from acting?
PF: The best lesson I have learned is that everything happens for a reason, and everyone's journey is different. I can't compare my journey to another girl's journey because it's all different and it takes time, and you have to be committed.
17: If you could come up with a dream role for yourself, what would it be?
PF: An action role where I'm a superhero. I think that would be fun for me to do. I like seeing Black girls play superheroes.
17: What's next for Priah Ferguson?
PF: I'm in a movie with Marlon Wayans that's coming out in October. I also appear in a few voiceover films. My Dad, the Bounty Hunter, is coming out on Netflix. I also have my own company Bold Honey, where I create content that centers on young Black girls.
Parts of this interview have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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