Not only was Yasmeen Fletcher a Marvel diehard, she’d specifically become obsessed with the “Ms Marvel” comic — the very project that would ultimately become her big break.
“I think the first Marvel movie I watched in theaters was ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’” Fletcher says over the phone from Los Angeles, where she’s been since the pandemic began. “And I’d seen a couple at home before then, but ever since then, I was looking forward to every movie on the edge of my seat, trying to theorize, connect different things. I’ve been a huge fan, so this was the dream call, basically.”
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The Las Vegas native stars as Nakia, close friend to Kamala Khan aka Ms Marvel, in the new series, out now on Disney+. She remembers a friend suggesting to her that she might like the Ms Marvel comic book series and running out to buy one that day.
“A friend of mine who’s a huge Marvel fan was, like, ‘There’s this comic series that I think you would really like. I think it’s something that you’d relate to,’” she recalls. She went out and bought a few that day and immediately fell in love. “Then when the rumor for the show came out, I sped to my computer to email my manager and be, like, ‘If there’s any possibility of me being a part of this in any way, please, I would love to be a part of this.’”
Courtesy of Allegra Messina
It’s Fletcher’s first big role, and she was close to not booking it altogether.
“After doing the test, I texted my manager and told her how it went and the next day she called me and was, like, ‘So bad news. You actually didn’t get the part. It’s not going for you, they’re still looking, I’m so sorry.’ And that was world ending, devastating,” she says. “So for two weeks, I was completely convinced that I didn’t get the part and it wasn’t going [to] me, and then out of the blue, I got a call from my manager again, saying, like, ‘Hey, in a really strange turn of events, it’s coming right back for you.’” She had to leave a week later to head off to shoot between Atlanta and Thailand. “It was a roller coaster.”
Fletcher was born in Orange County, Calif., but her family relocated to Vegas to be closer to other relatives. Her mother is a defense attorney and her dad a pool contractor, but they encouraged her passion for performing arts from the start.
“I didn’t love growing up in Vegas — obviously my family and my friends made it awesome, but Vegas itself is not exactly a kid-oriented town,” she says. Her parents made a big effort to put her in fun extracurriculars, which included her early passion of singing and, later, acting. A friend convinced her to try an acting class and “it all just fell into place from there,” she says.
Just about any actor would kill to be part of the Marvel universe, given the scale of the projects and fan base that comes with them, but Fletcher talks of her thrill of being cast like a real fan: Marvel, for her, is all about the escape.
“What the Marvel universe does for me, and I think for the majority of people is, it takes you out of reality for a little while. For those two and a half hours, you are in a completely different world, a completely different universe in the MCU. You don’t have to think about anything around you, and you’re just sucked into this fantastic mystical world that is just so big and intertwined with everything else they put out,” she says. “It’s just a really fun thing to follow, where you can just take your mind off of things.”
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