‘Bel-Air' Star Akira Akbar Shines As One of the Reboot's Leading Ladies
From her early roles on Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds to her newest role as Ashley Banks on Bel-Air, Akira Akbar is the talented 15-year-old starlet taking Hollywood by storm. Bel-Air, the reboot of the beloved sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has garnered praise from critics and fans alike. Akbar stands out with her poise and dedication to giving her best performance in reintroducing audiences new and old to a 2022 version of the iconic character.
EDITION recently had the opportunity to talk with Akbar about her past roles, including starring in Captain Marvel, and how she plans to modernize Ashley Banks for newer audiences.
What has it been like working on Bel-Air? Do you have any highlights?
Oh, it's been amazing. Working with the whole cast and I just felt so included with everybody especially being the youngest one. A highlight would probably be just us hanging out offset. We hang out a lot offset, and it's so much fun. We're just like a big family. Another highlight would be just learning from all the amazing directors that have been directing all these episodes. I've learned so much from them.
With your role as the iconic Ashley Banks, what do you plan to bring new or similar to the character?
I plan to just bring a more modern dynamic to her on-screen. The originality of the original character is still there – her smarts and the way she is. I just bring more of a modern take so people can relate to her more.
In what ways did you prepare to take on the role of Ashley?
I've watched a few episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I watched re-runs and kind of just binge-watched a few episodes, but I didn't want to study her to a T because I wanted to have my own spin on her but also have a little bit of originality to her.
I can appreciate that. I think it's fun that you're going to bring your own thing to a character that we know – and we look forward to seeing it.
Thank you. Yeah, I feel like that's the best way to do it. It's kind of just having your own spin of it because you can never be somebody else.
What was it like to be a part of the Marvel Universe?
Oh my gosh, it was amazing. I mean, it's still kind of surreal to me how young I got to be a part of the Marvel Universe is amazing. It's like a dream come true for a lot of people.
Do you have any plans to return to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe)?
Maybe. The MCU is a lot about not spoiling things, so…
What would be your ideal character if you could return to the MCU?
I don't think I would be able to return as a different character. But I don’t know; I have no idea. Actually, it kind of just popped into my head. What if there's a girl like Spider-Man? That would be cool.
What is your favorite way to give back to the community?
My favorite way of giving back to the community is giving the less fortunate socks and clothes and shoes and stuff. I did that before COVID started. I haven't done it since COVID, but I’d really love to do it again when it's safe outside to do so.
I know you love beauty and fashion. Who would be your dream designer to work with?
I mean, my dream kind of already came true. I got to work with Chanel for the premiere. That's insane, honestly, that Chanel would work with me, but my dream has come true already.
As a young Hollywood actress, do you have any advice for those looking to get into the business?
I would just say follow your dreams because there are a lot of nos than there are yesses. So don't give up and just stay persistent.