Ciara Riley Wilson Talks "On My Block" Spin-Off, "Freeridge"
The Portland-native actress is set to play Demi in this new Netflix show which centers around a group of friends who may or may not have unleashed a deadly curse.
Considering the success of “On My Block," there must have been some challenges with making sure that “Freeridge” has its own identity while still honoring the original show. How did you approach this?
Yes, “On My Block” was a huge inspiration and success and we all definitely wanted to make sure we carried on this legacy with the utmost care. I think the main thing at the forefront of our brain was that we weren’t trying to step into OMB’s shoes, but walk alongside them in our own way. We pulled inspiration from the way the original actors portrayed comedy and drama so seamlessly -- having a show that was so genuinely funny as well as had a lot of real depth. In terms of my character, I definitely thought about how Demi would fit into the OMB universe and the experiences she had growing up in that same town. Ultimately though, Demi is a brand new character and I had a lot of freedom in crafting her from the ground up and making her my own.
Are there any aspects of your character that are very similar to your own personality? Are there any that are very different?
I think of Demi a lot as a version of my younger self. We are so similar in the ways we express ourself through fashion, we both have an interest in spirituality and crystals, and we’re both very aware of our feelings and influenced by others feelings as well. I think Demi has a lot to learn still in how she handles tough situations (which she makes great progress in throughout the series) and looking inwards to solve problems instead of reaching outwards to get answers. I think I have a little bit more “go with the flow” in my personality than Demi.
Much of your social media captures your love for fashion and design. Are there certain designers and/or brands that you associate with your character?
Building the world of Demi’s fashion and personal style was one of the most fun aspects of the filming process for me, since I love fashion so much in my personal life. Working with the incredible wardrobe team, we developed that Demi is very into upcycling and using found objects/thrifted items to DIY her clothes. A lot of the alterations were done with scissors or safety pins to make it look like she did it herself in her bedroom. I would say Demi is very inspired by vintage punk (like low waisted pinstripe pants & Vivienne Westwood-esqe chunky jewelry and boots).
Is there a dream role that you have always wanted to play or a genre that you want to break into?
When I think of my absolute dream role, it’s something in the world of a 1970’s decade piece inspired by the 70s rock era. Bohemian Rhapsody is my favorite movie and I just think projects in that time period are so full of life, fashion, and unique self-expression. I’ve never seen female Filipino representation in that decade and it would be really cool to be the first.
Working in the entertainment industry, especially at a young age, demands a lot of time and attention. How do you go about separating your work from your personal life? Is there any particular way that you like to unwind after a day of work?
I definitely agree working at a young age in this industry has really forced me to develop healthy ways to unwind & make a clear separation between work and relaxation. It can be hard, especially during busy filming seasons, to work so much and then just snap back into reality once we wrap. I really like to give myself grace in these periods and prioritize rest. I love meditating (even sometimes during the work day), writing poetry, and I have two lovely roommates who have helped me unwind & debrief so much after a long day of work. Also, cuddling with my calico kitten & throwing on some Lofi youtube videos on my projector. :)
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Photo Credit: Storm Santos | Hair: Lucy Gedjeyan | Makeup: Robert Bryan