For the August Cover of MUD, I sat down with Netflix’s hit show Outer Banks newest star, Carlacia Grant, to discuss all things season two and the new skills she’s picked up along the way to become her character, Cleo.
The first time we see Carlacia Grant in the new season of Netflix’s Outer Banks is cinematic gold. She’s lounging on the captain’s chair of a weathered boat, tinkering with a sharp switchblade knife. As she discovers the reward that John B’s name carries, a sly leer splits her face. In this brief scene, we learn three things about Carlacia’s character, Cleo. First, she’s not one to mess with. The way she plays with her knife is enough warning. Second, among the group of islanders, she’s established herself as a strong leader, one that the others listen to for guidance. And third, we’ll be obsessing over her fierce demeanor and adventurous personality for the entirety of the ten episodes that make up this season.
Carlacia’s character is introduced in the Bahamas, where she puts a pause to John B (Chase Stokes) and Sarah Cameron’s (Madelyn Cline) on-the-run baecation away from their Instagram-worthy home in North Carolina. At first, her goal is the hefty reward that comes with tipping off these two fugitives. But if there’s one thing you need to know about Cleo is that she won’t stop surprising us.
“The second season is more intense...We’re right smack down in the storyline. There are people getting kidnapped. More action. More love. More loyalty, It’s a rollercoaster,” Carlacia said during our interview.
It’s no surprise OBX has crushed the Netflix Top 10 of several countries days after being released. This is the show that got us through that first month of quarantine, where we all dreamed of fleeing to the beautiful islands on the coast of North Carolina to become Pogues. As expected, this second batch of episodes was shot in some gorgeous locations as well, like the paradisiac beaches of Barbados and the historic streets of Charleston. When Carlacia arrived at her hotel in Barbados, she had to quarantine for five days. For one of her first scenes, the stunt coordinator announced she’d have to learn how to throw and catch a knife like a pro. Since she was stuck in isolation, they were unable to come in to teach her. All they gave her were a few links to Youtube tutorials and good luck wishes. With practice, she soon transformed into a master of knives. She found herself eating breakfast and flipping the table knife around her fingers at the hotel, just like we see her do flawlessly in that first scene.
She ran into a predicament while practicing her stunts in public. Not everyone at her hotel in Barbados knew she was filming for Outer Banks. So, it was no surprise when a handful of guests were shocked to see her walking around the place with knives in her hands. When filming wrapped up, Carlacia had to tell herself not to pick up a knife and play with it.
“I’d be walking around the hotel all the time with a knife in my hand. Sometimes with a prop knife, but I’d keep picking up kitchen knives or anything I could get. I’d keep twirling it around until I got really good at it,” Carlacia said.
It’s hard to pick a favorite scene with Cleo, but for Carlacia, a particular moment comes to mind. In the first episode, Cleo kidnaps our beloved John B as he tries to escape the chaos from home. Although this was the first time Carlacia played a character on TV that kidnapped someone, she also just learned how to drive stick-shift 24 hours prior.
“It was so much fun being cool like Cleo, but I just learned how to drive stick shift, so I was nervous driving on hills, but Chase helped me out a lot in that scene,” Carlacia said.
They might be two completely different people, but both Carlacia and her character Cleo possess unique and special traits that unite them. Carlacia describes her character as a ball of energy, one to never shy from adventure. Both her and Cleo shared a passion for breaking barriers and standing up for what they believe in. In the end, Carlacia and Cleo are both daring and brave, and approach life with the wisdom from every lived experience.
“That’s another thing I like about Cleo. She fights anybody. You say something crazy to her and she’s just at your neck with a knife. It’s not that I would ever want to do that, but it’s kind of cool,” Carlacia said in between laughs.
When watching the show, OBX fans will come to know Cleo as an “anti-hero:” someone who appears to be on the Pogues’ side but is most loyal to her own convictions. Still, the charisma that Carlacia instills in Cleo is undeniable, even from a computer screen. Although Cleo is daring, she is not a character you despise, but instead one that you find yourself rooting for all along. In one scene, she gets run over and rubs it off like nothing happened. Her nonchalant attitude is aspirational. She enchants us with her wit, and makes us wonder what her next scene will bring.
Since filming the show, Carlacia grew addicted to learning new skills for a project. While her experience in OBX was nothing short of incredible, she has grown obsessed with the idea of exploring new areas of her acting career. Action, fantasy, and romance are just a few of the genres she’s thrilled to dive into now that the second season is out. More specifically, Carlacia has a soft spot for romance movies and has watched every rom-com starring JLo. In the near future, she could see herself leading a great love story like “The Notebook.”
While we can’t predict which projects Carlacia Grant will take on in the coming months, one thing is for sure: we’re about to see her face and name everywhere. In her face, the thrill and excitement of the world finally getting to know Cleo is palpable. Carlacia is proud of the role she brought to life, and she should be. In a world where Pogues and Kooks battle each other, Carlacia’s Cleo is a refreshing twist that comes full of adrenaline and adds a unique storyline to the treasure hunt. Be a witness to her handful of skills and contagious smile on season two of Outer Banks, available now only on Netflix.