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Nathalie Emmanuel on her new film, The Invitation, trusting your instinct and racial ‘gaslighting’

Courtesy of Screen Gems

What kind of music do you listen to to de-stress?

It’s not what you’d expect. I actually like listening to soca music. It’s very high-tempo, very energetic. I have Caribbean and west Indian heritage. So music is something that I immediately connect to. I just want to dance to it. So you’re dancing, and it’s very fast and quick, and you are like, ‘Oh, I’m actually out of breath and tired now.’ I end up completely sweaty and out of breath, but then I’m sleepy. And then I can take my bath before bed. When I’m in the bath, I like to play something a bit more relaxed, a more chilled vibe – I love a good singer songwriter, a bit of India Arie, you know, just something that’s guitar or just very chill.

What was your favourite part of playing Evie, and did you relate to her character?

I loved playing Evie. We have a lot in common: we’re both very close to our mothers. We’re both creatives – and we’ve had that artist’s life. You know, I’ve been very blessed in my career in recent years, but I’ve definitely had times where I was down on myself, really questioning whether I should be doing what I’m doing. Because I’m not getting to do it in the way that I wanted to. You doubt yourself at times. I immediately connected into that part of Evie and seeing her evolution of her realising that her power and her strength is within her already. She just wasn’t aware. I went through a similar thing a number of years ago and I realised how powerful and resilient I am. Because I’m very sensitive and quite introverted. Sometimes when you are naturally that way, you are perceived to not be as strong. And you can internalise that. I’ve definitely had those moments where I have had to reach deep down and pull that strength out. I connected with Evie in that respect. Obviously I haven’t been in the same situation as her, by any means, but there was something I really liked about her. I like that she stands up for herself. Even though she doesn’t always realise the danger she’s in, or she questions her instincts, these are all things that I relate to constantly. Like, wait, something doesn’t feel right. I’ve been in those situations where I feel completely unsure of my own instinct. Her experience, while within this heightened genre, this horror world, is something that we can all relate to. I also got to learn a bit of ceramics [Evie’s character is a ceramicist], which was fun and cool to do. And I always love learning new things. I’m actually looking for a new class to go and try it again.

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