Wonderland.

STORM REID

The living embodiment of being the change you wish to see, the actor is setting a new standard.

Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland black dress

Dress SANDRA MANSOUR, shoes NIKE

Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland black dress
Dress SANDRA MANSOUR, shoes NIKE

Taken from the Summer 2019 issue of Wonderland. Order your copy of the issue now.

If you’re ever feeling a little disillusioned (which — let’s be honest, with the present global headlines — isn’t impossible) I’d recommend a phone call with Storm Reid to uplift you. I’ve pulled the actor away from a press day for 30 stolen minutes, and when I tell her it’s midnight in London, she replies from Los Angeles that she’s been up since 5:30am with a chipper laugh in her sing-song voice that, unlike her eloquence, gives away her adolescence. That’s me told then. And rightly so; the 15-going-on-16-year-old has the kind of work ethic you daren’t try and match. Acting since she was three, her CV so far reads like a greatest hits list: the Academy Award-nominated 12 Years a Slave, Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, the video for Jay Z’s “Family Feud”, Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us, and most recently, HBO’s Euphoria.

“My mom had been in the en- tertainment industry, but she didn’t really want any part of it, she didn’t foresee me becoming an actress, but one day I went up to her and I was like, ‘Mom, I want to be on TV and I want to be a superstar,’” Reid says, with another self-aware laugh, explaining how she’s come to do more before her graduation than most aspiring actors manage in a lifetime. “I feel like it was something I was destined to do and put on this Earth to do – it came out of my mouth when I was three!”

“Superstar” — though apt — gives a whisper of superficiality, but Reid is firmly part of generation woke. Growing up as a person of colour faced with a whitewashed media, she’s made it her short life’s work to be seen and speaks matter-of-factly about her sense of responsibility to do so. She participates in panel talks to discuss the likes of equal pay and Racial Healing Day. She uses Instagram to raise awareness of young lives at risk to domestic violence. She’s even launched her own initiative Bamazing (be amazing), to remind young girls they’re capable of anything. It’d be easy to forget she was a teen if this wasn’t all between posting videos of her and her mum dancing at any opportunity and snapshots into her private life, like her recent photo of Sayeed Shahidi (Yara’s little brother) asking to her to prom with the frankly iconic poster: “Storms are rare in LA, I’m lucky I found you”.

That’s not to say she’s trivialising the socio-political causes she shares between selfies and pictures of her frothy pink prom dress, rather she’s normalising their place in everyday conversation, placing them on a viewing platform. That’s one of the reasons she looked up to Zendaya as a child.“I felt deeply connected to her,” she says, the older actor’s relatable visibility on Disney’s Shake It Up showing Reid that girls who looked like her did belong on television. “Now that I’m growing up, looking back I realise there weren’t enough of us, that there weren’t enough African American girls on TV being given opportunities, and just minorities in general.”

In what could be called a twist of fate, but is really owed to their shared talent, Zendaya and Reid share scenes as fictional sisters this summer in Euphoria, but Zendaya already offered the same sentiment off-screen years before, reaching out to Reid when she was doing Disney herself, starring in A Wrinkle in Time. “She told me that she was there for me and was really proud of me, so it was really special to be able to work [on Euphoria] with her and have her as another bonus big sister — it means a lot — and just lean on her for advice when I need it,” Reid says. “I know she’s been through the experiences that I’ve gone through, or that I am going through. She’s just a super cool, talented, dope human.”

Reid plays Gia to Zendaya’s Rue, “basically a young 13-year-old girl who is on the cusp of adolescence and still trying to figure herself out”. Rue’s an addict who’s spent the summer in rehab to little avail, reuniting with her dealer as soon as she’s back in her family home. Gia is the one who found her when she overdosed, and the promo for Reid’s part in Euphoria is nothing short of heartbreaking, with a tear-stained Gia peering around a corner. “I feel like that really changes her,” continues Reid, “and it takes her innocence away, and she has to still try and be that good sister and good daughter, but also try to relate to Rue and she starts to go down the wrong path.”

“[Rue’s] still a teenager, and she’s still in high school,” she tells me about her on-screen sister, “but she does have these circumstances and she’s fighting addiction… She has these friends and she uses that as her outlet, but she really is just in pain. She’s sad about the death of her father and her relationship strain with her mother and what she’s done to her little sister. There’s a lot of layers to her, and Zendaya is playing her beautifully. That’s the character I love the most and am the most invested in.”

Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland pink jacket
Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland suit

(LEFT) Jacket THE MARC JACOBS
(RIGHT) Jacket and skirt THE MARC JACOBS, earrings JENNY BIRD, socks BOMBAS, shoes GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI

Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland pink jacket
Jacket THE MARC JACOBS
Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland suit
Jacket and skirt THE MARC JACOBS, earrings JENNY BIRD, socks BOMBAS, shoes GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI

This is where Euphoria makes it mark, showing teenagers as multi- faceted beings as they’re thrown head first into adult reality, rather than just hotbeds of hormones too young to understand who they are or what they want. The audience is invited to get to know the cast – to see both sides of the coming-of-age dichotomy, when you wrangle with what to show the world and what it feels like the world wants you to hide. It’s a diverse ensemble in every sense: race, gender, body shape and size. Across the host of individual issues they face — whether that’s transphobia or slut-shaming — each is presented as valid, and although different is no longer a dirty word in 2019, it’s rare to be served such a wide scope of society on screen.

“People deserve to see themselves represented, and feel like they’re heard and they’re seen,” Reid agrees. “A lot of people consume a lot of the art we make. If they themselves sometimes feel inadequate, or feel like they aren’t able to succeed, it’s not the truth ultimately.” She knows it isn’t just a face- saving trend with Euphoria either; diversity is shown as a spectrum, rather than a singled-out gesture. “We’re just being true to what the real world looks like, it’s very important to me.”

Applying what she preaches to her every practise, as Nia in her animated project, Hulu’s The Bravest Knight, Reid voices the daughter in a two father family who wants to grow up and slay the dragons and capture the witches instead of being the damsel in distress (“I think it’s very important for young kids to learn that it’s ok to love who you love… I’m really proud to be a part of The Bravest Knight.”) Where my generation was taught a snog from a prince was literally the only way to wake from a catatonic sleep, Reid’s will realise women are capable of more than a vacuous giggle as they walk into their own ruin, let alone relying on someone else to rescue them from it.

It’s When They See Us though, Ava DuVernay’s Netflix mini-series on the Central Park jogger case, that’s not only trying to reset our outlook for the future, but also rewrite history. In April 1989, five teenage boys of colour were wrongfully arrested and later charged for the assault and rape of white investment banker Trisha Meili while she was on a run in Central Park. Reid plays Lisa, girlfriend of Korey Wise (played by Moonlight actor, Jharrel Jerome), the eldest of the accused who was only questioned by police after he chose to accompany his friend Yusef Salaam to the station when he was pulled in off the street.

After serial attacker Matias Reyes confessed to the crime in 2002, they were all released and vacated as adults. But no matter how the five try to move on with the rest of their lives, Trump being in office is a cruel everyday reminder of that time for them; the President, then a businessman, took out advertisements in several New York papers demanding the death penalty be reinstated for their sentencing.

Just watching is agonising. Under DuVernay’s direction, the men who have lost half their lives to wrongful incarceration are humanised as boys, along with their effected loved ones like Reid’s Lisa. The flaws of the US criminal justice system are laid bare under floodlights to such an illuminating degree that following the show’s release, prosecutor of the case Linda Fairstein has resigned from her post on the board at victim assistance non-profit, Safe Horizon.

“[DuVernay] really made a point to show them as people, and their families and their hobbies and what they were like before all of this happened,” Reid says. “Not in any way is the project going to give them back the years they lost and the innocence they lost,” she acknowledges, “but I will say that it definitely did feel like it gave them a piece of justice back, and that they can really feel seen and heard.” It’s a message that aches with poignance, and as Reid says, runs throughout right down to the title. “At first, people didn’t see them, they saw them as thugs and as nothing, but we are way more than what they see us as.”

At the start of our conversation, I make the mistake of speaking to Reid softly. Partly because it’s midnight and the walls of London house-shares are thin, but also because 15 feels so familiar yet fleeting – something fragile to be protected. In actuality, she’s an agent of change, unafraid of the vulnerability that can come with being a frontrunner in a generation she’s aware is “the present and the future”. “There’s little-to-no room to make mistakes, which can feel like a burden at times,” she admits, “but we’re trying to evoke change using our voices, and understanding that our feelings are valid and our feelings are superpowers.” It’s a weight she’s willing to bear though, now venturing into producing with the help of her mum and eventually, she hopes, directing. “I feel like I’ll be in the entertainment industry for a long time, but trying to create opportunities for all people to shine, and for all people to be heard… Being able to empower and impact a lot of lives is what I want to do on a global level.” See? Uplifting. The present and the future are all Storm Reid’s.

Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland green top
Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland floral dress
Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland suit

(LEFT) Jumper and shorts SELF-PORTRAIT, shoes CHLOE GOSSELIN, anklet DAVID YURMAN
(CENTRE) Dress THE MARC JACOBS, shoes NIKE
(RIGHT) Jacket and skirt THE MARC JACOBS, earrings JENNY BIRD, socks BOMBAS, shoes GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI

Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland green top
Jumper and shorts SELF-PORTRAIT, shoes CHLOE GOSSELIN, anklet DAVID YURMAN
Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland floral dress
Dress THE MARC JACOBS, shoes NIKE
Actress Storm Reid in Summer 19 issue of Wonderland suit
Jacket and skirt THE MARC JACOBS, earrings JENNY BIRD, socks BOMBAS, shoes GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI
Photography
Grace Pickering
Fashion
Jason Bolden
Words
Lily Walker
Hair
Shawnna Courtney Edwards using Mielle Organics Haircare
Makeup
Paul Blanch using Pat McGrath at TMG-LA
Production
Federica Barletta
Photo assistant
Donovan Novotny
Fashion assistant
Star Burleigh
Hair assistant
Kendal Fedail
Special thanks
Hotel Erwin Venice Beach
STORM REID