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'Avatar' Star Bailey Bass Finds Inspiration In Family, Friends, And Bingeing 'Game Of Thrones'

The actress, who also appeared in 'Interview with the Vampire,' appreciates brutal honesty and collaboration

Who’s Watching? introduces a rising screen star, who details their latest role, and how they got there, in their own words. In Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron’s highly anticipated sequel to his critically acclaimed 2009 film Avatar, actress Bailey Bass plays Tsireya, a graceful freediver from the newly introduced aquatic Metkayina Clan. Aside from acting, Bass is a songwriter and recently penned singer Madison Lagares’s snowy snap-pop single “The Holidays.”

Name: Bailey Bass

Age: 19

Astrological sign: Gemini, on the Gemini-Cancer cusp

Born: Nashville, T.N.

Where she lives now: New York, N.Y. When I was 2, I moved with my mom and my younger brother to Brooklyn. I grew up in a predominantly Russian neighborhood, so I was immersed in Belarusian culture but also Russian culture and Kazakh culture. And I grew up speaking Russian and I love it. I love being immersed in my culture because even though I've never been to Belarus, I feel like I know so much about it.

Her first gig: My first acting role was when I was five-and-a-half in a My Little Pony commercial, and I actually ended up doing that commercial twice because they brought me back. I think it was partly because I also loved it so much — and I got to take My Little Pony toys home!

Her breakout moment: Interview with the Vampire, [which] I filmed after Avatar: [The Way of Water]. I got to play Claudia, which was an absolute honor, and I'm so grateful to play her. She is feral. She experiences every emotion, and I think I got to do the actor's dream, which is doing almost everything on screen, from a period piece to elaborate costumes to speaking a dialect to master — because Claudia experiences so much in this show — to getting to deal with special effects and makeup and being a part of a small ensemble cast.

What she turns to for inspiration: I turn to the real world. I turn to my family. I turn to spending more time with my friends. I turn to shutting off my phone and being present. I can only do the best performances if I'm a full person on my own. I've really connected [with] or appreciated actors that have gone through really hard things in their life growing up and then you see how that transformed their performances in their career. And I really think all the hard times and challenges that I had growing up influenced and added beautiful elements to my performances.

Who she leans on for support: Throughout filming, I definitely lean on the crew a lot. They're really supportive but they also bring me down to earth. I come on set and I start off the bat letting them know that I am an honest person that appreciates brutal honesty, so they know to not treat me like I'm a princess. I don't want any of that. I want them to tell me if I'm being an A-hole. When I'm working with costumes, hair, and makeup, I want to know their opinions. I want it to be a collaborative effort because TV shows and movies cannot be done without a crew of extremely talented people, and I love talking to them. And having those normal conversations that have nothing to do with acting in between scenes really helps me.

Her latest role: In Avatar: The Way of Water, I play Tsireya, who's part of the Metkayina Clan, which is the new clan introduced in this film. They are products of their environment, and because they're surrounded by water, they have a slightly different build, which I'm excited for audiences to see because they can swim. And Tsireya is a strong freediver. She's similar to [Zoe Saldaña’s] Neytiri. And she's super kind, has a big heart, and bonds with the Sully kids very quickly. And there's some budding romance that happens as well that I'm excited for audiences to see.

What she’s streaming: I recently binged all of Game of Thrones in one month, which I would not recommend to anyone because it took me a week to recover. I watched [the prequel] House of the Dragon first actually, and then I started watching Game of Thrones simultaneously. I want to be a Targaryen so bad. I was obsessed with the dragons. It would be a dream to be part of House of the Dragon one day — or the Game of Thrones universe.

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