Category: Photoshoots

Actress Sofia Black-D’Elia on trying out comedy, mustaches, and the benefits of obscurity

Sofia Black-D’Elia says she first got into acting “by accident.” As a kid, she looked up to a group of older girls who were all enrolled in a commercial acting class, so she signed up, too. And it’s a good thing she did. Now 25, Black- D’Elia nabbed her first TV role on All My Children at 17 before getting cast as Tea, a semi-closeted gay teen on MTV’s American adaptation of the hit UK teen soap Skins. She followed that up with a scene-stealing part on Gossip Girl as Sage, a meddling teen who dates heartthrob Nate Archibald.

Most recently, the New Jersey native has taken on two similarly rebellious roles on two very different shows. In the first, HBO’s The Night Of, she played troubled femme fatale Andrea, whose murder in the pilot episode is the driving force behind the plot. And in the second, Fox’s The Mick, she plays Sabrina, a cigarette-smoking party girl who also serves on her high school’s honor board and occasionally has to co-parent her younger siblings with her messy boozehound aunt (the titular Mick — or Mickey — played by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson) after her parents go on the lam to avoid criminal charges.

Viewers of The Mick might be genuinely surprised to learn it’s the first time Black-D’Elia is flexing her slapstick skills. She credits Olson’s “maternal” nature as being critical to Black-D’Elia feeling comfortable in comedy. “Kaitlin is a safety net,” she says. “I feel really lucky because I can’t imagine doing comedy for the first time without that, and it really has been one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had.”

Like Sabrina, Black-D’Elia is outspoken, especially on matters of justice, and she “compulsively” shares her thoughts about politics on social media. “It feels frivolous and insincere to post things on social media every day and not acknowledge what’s going on in the world,” she says. Her commanding screen presence paired with her social responsibility has us wondering not if, but when, she will break into the mainstream as Hollywood’s latest answer to the woke starlet. But for now, Black-D’Elia is plenty pleased with the “privilege” of “obscurity.” Enjoy it while it lasts, Sofia — something tells us you won’t be part of the fringe for long.

The Mick is your first comedy but you seem like a natural, particularly in this role.

That’s very kind of you to say. I wanted to do this show: A) because Kaitlin has been an idol of mine for a decade; B) because the script was the funniest thing I read all year; and C) because I thought if I’m going to do this for the first time, I’m probably gonna screw up a lot, and I really want to screw up around people that I feel safe with. Kaitlin just is a safety net. Every day she reassures the entire cast, “I’m never going to let you go home feeling like you didn’t do a great job at work. I will be here for you and I will help you through it.” So I feel really lucky because I can’t imagine doing comedy for the first time without that, and it really has been one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had.

Does Kaitlin ever give you any advice?

All the time. She’s given me advice on, like, how to be a woman in the workplace and how to assert yourself without the fear of being a bitch and how to take control over you own career, things that I really couldn’t learn from anybody. I feel very grateful for her. She is obviously one of our greatest comedic actresses but she’s also a really beautiful human being and I adore her.

I want to talk about your Funny Or Die video, which I loved. How did that come about?

The lovely folk over at Funny Or Die are fans of The Mick and The Night Of and said, “Would you want to come by or have a brainstorm about something you might want to do with us?” And I said I’d love that because I love those guys and I love the platform they give people. So we were talking about if I had any ideas that might be able to turn into sketches or that kind of thing, and I said I’ve been collecting on my laptop a list of copy and pasted character descriptions from scripts I’ve read over the years that I just couldn’t believe a guy actually wrote. They had been working on something very similar, so we combined the two ideas into this short film about these guys that think they’re really doing a service to women and really believe they’re writing them very well. It was my first time ever getting to wear a wig and mustache — and now I know why guys grow mustaches, because you could just play with it all the time. So that ended up being my favorite part of the day.

When you look for roles, are you specifically searching for multi-dimensional female characters?

Ideally, yes, but I’m not really in a position yet to handpick what I do. I still have to work when I’m fortunate enough to be given the chance to do so. I think in the future, if I I’m in a position where I can be really picky, I will definitely be more selective about what I do. I’ve been lucky recently in The Mick and The Night Of where those are two women that are fully formed people and they’re really interesting and different from anything I’ve played, so I’ve been really lucky. It’s something you’re always cognizant of and think you wish you didn’t have to be at all. But sadly you do.

You’ve said, “I like playing doomed girls.” You do almost seem to get typecast as the badass chick, which in terms of being pigeonholed, it could be much worse.

Again, I feel like I’m still so at the beginning of this whole thing. I’m lucky in that I can create a character that I think is right for a story and if it’s good enough they’ll go, “Okay you can play with us and do this.” I don’t think that I’m expected to bring that to the table yet. I do find that I’m naturally attracted to female characters like that, but mostly I think I just relate to them easier than the girl that’s got it all going on or something like that. So I think at this point it’s just, like, what do I relate to and what can I connect to and then build a character out of that.

What are your interests outside of acting?

I find that my interests are very boring. I cook Blue Apron with my boyfriend. We’re really into World War II docs. Right now, we’re reading Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. We’re in a very dark headspace and I think that my typical fun hobbies have been kind of pushed to the side momentarily.

You are pretty vocal about politics on social media. Do you feel you have a duty to use your voice?

I don’t know that I have that big of a platform, so I don’t necessarily feel like I have a duty to be speaking to any group of people. I don’t think anyone’s following me that I have an influence over, for me it’s more of a compulsion. I think it’s the number one thing I think about, the number one thing a lot of other people think about, so it feels frivolous and insincere to post things on social media every day and not acknowledge what’s going on in the world. I’ve never spoken out or been quote-unquote political for the sake of a duty or obligation or anything like that. It’s honestly just because I cannot help myself from being honest. And that’s not to say I don’t understand actresses and other celebrities that don’t use the platform for that, because I think it’s a choice. But for me, because I am obscure, I think it’s more of a privilege I can do that and no one really cares. I just have to block a few people every now and then, but it’s not making a splash.

Anything else you want to get off your chest today?

I would just say that the protests are working and the energy that everybody in my generation has been bringing this year is inspiring and moving and I don’t want anybody to get lazy. So keep calling your reps if you can and don’t be discouraged by the fact that there’s one snowball after the next right now, because I think this is a battle that can be won.

SOURCE PAPER MAG

Sofia Black-D’Elia wants you to stop bashing New Jersey

After spilling some details on her new show, “The Mick,” the star defended her hometown.

For a variety of millennial-aged binge-watchers, Sofia Black-D’Elia’s face isn’t exactly “new.” You’ve seen her on Gossip Girl as the bratty teen daughter of Serena’s older boyfriend. In Project Almanac, she’s playing around with time travel. Then she hopped in a cab on The Night Of, did drugs with the driver, and, well…things ended up pretty badly for all parties involved. Yes, Sofia Black-D’Elia’s face is definitely one you’ve seen before.

But now it’s time to get to know her, know her, put a name to that face, and learn more about that Jersey girl who’s trying her hand at comedy—and totally succeeding. Sofia’s new show, The Mick (which also stars It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson), was just renewed for season two. So before this gal hits superstardom, here’s what she has to say about life, laughs, and, of course, her hometown.

On working with Kaitlin Olson:

“I was a huge fan. I had never done comedy before, so I was mostly concerned with keeping up with her and not letting my inexperience show. I definitely felt a connection to her. It felt easy and fun right off the bat. We like each other as people, which I think helps a lot in comedy, because we trust each other. And she’s taught me so much already. It’s been such a joy.”

What it’s like doing a comedy:

“It’s about trusting your gut, and not being afraid to be an idiot and fall flat on your face. We talk about this a lot on our show—you don’t want to be the actor who knows they’re in a comedy. I try to take things as seriously as Sabrina would in the moment and let somebody else decide if it’s funny or not.”

On playing “bitchy” characters:

“I think what makes Sabrina so terrible is that she doesn’t think she’s a bitch at all. She thinks she’s doing everybody a favor, and that’s hilarious to me. I know girls like that, who will tell you something awful about yourself and feel like they’re being martyrs. You should know your hair looks terrible like that, or you should understand it’s embarrassing that you’re unfamiliar with this topic of conversation. Now you’ll go home and learn about it, and I gave that gift to you.”

How she feels when people bash New Jersey:

“I think they’ve never been there. They start talking about [New Jersey] and you’re like, ‘So, where [in Jersey] have you been?’ and they’re like, ‘Oh no, I never actually go there.’ And you’re like, ‘Then shut the fuck up.’ That’s my reaction—shut the fuck up. Some of the best restaurants on the East Coast are in Jersey, because that’s where immigrants moved when New York was too expensive. So if you want to know what real America looks like, go to northern New Jersey and hang out with, like, a million different cultures. It was such an amazing childhood, and people should stop knocking it.”

If she’d describe herself as awkward:

“It’s weird when anybody says they’re awkward because really awkward people don’t want to talk about it. Some actresses are like, ‘I’m so real, I’m just like you, I’m so awkward and weird.’ It’s like, ‘No, you’re beautiful and rich and you’re doing fine.’ I’m also not saying I’m beautiful and rich [laughs], but I’m just not as put-together as some of those characters are. I’m insecure and vulnerable and shit gets to me, and Sabrina is tough as nails. That is not like me at all.”

On her belief in the paranormal:

“I’ve experienced paranormal activity. When Ginny [Gardner] and I were in a hotel [for Project Almanac], there were things—noises and things—happening that were absolutely terrifying. And anybody who thinks it wasn’t real, that doesn’t think that stuff exists, it just hasn’t happened to you yet.”

After hearing about Riz Ahmed’s crazy sex scenes on Girls:

“I hope that’s what he becomes known for. Not a great actor—just hire him for weird sex scenes [laughs]. He’s so talented. That’s another guy who’s been at it for forever and putting in great work for years. Now people finally know who he is, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been doing it this whole time.’ I think when you love what you do and you care about it very much, that kind of stuff always happens. He deserves it.”

SOURCE THE COVETEUR

Winter TCA Tour – Photos

Sofia attended the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at Langham Hotel on January 11, 2017 in Pasadena. I have added 27 photos from this event to the gallery + 4 new portraits.

GALLERY LINKS
Public Appearances > 2017 > Winter TCA Tour (January 11, 2017)
Photoshoots > 2017 > Session #001