When Little Fires Everywhere premiered on Hulu, Lexi Underwood was one of the series’ most pleasant surprises. The talented teen stars opposite Kerry Washington in the show adapted from the best-selling book by Celeste Ng.
Regina King caught up with the 16-year-old for Interview Magazine and helped to uncover some pretty impressive facts about the actress.
Here are 5 things to know about Lexi Underwood:
She’s in awe of her costars.
Little Fires Everywhere is executive produced by Washington and Reese Witherspoon, who both star in the series. While some could be intimidated by those kinds of credentials, Underwood has been soaking up every bit of knowledge she can from her coworkers.
“They’re just two incredibly amazing human beings. I’m honestly just so grateful how they’ve just been so open and warm to not only me but all the kids. They’ve been there for us every step of the way, ever since we started the process. Miss Kerry’s like a second mom to me now. They’re both so incredibly sweet. I love them,” she said.
“Something that I absolutely adored about them was the fact that they weren’t just interested in making themselves look good. They wanted to make sure everybody else in the scene looked good, especially Miss Kerry. She’s just such a generous actor. She’s so giving in every scene that she does, no matter who she’s playing opposite. Working with them was an absolute dream.”
She doesn’t watch much TV.
Balancing school with her work as an actress, singer, and dancer doesn’t leave much time for TV.
“I don’t really watch TV, but I currently just finished High Fidelity, which was absolutely fantastic,” she said.
“And then I always find myself going back to watch A Different World reruns. I bought each and every single season of A Different World, so most of the time, if I’m watching TV then I’m watching A Different World.”
She wants to play Aaliyah.
“A dream role of mine that I’m currently talking to some people about—I’m trying to get an Aaliyah biopic made, but a proper one, and see if we can get the family’s permission and get all the rights to all the music,” she revealed.
“I watched a documentary that they have on Amazon about her, and I feel like just what is so inspiring about her is just the ambition that she had at such a young age, and at that time she was just a young black girl from Detroit. But she was number one during the ’90s, which was just so big for us as a people at that time. And she started off at the same exact age that I started off, fifteen.”
She’s a content creator.
The actress launched her own production company for her fifteenth birthday.
“So with that, I made my directorial debut. I had my own documentary that I filmed in D.C., which is where I’m from. It’s called ‘We, The Voices Of Gen Z’ and it was a roundtable discussion full of diverse Generation Z voices, and we were talking about important topics that were happening in America at the time and they’re still happening right now,” she said.
“And it was so cool because we had different voices and different perspectives and people clash. But at the end of the documentary, everybody came together to kind of create a solution to all the problems that we discussed. So I would love to do more things like that. Just more passion projects and more documentaries.”
She knows her roots.
Underwood is currently working on a documentary about this place called ‘The Square’ back in Gastonia, N.C., which is where her entire family is from.
“The Square was a little square that had all black-owned businesses from the ’40s to the ’70s. Maybe like a year ago, me and my cousins, we were sitting down with our family and they were just telling us how my great-grandfather was actually the neighborhood pharmacist for African-Americans there since they couldn’t go to any of the white pharmacists or the white doctors,” she said.
“Basically, people would come to our family house from the ’40s through the ’70s, and they would just come in the middle of the night, sick. And they would say, ‘Hey, I need medicine. I don’t have any money, but I have these collard greens.’ And my grandfather, he was such a kind and a warm person, so he would let them into our house and he would treat them until they were better. And they didn’t even have anything.”
The young star stressed the importance of community and looking out for one another.
“I feel like it’s super important to tell those stories and to kind of reminisce on the good days and hope that that sense of community and togetherness comes back around,” she said.