INTERVIEW: Avaah Blackwell Talks Being Part of the Starfleet on Star Trek: Discovery

Avaah Blackwell is both an actor and a stunt performer, known for her versatility and power on screen. She is lucky enough to be a part of one of our personal favorite series, Star Trek: Discovery. Read all about it below!

Hi Avaah, thank you for chatting with us! We are huge fans of Star Trek: Discovery. What can you tell us about the current season? What can you tell us about the Osnullus and what is it like playing one?

Hello and thank you for chatting with me! So great to hear you like the show and thank you for all of your love and support! Season three is airing on CBS All access in the States and Crave in Canada. You can catch season two on Netflix! This season is an incredible ride for all of the Starfleet crew aboard the Discovery! We are in the future fighting for everything we believe in and everything that StarFleet is about! 

So, we recently found out that Osnullus is in fact the name of the species and not just of my character– I have played a few of the Osnullus’s …er Osnulli? Haven’t clarified that one yet!– to be clear, Ensign Osnullus on the Bridge of the Discovery (ongoing and recurring), Captain Rahma at Federation Headquarters (S3 EP6  “Scavengers”, directed by Douglas Aarniokoski, and the Mercantile Osnullus in S3 EP1). It’s a joy to be able to play many aliens from the same race, I’m very grateful.

Do you remember your first day on the set and being around your co-stars? What was the feeling like for you knowing you would become a part of an iconic show?

My first day on set was an incredible experience. The first day on a big show coming in the middle of the season always feels a bit like joining a new school in the middle of the year, but being a military kid, I’m used to that. Just getting used to where everyone and everything was and how to navigate the prosthetics and scenes was a lot to take in, but everyone made it very smooth and they were very welcoming.

Doug Jones was one of the first cast members to come over and talk to me. He really made me feel right at home. He welcomed me to the set and asked me about my background in prosthetics and how I was liking everything, and of course gave me one of his famous Doug hugs at the end of the conversation. (this was before Covid obviously). His positive, welcoming and grounded energy really helped to bolster my confidence and made my day on set even more incredible. 

You are an actor and also a stunt performer. How did you get into becoming a stunt performer and what kind of training have you had? What has been your favorite experience doing stunts in your career so far?

Yes! I’m very grateful to be able to do both and have opportunities flourish in both performing categories. I had been cast and considered for many action-ish roles so decided that getting some extra training might not be a bad idea, I trained on and off for stunts from 2016 but got really serious about training early 2019 and had my first official stunt doubling gig on Jupiter’s Legacy that summer, which is slated to come out early 2021. My favorite experience doing stunts– that’s hard as I’ve had a lot of cool ones already, but I think the top will be coming out summer 2021, on a fun mystery sci-fi series. Hint, hint: It involves driving a 1925 Model T–which they trained me to do for this gig! 

What kind of advice would you give people who are interested in becoming a stunt performer?

Work hard, be nice, sell the hits, listen to your coordinators and focus. 

You have another series coming up on Netflix in 2021, Jupiter’s Legacy, based on a comic book series. Can you tell us anything about it, or what fans can look forward to?

It’s all very lock and key at the moment, but I’m really grateful to have had my first stunt doubling gig with such an excellent team. I learned so much from that experience, and am forever grateful. 

What is it like being a performer and actor in Toronto and what is the community like out there for people in the industry?

It’s growing! Toronto has always been a hub for both Canadian and international shows, but it’s even busier since the border/ industry reopening in Toronto. It’s competitive but focused and there are always people willing to help you out. I love you Toronto!!! 

Even though you are already pretty much a superhero in real life, we have to know– if you could choose one superpower to have, which one will it be and why?

Hahaha! Thank you, I’m just out here being me! Wow, that’s a big question, and honestly one I have given a lot of thought to. If I could have one super power, it would be the power to reveal the unbiased truth in any situation. At first, that may not sound very exciting – but in our day and age with so much false news, regurgitated opinions, misinformation, and a general lack of importance placed on the truth (especially prevalent in social media)– I think it keeps people trapped– in their minds, in their relationships with toxicity, in their unhappy jobs etc. etc. etc. Not knowing keeps us in a state of ambiguity and a vague state of fear. I know I’ve felt trapped by that before. When we know the truth, we have clarity, and clarity brings confidence, and ultimately happiness. We can take solid steps on solid ground. Regardless of how we feel about the truth, once it is revealed, it cannot be denied, and we can move forward from there. 

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