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Publications are saying “Dope” is one of the hottest films of Sundance. Congrats!

Thank you! I’m excited.

How did you feel as you stood in front of the audience at the premiere and the crowd was cheering?

Relieved. I had anxiety all day! We were waiting to see it and see how everyone felt so it was nice that everyone was happy with it.

What made you say yes to the script?

It’s very current but still has this throwback feel. The kids in the film really love the ’90s so there was the influence of that and I’m a ’90s baby.

Kiersey ClemonsKiersey ClemonsKiersey ClemonsKiersey Clemons

How did “Dope” push you as an actress?

It was definitely challenging because my character Diggy is completely opposite than me. [Laughs] She is such a tomboy. Also, I draw out my words. I’m from L.A. and my friends are all from the Valley so it influences how I speak. Diggy is the same way with her friends but she hangs out with guys so I had to talk to my roommate and have him read me my lines. I had to see how his gestures were because she’s more masculine than I am. It was pretty challenging, but it was really fun. I wasn’t scared to take it all in at all.

As a young 21-year-old actress who started on Disney Channel, are you finding the transition into new roles challenging as your career evolves?

I have been really blessed for it to be a really smooth transition. 2014 was a really great year. I got some really great jobs and I got to work with great people and great scripts. I got to choose what to do and what to read for. I can say yes or no. But some people are afraid to say no, but whatever, you gotta say no sometimes.

What are some of the unglamorous parts of making a great film?

It wasn’t glamorous at all for me because Diggy didn’t wear make-up and my hair takes like two seconds to do. The night shoots are really cold and everyone has snot running down their nose. On the outside it looks really glamorous but on the inside it’s just work.

Were you creative as a kid?

Yeah, I think so. I liked writing stories so my love for music and acting came from me loving to make things up. Before I could actually write I would just make up stories in my head and stand on my grandma’s kitchen chair and make everyone sit down in the living room and listen to me. I would just tell these stories about my day but they were things that didn’t really happen, like going for a ride on my dinosaur and stuff like that. [Laughs.]

Kiersey ClemonsKiersey ClemonsKiersey ClemonsKiersey Clemons

Do you see yourself going into screenwriting? Maybe coming back to Sundance with a role behind the camera?

I don’t know! I thought about that. Every time I think about it, it sounds really intimidating. It seems like a lot of responsibility. I like writers and directors that give me notes and guidance and then I like to help add on. But me writing the draft of something and being behind the camera telling other people what to do sounds really scary.

How would you describe the spirit of Sundance?

I think it’s just a lot more honest. I think the films are a lot more relatable and I like that they’re risky and as a risky actor that’s nice.

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

Who would have the best conversation? Probably someone like Charlie Sheen. Just because I’m sure he would have a lot to say and I like to talk so we would probably have a lot of things to talk about.

Set the scene. Where is this drink taking place?

It depends on if it’s up to me or if it’s up to Charlie. If it’s up to Charlie it would probably be at a bar. If it’s up to me it will probably be at a café. I’ll probably have tea, who knows what Charlie will be drinking. I can’t answer that question!

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