Legends of Tomorrow actress Ciara Renee is one of the most visible examples of a new trend of diversity and inclusion in film and television. We talked to her about it at DragonCon 2016 in a closed press conference.
Geek Prime: So you mentioned during your panel yesterday that your Hawkgirl is already a departure from the original Hawkgirl because of who they cast. Now with the recent conversations around diversity in Hollywood, how important is it to you that little girls see people like you on the screen?
Ciara Renee: It is the most important thing, and I think that was probably the biggest…the thing I stressed about the most was representing colored women [sic] in a positive light. I was always having that conversation with the writers, “do you think that this is the best thing for little girls who look like me to be seeing this character doing?” That was always my first question. I think that…obviously media only does so much. Your parents and the people you grow up with are important, too. But I think with superheroes especially, because they’re something that young people want to look up to, and they’re so fantastical that there needs to be an element of realism. Our world is so diverse, and the fact that we don’t see that kind of diversity reflected, I mean we’re beginning to, but those are just baby steps. We can really go way further with it. I think it’s so important for, especially little girls, to see that they can be powerful, they can be in control, they can be strong. They can be vulnerable, they can be all sorts of things and still be a superhero, still be something that is a really positive role model. Yeah, that is my number one concern in everything I do now, that I want little girls to see. I remember growing up watching Power Rangers, and there was an Asian girl and there was a white girl and there was no girl for me! And every time that we played, there was one girl in our neighborhood who was a white girl and she always got to be the Pink Ranger. And I was like [groans in despair]. But they were like, “no, the Pink Ranger is white, she has to be played by a white girl. That really is the mentality, so if we can allow the opportunity for more people that look like me, more little girls can say, “fine, I want to play Hawkgirl then! Screw the Pink Ranger!” [Renee laughs] So yeah, I think it’s very important.