Even after star turns in the biopic Straight Outta Compton and coming-of-age story Love, Simon, Alexandra Shipp has been able to stay a little under the radar—a critical darling still able to say whatever she wants on social media. But now the actress, 27, is stepping onto a bigger stage, taking on the role of Storm (originally portrayed by Halle Berry) in the latest installment of the X-Men franchise, out early next year. Shipp knows there will be even more eyes watching her, but she’s committed to being completely unfiltered. Late last year Shipp fired back at critics who felt she was “too light-skinned” to have been cast: “This conversation about Storm is so stupid, I’m out…. If I lose my job to another actress, I hope it’s for her talent and grace, not her skin [color].” We asked Shipp to do one of the things she does best—speak her mind:
“I get pushback for things I say on social media, mostly on Twitter, but I hope to never censor the things that come out of my mouth. Male actors have always been able to be way more opinionated when it comes to politics. As actresses, we only get to do things like help the hungry children. Take Angelina Jolie. She’s political in her actions, but you don’t know her opinion on Trump. I think people should speak their truth. I don’t give a fuck. I’m me. I’m exactly who I want to be every single day. I know it might be my demise—I’ll check back in with you in a couple years and see how it’s working out—but I’m my own artist, and you can’t be a great artist without having a huge opinion.
“[I tweeted back] at people who criticized me for not having dark enough skin for my role in X-Men because we’re not going to have this conversation about a cartoon character. You’re not going to tell me that my skin color doesn’t match a Crayola from 1970. Growing up, when I was reading the comics, I pictured her looking like me. For any black girl, for there to be a black superhero, we picture them looking like us. So when I auditioned for the role, I wasn’t like, “Oh man, I’m not dark enough.” I was like, “Finally, this is my moment.” I’m not playing Harriet Tubman with a prosthetic nose and darkening my skin tone. I would never do that.
“The time is up for people in this industry being opinionless…. If I was sitting here giving you all the answers you wanted to hear, keeping my political [beliefs] to myself, I would be acting. And that would be a really boring interview.”
We bring you the trends. You make them your own. Sign up for our daily newsletter to find the best fashion for YOU.