Awkwafina and Kelly Marie Tran on Disney life lessons and imposter syndrome

Zoe Shenton
·3 min read

From Cosmopolitan

Raya and the Last Dragon is the latest animated delight courtesy of Disney. Set in the fantasy world of Kumandra, it follows Raya on her journey of self-discovery as she's tasked with tracking down legendary dragon Sisu in order to destroy the evil Druun and restore the fractured land and unite its divided people. NBD.

Ahead of the film's release, Cosmopolitan UK caught up with the two leads - Kelly Marie Tran (Raya) and Awkwafina (Sisu) - via Zoom to talk about where they recorded their lines, Disney life lessons and imposter syndrome.

Due to much of the world being in lockdown for the past year, the actors had to record half of their voiceovers from their own homes. "They sent over a production tent because everything sounded very acoustic-y," Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, tells us. Clearly a huge fan of the tent, she laughs: "I was like I could build a life here. I could raise a family!"

Meanwhile, Kelly set up her makeshift studio at her boyfriend's house. "I was in my boyfriend’s bedroom and we built this fort and taped sound blankets to the wall," she reveals. "Sometimes we would just go in there and hang out."

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

When it comes to the film's underlying themes of unity and togetherness, Kelly said she's learned something from the characters, who also include Namaari (Gemma Chan) and Virana (Sandra Oh). "Even if you don’t believe there's a better world out there, I think taking a chance to fight for the hope of one is a worthy cause and something that’s really brave," Kelly muses. "You see a lot of our characters do that, and I want to take that with me and do more of that in my life."

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

The pair also opened up about a more vulnerable side of them that we don't always get to see when they're starring on the big screen or making red carpet appearances. "I think in life we’re always going to be our own worst critics," Awkwafina says. "Kelly and I have talked about having imposter syndrome and how it affects us to this day. I think it's normal to have certain insecurities in certain places, but you also have to know that you have to find the confidence somewhere too."

Agreeing, Kelly adds, "It’s sort of this balance of recognising your own insecurities and learning how to work through those things. One of the biggest parts of adjusting to working in this world is recognising those things don’t really go away - you’re just getting better at figuring out how to work around them or work with them."


Raya and the Last Dragon will be available to stream on Disney+ now

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