To say that this Gen-Z power player is taking the entertainment industry by storm is not only a clever pun, but the truth to say the least. The 19-year-old launched a bathing suit collection with PacSun. She has been featured in project after project consistently from her role as Gia in Euphoria to her latest appearance in HBO Max’s record-breaking series The Last of Us, and she’s a full-time sophomore at the University of Southern California. Damn, what can’t Storm Reid do?
The Georgia peach recently took her talents to another big screen feature alongside The Best Man: Final Chapters star Nia Long and Never Have I Ever breakout star Megan Suri for mystery-drama-thriller hybrid Missing. Starring as June, Reid’s character uses her wits and Generation Z intuition to track down her missing mother after an international trip to Colombia gone wrong.
Storm Reid and Megan Suri in 'Missing.'Photo Credit: Temma Hankin
When her mom (Long) goes off the grid, June uncovers some dark secrets about her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and life as she knows it begins to unravel as she scours the internet with every site, app, and bugged camera possible to find her mother.
During a conversation with xoNecole, Reid got candid about working with the icon that is Nia Long for the Screen Gems-produced film, morning mantras and routines that keep her headspace sane while taking on multiple roles, and how she sets boundaries while she goes through adulting in the public eye.
xoNecole: How did June differ from any other character that you've ever played and how did it challenge you as an actress?
Storm Reid: I think June is really relatable, actually. She's just, at the end of the day, a young girl trying to figure out who she wants to be and how she wants to take up space in the world. Obviously, her given circumstances are way different from any of the characters that I've played. I love that June jumped right into action. And even though her and her mom butt heads and disagree, she will do anything that she can to find her mom. I think that's really important and something that I can relate to.
xoN: How would you say that this film highlighted the brilliance and innovation of Generation Z?
SR: I think that's what makes the movie work. That's what makes the movie so cool, relatable, and fresh because we do live in a social media era. To see this exciting movie with all of the technologies and social media platforms that we already use is really fun. To have an 18-year-old girl at the center of that story is a lot of fun, too, so I hope people enjoy it.
xoN: What was your experience like working with the icon that is Nia Long?
SR: Yes, like you said, she's an icon. I have grown up watching her so to be able to work with somebody that you've grown up looking at and admiring is really cool. She just is so lovely and she was so supportive of me on set and poured into me and really made me feel comfortable. I'm glad to have worked with her.
xoN: Another thing that I thought that was very interesting about the movie was that it was essentially shot in one setting. How challenging was it to shoot a movie that was all in one place, as opposed to projects you've done where you've been in scenes that were all over?
SR: It was a little uncomfortable because, like you said, I'm used to being in different places and having scene partners and not being confined to a screen in a little box. I think those challenges made me stronger as an actress and made me realize that I need to stop relying on the resources given to me. That being location, stage directions, scene partners, and even cameras. [Without that] you have to dig deep and bet on yourself and find the intersection of trying to be as grounded as possible but also portraying the emotional stakes. Thankfully, I think I was able to pull it off.
"I'm used to being in different places and having scene partners and not being confined to a screen in a little box. I think those challenges made me stronger as an actress and made me realize that I need to stop relying on the resources given to me."
Storm Reid and Nia Long attend the Stage 6 and Screen Gems world premiere of 'Missing.'
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
xoN: You've been in a lot of projects, but this movie is more of a suspense-thriller. How did you mentally prepare yourself and keep yourself in a good headspace while filming?
SR: It wasn't that hard. I think once I got the hang of the technical aspects, everything else came together and I just tried to step into my character's shoes and become them and not forget, like I said, their given circumstances, but also not neglect how I would feel in that situation. I'm glad that that was able to all come together and I was able to pull it off as seamlessly as possible.
xoN: 'Missing' really hones in on a relationship between mother and daughter. When it comes to you and your mother, how much does your relationship with her pour into you and put you into a positive headspace when it comes to the craziness of the entertainment industry?
SR: To be able to have my mom by my side is such a blessing. Even though I am growing up, I still love to have her around because she protects me, she's super supportive and she's mom. Anytime I'm feeling any type of way, I can go to her and we're going to figure it out. To be able to be on this journey with her is a really incredible experience and we've made beautiful memories and we'll continue to do so. I'm glad to have her around.
xoN: What’re some of the most important things your mom has ever taught you?
SR: She's taught me a lot, but being a good person has always been at the core of everything that she's taught us. Everybody has their bad days, but if you are trying to be a good person, have a good heart, and show up the best way you can in every situation, I think that's going to get people really, really far.
xoN: How do you continue balancing life as a full-time student and a full-time actress? Do you ever feel like you're not pouring yourself 100% into one or the other, or do you feel like you've established a balance?
SR: It is challenging and can be overwhelming, but I just try to give myself grace because I am doing a lot. I feel like I'm getting things done, giving 100% to both things, and I just have to remind myself that I'm trying the best that I can. I'm taking it one day at a time and I'm so blessed, and fortunate that I even have the opportunity to balance both a full-time career and going to school.
"I just have to remind myself that I'm trying the best that I can. I'm taking it one day at a time, and I'm so blessed and fortunate that I even have the opportunity to balance both a full-time career and going to school."
Storm Reid attends the Los Angeles premiere of HBO's 'The Last of Us.'
xoN: When you're off set, what are some ways that you like to stay mentally sane and what are some of Storm's self-care tools?
SR: I like being by myself. I love isolating myself to just take a moment to myself, whether that's in my room [or] listening to music in my car. Being with my friends and family obviously makes me so happy. I listen to a lot of music. I think self-care, for me, is intersected directly with listening to music. No matter what type of music, I need some noise. I need something to uplift my spirit [and] get me moving.
xoN: What does a morning routine look like for you and what are some of the mantras that you say to yourself to get yourself in a positive headspace?
SR: I try to start every day before I touch my phone and when I wake up, just say a prayer. Just to thank God that I'm alive and I'm able to breathe, move, get out of bed, and do whatever I need to do. It usually involves some turn-up music in the mornings, [which] is what I love to do and it's a great way to get my day started.
xoN: Speaking again about the many roles you’ve had, let’s talk about intentionality. How do you know when you're aligned with a role or a project? What do you look for when you're selecting what you want to do?
SR: I try to be as intentional as possible and purposeful as possible with my projects, but I think it has to align with my morals and my values and my art can't compromise who I am as a person, one. Two, I think as creative people we have the opportunity to say things and it doesn't need to be a preachy way, but if we're not saying anything, we're doing ourselves a disservice and doing audiences a disservice as well. I want art, or at least the art that I'm a part of, to be reflective of the real world, real situations, real stories, and that's what I really look for and will continue to look for.
"I want art, or at least the art that I'm a part of, to be reflective of the real world, real situations, real stories, and that's what I really look for and will continue to look for."
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
xoN: Is there any role that you haven't played yet that you have your eye on and want to explore?
SR: I'd love to do an action film one day. I think that would be really fun and maybe even try my hand at comedy. I think people are so used to seeing me serious and distraught and stressed out, like everybody else says. I think being able to be a part of a comedy one day would be really fun.
xoN: Have you ever said “no” to a role, and what made you want to set that boundary and pass on the role?
SR: Absolutely. I say no to things all the time because it just doesn't match up with the things that I want to do at the time. The creative team can be fantastic, but it doesn't match with the next role that I'm trying to play, or the script just didn't really move me in any way. I need to be impacted. If I'm not impacted, I don't feel like the audience is going to be impacted and then I just feel like it's going to be not good [or] not believable; it won't feel good. It's a case-by-case scenario.
xoN: What boundaries have you worked hard to set in place while growing up in the public eye as a young Black girl in entertainment? Whether it comes to roles, the privacy of your own life, or letting people in on social media, what boundaries have you said, "This is my limit" to?
SR: I think the privacy thing is a big one for me because I do share a lot, but I don't share everything. I am a firm believer of keeping some things private and keeping some things close to your chest and close to your heart. I think as long as people understand, yes, I'm here to share my life and share my family, my friends, my experiences, my travels, and obviously, the things that I work on, but I'm not going to share everything and I'm not perfect.
I'm perfectly imperfect. I'm not always going to say the right thing. I'm not always going to do the right thing, but it's important that people give me grace because other people get grace. So why can't people in entertainment or people in the limelight get that same grace?
Check out Storm in Missing, out in theaters now.
Featured image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
When Megan Thee Stallion dropped “Hiss,” a shift happened. From the audacious lyrics to the striking visuals, there was no doubt that the song and video would go viral. The opening of the video shows the H-town hottie rocking a barely there Shibari red dress, showing off her voluptuous frame. It was a sexy moment created by Timeekah Murphy of Alani Taylor. The designer exclusively tells us how the opportunity came about and what it was like seeing her design on Megan for the first time.
xoNecole: How did the opportunity to create such an iconic look for Megan Thee Stallion's "Hiss" video come about?
Timeekah Murphy: The opportunity came from a DM from celebrity stylist Zerina Akers. She asked for a unique Shibari piece for Megan, and I needed to get it done in two days. So, of course, I did everything in my power to make it happen. I've always wanted to design for Megan, so this was an awesome opportunity for me.
xoN: What was that initial feeling of seeing the dress on her for the first time?
TM: I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
xoN: Did you meet her? If so, how was that moment?
TM: I didn't meet Megan during the shoot, but during my time in LA, I got the opportunity to meet her at LA Pride with Tiffany Haddish, Common, and EJ King (stylist). Megan is such an amazing person, so it made it even better to know that my designs were going to be worn by her. I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
"I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her."
xoN: Walk us through the creation of the dress. How did you come up with the look, and how long did it take to make it?
TM: I was the co-designer for a brand called Deviant in 2018-2020, and we used to make custom Shibari pieces. That's how Zerina knew me. So I'm very familiar with making these types of pieces. We made plenty for Beyoncé, Cardi B, Tiffany Haddish, Tyra Banks, and so many others. So Zerina knew exactly what she wanted.
To get it done, it took me a day and a half. It's very intricate and time-consuming, so I spent about six hours making it then I sent an image of it to Zerina, and she didn't approve the first one, so I had to start from scratch again after getting my guidance and understanding of what was needed. The next day, I went to The Lab and created another version, and she approved it. I had to get it shipped overnight so that she would get it in time and fast forward to seeing it on the big screen.
xoN: What's next for you?
TM: Everything. The sky is not my limit, so the Alani Taylor brand is expanding into so many different avenues. We are getting involved in the community more, offering sewing classes to the youth. I've opened up a store for my brand in Atlanta and now preparing for fall/winter Fashion Week.
Megan Thee Stallion "Hiss" video/ YouTube
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Whoever coined the phrase, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” certainly was not referring to the state of our dating scene. Whether online or in real life, you don't have to go far to hear the grievances of singles calling for the immediate repair of all leaks, cracks, and fractures in the dating pool.
No matter the state you live in, your age, how much you earn for a living, or if you’re a chronic app dater, there’s a general consensus that something (anything) must be done to restore the hope of singles looking for long-term, fulfilling relationships. And as many of us hold on to the hope for an unexpected cross-encounter with our next love story, others are leaning on the side of giving up completely. But before throwing in the towel, it might be time to make a few adjustments.
Dating Apps Are In Their Flop Era, Making Connections IRL Is Where It's At
Alistair Berg/Getty Images
Many singles agree that spending their leisure time swiping through dating apps is out. What’s in is stepping out of one's comfort zone to make connections in the real world. Scary. We know. But unless you were one of the lucky few to find love on dating apps before its flop era or made a love connection from home during the pandemic, going about your dating life the same way is bound to render the same results: being single with a headache. And we want better for you.
It’s safe to say that constantly meeting strangers off the internet for a chance to find love has lost its charm, leaving singles open to the train, farmer’s market, the gym, or a friend’s house party to be prime real estate for matching up with potential partners.
This shift, as Marissa Nelson, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and BLK’s Relationship and Intimacy Expert tells xoNecole, is due in part to a growing concern about the authenticity of online profiles — in other words: is what you’re seeing, in fact, what you’re getting? “From their profile picture, what they say they do, the height they say they are; it’s this fear of, ‘Am I really talking to who I think I'm speaking to?'” she explains.
On our journey to finding “the one” out in the real world, a common question is, “Where do you find the available singles?” The short answer is, everywhere. The long answer is at the grocery store, on a plane, during happy hours, at work, at a conference, on a solo vacation, or, as Nelson puts it, anywhere you are showing up as your most open and vulnerable self.
“You never know where the connection is going to come from, which is why it's even more important to be receptive, to stay open, be curious, and lean into your vulnerability,” she says. In fact, Nelson encourages singles to release themselves of the rigidity around finding the perfect person at the “perfect” place, because, in essence, there isn’t one. “We have to let go of the constraints that we can only go to singles events to meet people,” she says. “We have to be open to however love shows up.”
"We have to let go of the constraints that we can only go to singles events to meet people. We have to be open to however love shows up."
We all can relate to the fact that the idea of shooting our shot in real life is a lot more exciting than the actual act. The relationship expert explains that one of the greatest hesitations to us putting ourselves out there and taking a chance on love is rooted in the fear of rejection. However, it’s important to keep in mind that “we’ve all been hurt” and most importantly, “we’re all afraid of rejection.”
That’s why Nelson suggests the following strategies to make the first move and find love in your everyday life.
1. Don't close yourself off.
“When you relax your expectations, you start to meet really cool people. Some of those cool people became friends and that makes your life richer because now, you have new friends and great people to hang out with. Even if it wasn't a love match, it can become a significant or meaningful friendship.”
2. Don't let your "type" hold you back.
“We all have a type. And a lot of women will say, ‘I like them tall. I like them like this or that.’ When we’re rigid about who we believe we ought to be with versus being open to people who might be more aligned with our values, we close ourselves off. Sure, you're not going to date somebody that you are absolutely not attracted to. But people have a lot of unwritten rules around who they will allow themselves to get to know, and I challenge people to challenge their rules because that can hold you back from expansive experiences.”
3. Make the first move.
“I think that if we can be bold, be brave, and if there's somebody that's good-looking, catches your eye, or just seems like they have a good vibe, we can approach them with curiosity. Ask them how they're doing. Introduce yourself. It doesn't have to lead to all these things; you can just have chemistry and flow from there.”
4. Ask better questions.
“When you meet someone for the first time, asking them ‘What do you do?’ is not the best first question because that only tells you what they do for money, not necessarily what they're passionate about. To get insight into who that person truly is, ask: What are you passionate about in your life right now? What lights you up? What excites you? What are you working towards?”
5. Shift your mindset.
“We've all been hurt. And we can be guarded because we don't want to get hurt again. The brain is a very complex and brilliant system designed to keep us safe, and emotional survival is a real thing. We become super protective, and in that, we come up with a lot of different rules, paradigms, [and] belief systems. The biggest mindset shift is: how can we do our own work to know and believe that we are worthy and deserving of love.”
Whether you’re on a dating app or roaming your local Trader Joe’s, love is everywhere — and the abundance of love is available to us once we remove limiting beliefs that make it feel scarce and out of reach. Vulnerability, shedding our walls, and openness just might be the tweaks we need to snitch up the dating streets and watch it heal for the better.
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Featured image by LeoPatrizi/Getty Images