WHITE PLAINS, Md. – Charles County resident Naysa Young remembers watching theatrical productions in middle school with stars in her eyes and a dream in her heart. Something about the way that the elaborate sets, blocking, makeup, and costumes all came together enthralled her.
Her only deterrent from pursuing her aspirations – she was (and continues to be) a self-described shy introvert.
However, one fateful day during her 8th-grade year, she summoned the courage to audition for her school’s production of Dorothy in Wonderland and was cast in her first role ever as a Cheshire cat.
During high school, Young primarily focused on her school work and achieved an impressive 4.16 GPA as a reward for her hard work.
“I’ll be honest. I don’t like to fail,” Young told TheBayNet.com regarding her work ethic. There was a smattering of acting endeavors, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2019, when she was 16, that her career really began to flourish.
To help Young find a way to fill her time during that summer, her mother, Joy Clark-Young, searched on Backstage.com for any auditions in the DMV where her daughter could audition. Her search proved fruitful and landed Young an audition for a DMV-produced independent film entitled Bundles.
On the day of her audition, Young was fortuitously cast on the spot as Victoria by director Jeffrey Leslie. She shared that being the only minor on set brought several unique challenges to her experience.
Being surrounded by experienced actors was at first intimidating, but the entire cast and crew quickly welcomed her in with open arms and kind words. Due to her age, her mother accompanied her to every filming session and continues to serve as the person Young credits with most of her success.
Bundles tells the unorthodox tale of a group of high school girls who begin their journey wanting to exact revenge on a rival, but they soon find themselves caught up in a crime ring involving cutting the hair off of unsuspecting women to sell their hair to other women.
It’s a coming-of-age film that displays how deeply friendship can run. The movie showcases the diversity of the DMV while exploring the extent that people will go for each other.
Young’s favorite part of the film was the diversity of the aesthetic of the characters and their costumes. The costumes used during the various montages in the movie were effortlessly fun, and seeing what she got to wear each day was an endless source of excitement.
However, her least favorite part was the weird call times required for certain scenes. During their final day of filming, around 2 a.m., the entire company was held at gunpoint in D.C. Thankfully, the perpetrator didn’t take anything, and no one was physically injured.
However, this was terrifying for Young to experience at 16 years old. She shared that she’s been diagnosed with PTSD from the event.
From the horrifying experience, she learned how to ground herself more efficiently during stressful situations. Her dad reassured her that she survived the situation because she did everything right in that scenario. “God was with us all throughout it,” shared her mother.
Even though Naysa Young was sixteen when the movie was filmed, it wasn’t until November 15, 2022, that the film was released on the BET HER app. She is now 19 years old and works as a Pre-K teaching assistant at a local early education center.
Young shared “My goal for acting is for it to become my main career. I don’t want it to feel like work. I want it to feel like a hobby that I happen to get paid for. I like the behind-the-scenes work too – what it takes to make a film. There’s so much that goes into making a film beyond just what you see. I hope to make my own films someday and see my vision come true. ” She was able to help the hair and makeup artist Keke Hill of Bundles with some of the FX makeup required for the movie.
Currently, she has chosen to take a gap year from school to acclimate back to the world post-pandemic. She hopes to attend either Howard University or Towson University for their respective film studies programs after she completes community college in the next few years. In the meantime, she continues to search for more acting opportunities in the DMV.
Young finished with this statement – “Acting is something I truly love. I love getting to see a film come together. I would love to be at the Oscars for something that I was a part of someday. I am introverted, and acting helps me to better myself and get out there. The best thing you can do as a Southern Maryland actor is to just audition until you get something. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Bundles can currently be rented on Amazon and other streaming platforms.
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