Photos: Yasmeen Fletcher
Yasmeen Fletcher plays Ms. Marvel teen Nakia on Disney+, but it took an actual high schooler—her sister, Rosa—to hammer home the importance of small steps for the environment. “She’s like, Yasmeen, if you don’t wash out that container, it can’t be recycled. Yasmeen, if you don’t unplug your stuff, you waste so much energy. She’s the person who always reminds me about the little things that make a big difference.”
As Yasmeen prepares for her next big role in the indie teen feature The Graduates, she talks to Wild Elements about her time on a Marvel set, her refusal to mow the lawn, and how the humble platypus is secretly judging us all.
True or false: You are from the neon capital of the world?I am from Las Vegas! It’s true! I was born in Orange County, but I grew up in Vegas and lived there for 12 years. Now I live in Los Angeles, so I love all deserts, really.
And what is your Wild Element—fire, water, air, earth…Well, I’m a Pisces. I honestly didn’t know too much about being a water sign until my little sister started talking to me about it incessantly. And after listening to her, and finding out what the traits of a Pisces are—like, “Are you deeply emotional? Do you believe feelings are a true reflection of the self?”—I’m definitely a water sign. My element is definitely water!
You just wrapped Ms. Marvel. What kinds of sustainable actions happened on set?I was really impressed, actually. It was a big production, but the small details of sustainability were all there. The caterers were super-conscientious of the cutlery and cups—no plastic! All paper! It’s a little tricky with paper straws—we do use straws on set, because we want to be respectful of our makeup and not mess anything up between takes. But we made it work. They were also great about sending our scripts digitally, and not printing 100 copies of 100 Page scripts. They used digital call-sheets too, which are the memos about where and when actors are needed on-set. It was cool to see them being mindful about paper waste.
What kinds of swaps have you made in your own life?Well, my sister Rosa is only 16, but she’s already such a huge proponent of environmental rights. I really have to credit her with helping me implement changes in my life that help the planet. She’ll yell at me for not composting; she’ll educate our whole family about why we should do it… She also talked to us about how lawns are really wasteful and they’re not native to most people’s environments. She was like, “If we plant native flowers or moss here, it’s much better for the environment.” We’ve been trying to follow her lead, especially now that there’s a drought. It’s something we can meaningfully do to save water and help the land.
Do you have any favorite vegan foods?First of all, Impossible Burgers are better than normal burgers. They just are. I think they taste 10 times better, and they come without guilt on behalf of the planet, even though they taste so real. Like, the first time I ate one, I thought it was a mistake and I got served meat instead. And then, I also like buffalo cauliflower. I think it’s so good, instead of buffalo chicken wings.
Please tell us an animal fact.Do you know platypuses are venomous?
Wait, really?The male ones are! They have a hollow chute that fills with poison during mating season. So they’re walking around, all cute, and we have no idea how dangerous and badass they are. They must think we’re so clueless. I find that so funny.
At Wild Elements, our motto is “Let good grow wild.” What does that mean to you?It reminds me of wildflowers! They just naturally, organically come up. And I think if you can do that with kindness and let your light radiate that way, just easily and without being self-conscious about how radiant you can be, I love that. Just let your own kindness blossom. Is that cheesy?
No, it’s perfect.