Noelle Renee Bercy still can’t believe she’s in the MCU. She currently plays Evita on Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, which just wrapped up its first season and has been renewed for a second. Evita is Tyrone’s love interest, but she’s far from a passive damsel in distress, using her aunt’s connection to Voodoo to help Tyrone understand his powers. Back in the real world, Noelle is a New Orleans native proud to authentically portray her hometown onscreen – and happy to work at home and enjoy the perk of her mawmaw’s cooking. She shared her insights on Tyrone and Evita’s relationship, researching Voudon, and the need for representation behind as well as in front of the camera.
Cliché: What was your reaction to learning you’d be playing Evita? Were you excited to join the Marvel universe?
Noelle Renee Bercy: Initially, I had no idea that I was even auditioning for a Marvel project. It was labeled Untitled Freeform Pilot. Once I learned that it was it was Cloak & Dagger, I completely freaked! Correction, freaking* as in an ongoing situation. I still can’t believe I’m a part of the MCU. God is good.
You’re a New Orleans native. Cloak & Dagger is set in New Orleans. What’s it like being on a show that’s both set in and filming in your hometown?
As an actor you’re often taken away from your loved ones, being able to work on a project that shoots in the heart of my hometown was amazing. Being a New Orleanian, one of our biggest pet peeves is when shows come to town and they don’t hire any locals, they don’t have a diverse writers room, and our city, our culture, our people, our home ends up turning into this caricature on screen. I’m proud to be a part of a project that focuses on authenticity. And also, being home and eating my MawMaw Lucas’ food was clutch.
Evita’s aunt is a Voodoo Priestess. How much familiarity did you have with voodoo? What have you learned about it, if anything?
I grew up hearing stories but they were typically about several generations prior. Once I learned that Evita’s family practiced, I dove deep into it researching. I learned that Voudon started in Haiti and was the result of a combination of multiple religions practiced by the enslaved that originated in different west African countries. During the Haitian revolutions, many came to New Orleans bringing their voodoo culture with them.
What role does voodoo play in helping Tyrone better understand his powers?
I believe that voodoo is used as a guide to assist not only Tyrone, but Tandy as well to achieve their fullest potential.
Describe Evita and Tyrone’s relationship. There’s a romantic element there, but it also quickly evolves into something more complex.
Ty and Evita aren’t the typical superhero/damsel in distress boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Evita isn’t the one that needs saving. I think she’s a natural healer and recognizes that Ty is in need, and does everything she can to aid him.
The show focuses on the bond between Tyrone and Tandy, but would you argue that the dynamic between Evita and Tyrone is just as important? How so?
I think both relationships are crucial to the success of Ty’s well being and the saving of the world. Ty is very closed off and Evita is one of the few that he lets in. She pulls him out of his shell, and has proven to be trustworthy. Evita puts his best interest at heart at all times.
On Twitter, you pointed out just how much diversity Cloak & Dagger has both on and off screen. Why is it so important to you to work on diverse projects and why is representation on and behind the camera so crucial?
Representation is everything. Being able to see someone that looks like you accomplish their dreams makes you feel as though your dreams aren’t just dreams, but tangible and attainable goals. It is so important to me too that diversity isn’t only something we see on screen but behind the scenes as well. It all starts behind the scenes. Who is in “the room” is so essential to achieving adequate representation on screen.
Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger just got renewed for season 2! What are your hopes for Evita next season? And for Evita and Tyrone’s relationship?
Eeek!! I want to see Evita delve deeper into her spirituality, both Catholicism and Voudon. I want to learn more about her powers and her family. As far as Tyvita, I would love to see their trust grow even deeper. I want to see them work together to heal Ty from his loss, and heal the world of its troubles.
You’re a firm believer in “preparation proceeding blessings.” What does this mantra mean to you and how do you go about applying it to your daily life?
“Preparation precedes blessings” is something my MawMaw Bercy says on a regular. We have to prepare ourselves for the blessing we want to receive. If you aren’t ready for a blessing, once it comes it’ll either look like a curse or a missed opportunity. I am constantly working on myself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. to ensure that I am ready for whatever life brings. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.
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Noelle Renee Bercy Discusses “Cloak & Dagger” and Why Representation Behind the Scenes Matters. Photo Credit: Shots by Topnotch.