Wrinkle in Time Star Storm Reid Will Never Forget Her “Surprise” First Meeting with Oprah
Not too long ago, the 14-year-old was “fangirling” over her favorite actresses; now she’s chilling at Oprah’s house and tweeting with Zendaya.
Storm Reid, the 14-year-old kid starring in the $100 million Disney movie A Wrinkle in Time, has watched her life snap into a surreal dimension. She’s spent the last year, give or take, pretending to tesser across the universe, whisked from one green screen to the next and from sets in California to the bounteous plains of New Zealand. But the most unbelievable part of the gig might actually be her behind-the-scenes experience—like the time her director, Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay, popped in during rehearsal to show her to a door. Behind that door was Oprah Winfrey—who paused her glam squad for the sake of the young actress, then did what everyone wants Oprah to do for them—she sang out her name (“Stoooorm!”), and told the young actress she was proud of her.
“I was freaking out inside,” Reid recalls. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, Miss Oprah knows my name!’”
Everyone is “Miss” to Reid. She’s a California transplant by way of the South, raised on a healthy diet of “ma’ams” and “sirs.” Her co-stars are Miss Oprah, Miss Reese Witherspoon, and Miss Mindy Kaling (who play the mystical Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who, respectively). Miss Oprah “loves it,” Reid notes. Sure, she was a little starstruck when she started working with them, but eventually they became a little film family. “They are just regular people and they act like that,” Reid says. “They have love and passion for what they’re doing, but their fame doesn’t get in the way.”
It’s a good lesson for the young actress—especially one at the center of a $100 million Disney tentpole. This Friday, moviegoers will see Reid play Meg Murry in DuVernay’s flashy and inclusive adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time (which, despite years of hype, has received uneven reviews). In the book, all the characters are white; the film, re-adjusted under DuVernay’s gaze, is a splendorous prism of diversity. Reid’s Meg is bi-racial, born to a black mother (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and a white father (Chris Pine). Her hair is a gorgeous thatch of curls, which Meg seems ashamed of at first until she gets some encouragement from her friend Calvin (Levi Miller). It’s the DuVernay touch at work, a sleeper message of self-love aimed at all the little black girls in the audience who have constantly been told by society that their hair isn’t pretty, Reid says.
“I knew that it meant a lot to Miss Ava,” Reid says. “That was really empowering.”
Reid plays Meg as quiet and insecure, a true loner wrapped up in angst. But as the journey starts to open up, so does she. The actress, whose Instagram bio declares that she’s a “future filmmaker,” has been in the business for about a decade now, making her feature-film debut in the 2013 best-picture winner 12 Years a Slave.Wrinkle is undoubtedly the biggest movie she’s ever starred in, so big that Beyoncé,Jay-Z, and Blue Ivy attended the Los Angeles premiere, skipping the red carpet in favor of a strategic Boomerang post in front of the film’s poster. Reid didn’t get a chance to meet the trio—even after she notched a small part in the DuVernay-directed Jay-Z video “Family Feud.”
“I wish! I would have posted that on my Instagram, definitely,” she says. “But I’m glad that they brought Blue Ivy to get the message and inspire her. Hopefully I’ll meet them one day.”
Life has provided plenty of other unbelievable moments amid the Wrinkle press tour. Reid watched the finished film for the first time at Winfrey’s place. “I was just really excited to be at Miss Oprah’s house,” she says. (Reid got a juicer from Winfrey, and yes, she still has it, and yes, it is “so cool and so healthy!”) She’s also gotten closer to Zendaya, a Disney alum whose 2010 show, Shake It Up, was a formative part of Reid’s childhood—which is especially unbelievable to Reid because the first time she spotted the actress and singer in a Los Angeles Ben and Jerry’s, long before Wrinkle, she was “fangirling,” Reid says. “I literally froze for a good two minutes and just stared at her. And then I finally asked her for a picture.”
As Wrinkle hits theaters around the world, Reid is poised to become the kind of star that other kids fangirl over in ice cream shops, rocky road dripping as they tug their moms and whisper, “That’s her!” The actress has already seen girls dressed up in Meg Murry cosplay, which deeply “warms my heart,” she says. “It’s the cutest thing.” But for the time being, she’s still a kid herself—still relishing pockets of free time, still plotting a trip to Disneyland to ride Space Mountain with her friends. (One imagines Disney could help out with that.) And then she’ll get back to work, tessering off to the next adventure.