‘Ms. Marvel’s’ Travina Springer: on a Mission to ‘Change The Narrative’ For Muslim •

Travina Springer shared with BGN throughout a video interview that she was silent when she heard that she was becoming a member of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe as Tyesha Hillman, the spouse of Aamir Khan, in Ms. Marvel. Springer recalled being “stunned, however not shocked” that she bought the position — she instantly felt a way of alignment between herself and Tyesha. For her, it was a well timed present from the multiverse. 

Ms. Marvel follows Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a 16-year-old Muslim Pakistani-American lady from Jersey Metropolis, New Jersey. She’s a loyal gamer, thriving scholar — and Captain Marvel’s largest fan. Nevertheless, she struggles to seek out her place in her household and college life. Issues get much more difficult when she will get superpowers. 

Abruptly, she experiences talents like a few of her largest heroes — and as many Marvel followers know, that’s a number of duty for a young person. Tyesha is the latest member of Kamala’s household and brings some main Black lady magic into the combo as Kamala’s soon-to-be sister-in-law.

Each Springer and Tyesha are Black girls who transformed to Islam, which made the position “really feel proper” for Springer. In some ways, she sees herself in Tyesha, which informs how she approaches the half as an actor.

First launched within the Ms. Marvel comics, Tyesha serves as a job mannequin for Kamala and can also be fairly the Black lady nerd. She loves video video games and doesn’t draw back from the chance to assist the younger hero when she wants it most. Springer explains, “I believed it was so magnificent and particular {that a} character like this even existed for me to audition for. It doesn’t occur typically sufficient — the place an actor will get an audition and feels instantly related to the character and the fabric.” 

The power for Black and Brown women and girls to be nerdy on tv is commonly restricted. Geeking out over various things herself, Springer sees inspecting “the spectrum and vary of Black lady nerdiness and nerdom” as particular and vital. 

Whereas Tyesha isn’t the principle character, her presence is enormously felt, particularly for Black Muslims in America which have by no means seen folks like them in a Marvel mission. This resonates with Springer as somebody who’s seen the erasure of Black Muslims in America — and even globally. She identified that most individuals hear the phrase Muslim and consider Arab folks. Nevertheless, Black Muslims make up a big inhabitants in america alone — however typically are disregarded of the equation.

Ms. Marvel presents what Springer calls, “an opportunity to alter the narrative.” The present introduces a dynamic vary of Muslim folks as heroes as a substitute of the widespread and racist development of casting them as terrorists. It’s about authentically creating and connecting Hillman’s fictional expertise with Springer’s lived expertise. With pleasure, she instructed BGN that she’s “honored to play a Muslim convert Black lady nerd within the MCU.” A part of such an impactful position consists of portraying Tyesha as somebody Kamala can look as much as. 

Within the comics, Tyesha and Kamala have a particular relationship that’s sisterly. This enabled Kamala to take some notes from Tyesha’s life as a “assured, confident, and unapologetic” Black Muslim girl who makes her personal selections. From her sturdy non secular religion to her fierce  love for her household, Springer believes it’s important for Kamala, “as a younger girl to see an older girl carry herself that manner.” 

Their on-screen relationship is crammed with potential, particularly in the case of the charisma of the Khan household.  Each within the present and the comics, household is a robust pressure. “It was actually pure for all of us to attach as a household. One other present from the universe is that Aamir, performed by Saagar Shaikh, who’s my fiance [in the show], is definitely a buddy of mine in actual life,” Springer stated. “So, he hit me up when the breakdown [of the show] got here out and was like, ‘are you studying for this?” The remaining is historical past from there, as Springer did certainly learn for the position after which get it.

She shares that she and Shaikh already had “chemistry” and “banter” that felt pure. In reality, when it got here to bonding with all the Khan household actors, Springer expressed that “it wasn’t pressured in any respect” and a “blessing” that all of them go alongside so effortlessly. 

Though Ms. Marvel has already introduced some trials and tribulations for the Khan household, it feels like they gained’t be a straightforward household to throw for a loop. Springer believes the present represents “the facility inside us to rise to the event when the time requires it.” Going from that, it feels like for Kamala and the household—there can be loads of action-filled calls to motion. Audiences can solely hold tight as they wait to see which glass ceiling their new on and off-screen heroes, Tyesha Hilman and Travina Springer can be shattering subsequent. 

New episodes of Ms. Marvel premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.

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