Diamond White Sees Herself in the Series
Feb 7, 2023
Marvel’s newest animated series Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur follows the adventures of Lunella Lafayette, a 13-year-old super genius who uses her incredible smarts to make things better for her family and friends living in the Lower East Side. Along for the ride as the other half of the dynamic duo is her prehistoric pal, Devil Dinosaur, a fire-breathing T. Rex who acts as the brawn to her brains.
In this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, series star Diamond White talks about the personal experiences she brought to the role, and what seeing this kind of representation onscreen would have meant to her growing up. She also talks about the role of music in the series, what songs would be on Lunella’s playlist, and which Marvel hero she would like to see Moon Girl team up with.
COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAY
COLLIDER: So Diamond, my first question for Moon Girl is, what is it about Lunella that drew you to the project?
DIAMOND WHITE: The representation of it. I grew up wanting a character like this. So now that it’s finally here, to see a Black girl who’s super smart and who’s a superhero, it means a lot to me.
How much of yourself did you get to put into her energy and see reflected in her character?
WHITE: A lot. A lot, actually. I went into the audition like, “Okay. I’m just going to pretend that I’m my 13-year-old self,” and it ended up working out. But it’s cool, because Lunella goes through a lot of things that I went through as a kid. And there was a list that I put together for the team, and a lot of it was my experience as a Black woman growing up. And that’s actually where the hair episode came from. I was like, “Black girl’s first perm,” and that is where that episode came from. So they allowed me to put a lot of myself in into the show.
Image via Disney+
Nice. So with stuff like that episode, like the hair episode, there are these very real truths to being a teenager mixed in with all of this larger than life superhero stuff. And I wonder if you could speak to finding that balance as a performer.
WHITE: I feel like finding that balance, Lunella is very confident when she puts on the suit. And when she’s not in the suit and when she’s being around kids her age, she has this insecure feeling or way about her. Because she doesn’t really know how to get along with the kids in her class because she is just head in the books. But that’s where Casey comes along and helps her out. I feel like the balance is through Casey because she is the gap between Moon Girl and Lunella being the social in-school person that she is.
So one big aspect of this series is music. And given your own musical background, was that something that was important to you when looking at the project?
WHITE: Well, when I auditioned for the project, it wasn’t mandatory for the character to sing. I don’t know if that happened after the fact when I booked the role, but it wasn’t a necessary thing for me to sing for the character. But I think when they found out that I could sing, they were like, “Oh, let’s have her sing a bunch.” But I know that music was a part of the show prior to when I signed onto it, but I didn’t think they knew that they would have Lunella or me doing as many of the songs.
So what are you excited for audiences to see as a whole this season?
WHITE: I’m excited for them to see a cartoon they’ve never seen before. This is groundbreaking. It’s Marvel’s first teenage girl, African-American superhero. I’m excited for people to see Lunella and to relate to a lot of the episodes. Because even though she is a superhero, she goes through a lot of relatable things that haven’t really been tackled in the cartoon world. So I’m excited for young kids to resonate with the emotions that Lunella feels and everything that she goes through, apart from being the smartest, one of the smartest superheroes in the Marvel universe, just to relate to her on a teenage kid level. She goes through a lot of emotional things. And it’s just something that I’ve never seen on television before.
Image via Disney+
I’m wondering if there were any highlights for you this season, any episodes, any moments that really stood out to you?
WHITE: Honestly, I can’t say too much But just the guest stars have been a surprise for me. I know in the hair episode, Jennifer Hudson is playing my hair, and that blew me away just to hear that. But there is a star-studded cast and I can’t believe that I’m a part of something so powerful. I think it’s going to be a great show.
There are some references to Marvel within the show. They’ll mention Wakanda offhand or the Avengers offhand. But I love that this really stands on its own as its own project, with Lunella front and center. That said, if you could see her teaming up with anybody from Marvel, not within the show, just in a dream world, who would that be?
WHITE: In a dream world, I could definitely see Moon Girl teaming up with Spider-Man.
Just taking on New York?
WHITE: Yeah, taking over New York. I think that would be incredible. Hopefully, fingers crossed.
Image via Disney+
Apart from the songs in the show, because we talked about that being a big part, what songs would you say would be on Lunella’s personal playlist?
WHITE: There’s this song about her and Casey being best friends. And it’s this really cute, I want to say almost like it’s very pop, but the illustrations that go along with the song are very Japanese chibi kawaii figures. I think that’s her first song on her playlist because she’s very close with Casey. But also, I would say Childish Gambino is on her playlist as well. There was a trailer that came out where she was fighting crime to Childish Gambino. Yeah, she killed that. So I would say also some songs by Childish Gambino.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur premieres on Disney Channel on February 10.
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