ClexaCon ’22: “First Kill”‘s Imani Lewis

ClexaCon ’22: “First Kill”‘s Imani Lewis

For a first convention to go to, the stars of First Kill picked a doozy! Surrounded by thousands of passionate queer fans who weren’t ready to put the stake in this too-soon canceled show, Imani Lewis handled everything with grace and heart.

She sat down with LezWatch.TV and to talk about her first convention, her queer history, and how much of herself there is in one of our new favourite monster hunters.

Meemoeder: So I saw someone on twitter say that one of the things that they like about for skill is that there is a huge age gap between the vampire and their love interest. It’s not like, oh centuries old and I’ve already done this 100 times and it’s your first time. So good for you. It’s very much more equal. And I wanted to know what you think of that take.

Imani Lewis: I do understand where they’re coming from and I love, at least for the story of Calls and Juliet, I love that it’s young, love to teenage love. You know, it’s new. It’s fresh, it’s still like experimental to the both of them, they’re still getting to know themselves and you know, get to know who they are and this new found relationship. I do kind of think it’s a little funny sometimes when like you’re like, “Yeah, I’m 1000 years old and you’re 30” you know, so I can see the humor in that. But I mean, what are you gonna do? It’s true love.

LezWatch.TV: How did you find out you were cast in First Kill?  Was it just like the phone call and then oh God!

Lewis: It was a little bit of a process. Usually my agent will call me once I see that phone ring and it’s my agent, I’m like, “Hey man, what’s going on?” You know what I mean? So I think I got a call from my agent. He was like, “Guess what?” I think once I made it to the chemistry read, I was like, “I want it, I want it so bad.” Once I got the call back I was like, “Okay, I’m getting close now. I really want it, I’m loving the story. I read the script. I read the pilot, I want it so bad.” And then after the chemistry read, I was sold. I love Calliope’s story on her own. I love her dynamic with Juliette. I love her relationship with her family. I love the representation in the entire story. I just loved everything about it. I had to be I had in it. 

Meemoeder: I was just at the panel and I the love that you received from the audience, it was amazing. Did you expect that at all? Were you nervous beforehand? 

Lewis: Oh I didn’t expect any of that. It’s so electric and they make you feel so loved. They make you feel every bit of love that they have for these stories, for these characters, for you. They really bring their like the best energy and I just was feeding off their energy. They are just such lovely, lovely, lovely individuals. Like the the F.K. Fandom is like unmatched. I was a little nervous — not nervous I think just anxious. I’m so excited to hear their questions. I’m excited to see what they think about the show, you know to see their feelings now that they know about the cancelation and stuff like that. I feel like the fans see things in the show that I didn’t even pick up on until maybe the second or third watch. You know what I mean? Like they just they have such interesting questions. Such interesting perspective. 

Meemoeder: I was lucky enough to be your meet and greet for a few seconds. Can you tell us how you experience that? For me, as an outsider, it was already very beautiful.

Lewis: Yes, I loved every bit of it because I feel like we see so much interaction on social media and it makes it feel so far because it’s people from all over the world. But for us to all be in the same room and feel their energy in front of me. They’re so sweet, and they’re so fun, and it’s so interesting, and so kind and bring such awesome gifts. They have such awesome personal stories that they were kind enough to share with me about like their own stories, how the show moved them, where they see themselves in these characters or in these stories. It makes it all worthwhile, that’s what we do this for, you know to inspire, to influence, to make people feel good.

LezWatch.TV: How familiar were you with queer tv culture before you just were thrown into this world of “Congratulations! Now you’re going to have a group of fans for the rest of your life.”

Lewis: I really don’t know. In my personal life, I grew up going to ballroom scenes and voguing competitions and things like that. So none of that seemed foreign to me. I was not even a teenager yet and I was going to these shows. But I just saw them as so talented and they have so much energy and they make these incredible costumes. I think when it came to the world outside of my personal life, I never really thought about this is like “Huh, this is a queer show?” I was like, no, these are just amazing people doing amazing things, you know what I mean?

Imani Lewis @ ClexaCon 2022 -- Copyright LezWatch.TV

LezWatch.TV: That’s probably part of why so many people have resonated with it. One of the things we’re always desperate for is we want representation, that is us. We want to see ourselves.

Lewis: Yeah, and the queerness doesn’t have to be the point of conflict, you know what I mean? That doesn’t have to be like the point of the story. In First Kill the point is that she falls in love with something she’s supposed to kill. That’s the bigger issue here, you know what I mean? I think it was important that we saw that normalized in terms of their sexuality, like that is not the topic at hand, you know? It’s just another detail.

LezWatch.TV: You said that you grew up going to voguing and ballroom, which is fantastic. How much of yourself did you get to put into your character? How much did you get to pull from all of your familiarity with queerness and get to be that?

Lewis: I think a whole lot. Because I grew up in these kind of environments, the people that I live and die for our in these communities.  I didn’t mind having these kind of open conversations and being “Am I doing this gracefully? Does this make sense? Does is this, does this feel cliche?” Even being on set, behind the scenes, hair, makeup, wardrobe, first A.D.’s, Covid safety, they were all in the LGBTQ community. I feel like we had nothing but protection and people to tell us “This makes sense. No, you’re hitting the nail!” you know what I mean? “ We feel seen, we feel you’re doing it right, you’re doing it right.” And I feel like with any project that I enter, I try to handle it with grace and with care and with respect because it’s somebody else’s art. This is somebody’s story. And when people watch the show, I feel like they’re gonna see these characters and feel like that’s their story.

Although I feel like I relate to Calliope on so many different levels. Her discipline or just being in the kind of industry where you’re constantly trying to prove yourself. Being an actress, you’re literally auditioning, showing someone else what you just did in the mirror eight million times the night before just to show them that you’re capable of doing it and you do 101 of those auditions and not get one. But it builds that resilience. It builds that discipline and builds all these things in you. So I think because I had those parts of me in my real life, I was able to embody that that that resilience that discipline. That diligence. 

You can watch the one (and so far only) season of First Kill on Netflix, and follow Imani on Twitter and Instagram.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.

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