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Anna Leong Brophy

13th March 2023

Dress - Paula Knor / Earrings - Astrid & Miyu /Boots - Aimée Ann Lou

Photographer & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent

Interview & Digital Editor: Pankhuri Bhutani

Styling: Charlotte Harney

Styling Assistant: Charline Roux & Anna Menshykova 

Hair & Make Up: Natalie Stokes

Cover Design: Emily Curtis

A big thanks to DDA PR.

Rising to the forefront of the entertainment landscape, Anna Leong Brophy is a force to be reckoned with. Marking her debut within the Grishaverse portraying ‘Tamar Kir-Bataar’ in the highly anticipated second installment of Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone”, Brophy is just as eager as the fans to witness this exciting new chapter based on the bestselling novels by Leigh Bardugo.

As one of the novel cast members joining the Grishaverse for the live adaptation of the fantasy series, Brophy believes it was an immensely reassuring sight to see her co-star Jessie Mei Li being cast as the protagonist (Alina Starkov) within the show. “When I first watched season one, I was moved and so very emotional. Alina in the books is white and to recast the protagonist in order to give it a different angle to address the element of race in the show and to just see someone like me, I don’t think it can be overstated how important that is.”

Brophy’s performance within the series clearly does justice to the character. Tamar is someone who not only possesses impeccable attire, strong religious affiliations, and a pure heart but the character is also seen to be fearless, possessing good will, a rebellious spirit, and of course her fierce skills in the field of action. 

Jumper - Klements at YBD / Shorts - With Nothing Underneath / Sandals - Ted Baker / Earrings - Margaux Studios /Socks - Calzedonia 

It’s as if she was smoothly able to transition the character successfully right from the pages of the best-selling series straight onto our screens. Brophy embodies the character with such versatility that most of the viewers will most likely experience an extremely hard time envisioning anyone else playing the character after witnessing Anna’s performance.

But that’s not it, folks. Brophy’s talents aren’t exclusively limited to her impeccable acting range. Anna has also branched out to prove her potential as a well-established comedian. She and her comedy partner, Emily Lloyd-Saini have established a wonderful project “EGG” alongside a podcast “Still Legit” where the duo showcases some hilarious and insightful episodes, each one of them dedicated to a distinct film or television series that they grew up watching with and if they believe that they’re still relevant.

Right from the beginning of the interview, Anna showcases a burst of enthusiasm diving deeper into her preparation for her character’s extreme proficiency in fighting, working with her axes, and what she might have tried to learn from Tamar herself if she ever got an opportunity to speak to the character.

She recites the experience of her initial journey within the entertainment landscape and the barriers she faced. “I trained as an actor and when I entered professional acting work, things weren’t great for actors of colors. I had a tough time finding work, especially non-stereotypical work.” 

Comedy was one of the elements that Brophy held onto in terms of trying to explore her potential in asides from acting. “Going into comedy gave me the opportunity to give myself a voice. It made me feel like I was doing work that actually spoke to me, something which wasn’t just a kind of stereotype or a fetishization from a white point of view. I felt a lot of freedom in that.”

We also talked about her first impression of witnessing Jessie Mei Li being cast as the protagonist of the show and the significance of watching someone from a similar mix transforming into such a prominent part of one of the biggest fantasy series in the contemporary television era.

After opening up regarding her constant struggles of finding work as a mixed-race actress, Brophy also reflected a wonderful insight regarding the prominence of diversity and how it has opened up doors for a much more creative and inclusive environment. 

Coat - Gaïa Gaïa / Trousers - ArmedAngels / Ring - Giovanni Raspini

“Jessie (Mei Li) and I have a similar mix. When I was growing up, I didn’t have that and to see that it’s happening now and people like me as well as the others who didn’t feel represented are finally able to see someone who they can relate to, is extremely significant.”

Throwing in an individual possessing a distinct color, gender or sexuality doesn’t necessarily mean a project really amounts to diversity but if the viewers are successfully able to garner a perspective from the people of those diverse backgrounds in terms of getting a glimpse into the true prominence they hold within the story, can sometimes be the real icebreaker and Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’ has definitely done that by proving to be able to capture the true essence behind this sensitive yet extremely significant discourse.

“Shadow and Bone” has without a doubt opened up a novel discourse on what true diversity really looks like and how if done properly, it can completely alter and elevate a story into something even more authentic. Watching the second season surely made it clear that all the talented people affiliated with this project intricately crafted this season to showcase a product that can be defined as nothing but a heartfelt love letter dedicated to the fans of both the books and the television series.

Jacket - Won Hundred / Jeans - L’Agence / Sandals - Rosamund Muir / Ring - Giovanni Raspini / Earrings - AteliersÓ

Brophy also reflected on the insurmountable love she holds in her heart pertaining to her castmates and the showrunners of the fantasy series, promoting just how much effort they have put into the show to make this season possess an essence of pure authenticity and realism. 

“I thought it’s incredible how far the industry has come to take a chance. Props to Eric (Heisserer) and the whole team behind the series for taking a chance as well as stepping away from the easy option. The writers have done an amazing job and it makes me very proud to be a part of a show like this. This is your introduction to ‘Tamar’ off the page. I feel incredibly honored to be the one to manifest her and I’m really excited for everyone to meet her.”

I recently had the pleasure of interacting with the wonderful Anna Leong Brophy in order to know more about her upbringing, the prominence ‘Tamar Kir-Bataar’ holds within the Grishaverse, the impact comedy has had on her professional career, what the Grishaverse fans can expect from the second installment of “Shadow and Bone” as well as her newly found love for her axes.

Blazer - Gaïa Gaïa / Dress - All Saints / Loafers - Beaumont Organic / Bracelets - Giovanni Raspini / Necklace - Margaux Studios / Socks - Calzedonia 

Shadow and Bone Season 2 premieres March 16th only on Netflix.

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