Instagram’s marijuana merch queen is snapping at Hollywood’s heels with a starring role opposite Willem Dafoe in The Florida Project
- New York, United States
Best known for blazing up Instagram with her profitable weed merch business, Bria Vinaite was scouted on social media for The Florida Project – director Sean Baker’s follow up to 2015’s trans caper Tangerine. In the toke of a blunt, Vinaite went from online weed merch dispensary @chronicflowers to top billing on Baker’s film.
Born in Lithuania, Vinaite moved to Brooklyn at a young age with her mum. She admits that she was a bit of a wild child. “My earliest memory of freedom was when I was about 14 and I stopped caring what people thought about me! I was so free and in charge! That whole year I was exploring myself, and I was so ‘free’ that I got sent away to boarding school,” she says, laughing.
The Florida Project is a dark take on Disney à la Spring Breakers. Vinaite plays a struggling 22-year-old mum in the film. She lives with her daughter in a low-rent tourist motel managed by Willem Dafoe. “She’s a young, single mom stuck in poverty and struggling to raise a child,” says Vinaite. “22-year-old Halley is barely an adult. She gave birth to Moonee when she was 16 and, although she is a loving mother, Halley is more of a best friend to her daughter than a parental figure.
Reflecting on her encroachment on Hollywood’s periphery, Vinaite overflows with gratitude: “I can't help but be thankful, and really appreciate everything I have been through, good and bad, because it got me here!”