Myha’la Herrold is TV’s next big thing. A New Yorker born in California, the versatile actor was just 21 when she made her Broadway debut as the all-singing, all-dancing Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon. Soon though, Herrold will play a fast-talking, big-scheming graduate as part of Lena Dunham’s forthcoming HBO/BBC series Industry. A London-set banking industry drama shot in Wales, Industry sees Herrold among an ensemble of backstabbing, sexed-up twentysomethings competing for job openings in finance. So, like Girls, but diverse, more jargon-y, and in swanky offices instead of coffee shops.
“What’s exciting about someone like me in the entertainment industry right now is that other young queer women of colour will see someone who looks like them,” Herrold says. “It will let them know that they’re not alone, their story is valid, and people want to hear it.” As Herrold’s other credits – including the Amazon series Modern Love – are so varied, she’ll be impossible to typecast, which means an exciting, unpredictable filmography awaits.
“Mainstream culture is finally catching on to the fact that the world is made up of individuals,” Herrold says. “Every single one of us is unique and special in some way. So what’s unique to me is me!”
How do you want to influence the future?
Myha’la Herrold: I want to normalise taboo conversations to educate myself and others. Things like sex, body image, mental health, disability, and sexuality becoming regular topics of conversation will help decrease all the negative side effects of a lack of education about those things. The more we talk openly in a casual, respectful, and purposeful way, the better we can prepare ourselves and avoid mistakes that can lead to serious problems. Just keep talking!
What issues or causes are you passionate about and why?
Myha’la Herrold: Covid-19 has lit an even hotter fire in me to become a more active participant in advocating for homeless people and homelessness relief. Being in a safe place with plenty of food and having the means to shape myself as an artist in this new world is a privilege. I want to make it a right for all people. I want to be a part of the solution for people who have no option. And maybe right now, it starts with eye contact and a kind word, but I hope very soon to be able to provide an avenue for those without options to be able to come and have a meal in a safe place where they can create something.
“Covid-19 has lit an even hotter fire in me to become a more active participant in advocating for homeless people and homelessness relief” – Myha’la Herrold
What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?
Myha’la Herrold: In light of the coronavirus outbreak, I would donate whatever funds I could to an organisation such as Feeding America, who run a network of food banks. In times like these, the most vulnerable in our communities – the elderly, immuno-compromised, and those on a low income – face a horrifying reality that their basic needs will not be met. More than anything, I believe no one should be hungry. So I would do whatever I could to make sure those who need food can get it.