Bria Vinaite sold weed styled apparel on Instagram from her home in New York and then shot to stardom as the lead actress in The Florida Project.
Birthday: June 10, 1993
Famous for: Actress
Bria was born in Lithuania and moved to Brooklyn at the age of 6. She attended boarding school due to her disruptive behaviour as a young teenager.
Bria is a notable on Instagram for her self made weed apparel @chronicflowers.
Vinaite was scouted via social media for the movie The Florida Project (2017) by director Sean Baker where she plays Halley, a struggling 22-year-old mum. She was completely new to acting and received help from acting coach, Samantha Kwan, who helped her learn how to memorize lines and bring all her emotions out.
Vinaite plans to pursue acting as a career. She has received positive reviews for her performance as Halley.
During Cannes in 2017 Bria was pictured having dinner with Drake which led to rumours of a possible relationship.
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Refinery29: Let’s start with the basics. Can you walk us through how you were cast as Halley in The Florida Project?
Bria: “I got a direct message on Instagram one day, and it was from Sean [Baker]. He was telling me to check my email because he emailed me about a film opportunity. His page is all pictures of his dog, so I was kind of confused. But I read the email, and it was very well written. He told me a little bit about his previous work, and we got on the phone. I felt really connected to the project. I had never acted before, so I made sure to let him know that. He flew me out to Florida, where I met Brooklynn [Prince], who plays [my character’s daughter] Moonnee. From the moment we met, we had this initial connection in which we just loved each other. It was very effortless to have this mother-daughter relationship with her, because she was so open to having a relationship with me. It happened really fast.”
Halley’s backstory is left fairly vague in the film. Can you tell us the backstory you made up for her while preparing for the role?
“It was so long ago that I’d have to go back to my notebook to find details. But I knew where she was born, who her parents where, why she lived in the motel, what happened with her baby[‘s] dad — everything. Me and the girl who played Ashley (Mela Murder) figured out our backstories. Sean didn’t want to know. He wanted us to have them so we could make these girls that much more real.
Halley is such a full character. Do you think she’s a good mother?
“People have two reactions. Either they say Halley is a great mum, and really loves her daughter. Or, they say, she is a terrible mum, and she’s a horrible person. She’s selfish. “To me, Halley is a great mom. She’s trying her best. She doesn’t have help. She doesn’t have family. She doesn’t have friends. She doesn’t have any[one] who could help her financially or help her get a job. On top of all the stresses that she’s going through, she never once tells Moonnee, ‘We can’t pay the rent, or we can’t have food.’ She never puts her struggles on her daughter. She does things she really doesn’t want to be doing because she has to provide for her daughter, and that’s the only way she knows how. She’s trying her best. People should be empathetic to others and try to understand what they’re going through.”
Has playing a mother and working with so many kids influenced your own thoughts on having kids?
“I definitely feel like I’m not ready for children yet. I also feel like I got very lucky, because in my head Brooklynn is my child, and I don’t need any kids because I have her.”
I’m curious about the set dynamics, because the film’s extras were actually residents of the motel. How much did you interact with them?
“I actually hung out with two women who lived at the motel a lot, pretty much every day. They told me their stories, and were very open and welcoming, and really wanted the stories depicted correctly. They were willing to share their struggles and situations so that we could get a better understanding and tell the story the right way.”