Sergio Garcia

The audition process for Netflix’s new series FUBAR was pretty seamless for actress Aparna Brielle. “I knew they were gearing up to start filming it, I then auditioned and did my callback, talked to the showrunner, and the next thing you know I’m on a plane to Toronto. It kind of feels like a whirlwind!” the 29-year-old exclusively tells GRAZIA USA. “It still doesn’t feel real, but it was so much fun to film.”

The series, which was released on Thursday, May 25, features a CIA operative, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is on the verge of retirement but once he discovers a family secret, he’s forced to go back into the field for one last time. For her part, Brielle plays standout Tina, who is a capable and intelligent NSA analyst on loan to the CIA.

“She gets swept up into the main group’s mission pretty quickly — but I can’t spoil too much!” she quips. “It’s a really fun action comedy series.”

But nabbing the part of Tina came with some intense research. “It’s such a fascinating world. There’s so much I didn’t know about, but with Tina specifically, she becomes part of this group of agents who have been working together forever, so she’s the newcomer — and the youngest person in the group, which is something I could relate to. It was kind of art imitating life in a way,” she shares. “It’s such a different character than how I am in my day-to-day life.”

Sergio Garcia

Brielle admits the role was challenging, but she made sure she did her “homework.”

“There were a lot of words to memorize. I would nail it every time, and then the writers would add more in. It kept messing me up since it’s so fast paced. Arnold would pat me on the back when I didn’t get the lines and say, ‘Now you’re one of us’ because we’ve all messed up,” she says.

“I had to get out of comfort zone. The further the episodes went, the more I had to do,” she adds. “I had to learn things I’d never learned before, which can be tough when you haven’t worked on a set of this caliber before. I was excited to be there and get into my character.”

To make the role even sweeter, the rising star working alongside the The Terminator star himself, which not many people can say. “It’s still a pinch-me moment. Arnold is amazing. You could go anywhere and people will know who he is. He’s so gracious and made everyday so much fun,” she recalls. “He’s such a team player and made sure every person on set felt important. He’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever been around.”

As for what she learned from the actor, the brunette beauty took notes on his work ethic. “He is so present in the moment, which is what makes the comedy that much better,” she explains. “He’s so funny at coming up with a zinger in the moment. No matter how crazy things got, he was very present. I never thought I would get the chance to act alongside him. I grew up watching his movies, so when I got the job and realized I’d be acting with him, it blew my mind.”

Sergio Garcia

“I’ve been jokingly calling this experience a fever dream, but in the best way,” she continues. “Half the time I am like, ‘Did we really shoot this?’ I feel incredibly lucky, and I don’t take it for granted.”

While watching The Magic School Bus when she was younger, the Oregon native got the idea that she could also star on the small screen. “I’d beg my parents to put me in acting classes, but they told me to focus on dancing. When I was a teenager, I was like, ‘I’m going to pay for my own classes.’ Next thing you know, I started working in the industry,” she shares.

Despite making a name for herself in the industry, she still just think of herself as “just a girl from Portland.”

“I always wanted to do things that sparked joy in my life and enjoy every opportunity. I see all the hard work I put in,” she says.

Since Brielle is a woman of color, she never saw too many people like her on television. “It’s not even that I’m a minority, it’s that I’m a very underrepresented one,” she states, referring to her Indian background. Now, she gets to inspire others along the way. “I want everyone to know their potential and where you can go. This is an industry where people say no a lot and people will find reasons to tell you why you’re not a good fit, but you have to remind yourself it has nothing to do with you. I’m still learning every day. You can create your own opportunities.”

Sergio Garcia

“I’m a woman who’s been in comedy for a while now, and I feel so lucky I’ve gotten to be one. In five to 10 years from now, I hope it’s not something we have to fight for. It will just be assumed and understood. We’re getting there.”

Brielle has appeared in other series, including A.P. Bio and Boo B****, but she’s thrilled to be diving into action this time around. “I’m always looking to do something that feels different than the last, so this is a departure,” she says. “I’m looking forward to having more of these chances down the line. I like being a chameleon in that sense and getting to play different parts. I am obsessed with The White Lotus. I’d love to be part of that in some capacity. I also loved The Last of Us. I am excited to see what opportunities come about.” 

“I’m paving my own path, which can be nerve-wracking, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world,” she concludes.

FUBAR is now streaming on Netflix.

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