Even though Carlacia Grant appeared in season 2 of Outer Banks, she wasn’t prepared to propel to fame once season 3 premiered on February 23.
At the end of season 2, Grant’s character, Cleo, who first met The Pogues when they arrived in the Bahamas, became part of the group of close knit pals — which includes John B (Chase Stokes), Sarah (Madelyn Cline), Kiara (Madison Bailey), JJ (Rudy Pankow) and Pope (Jonathan Daviss) — when they all lose the Royal Merchant gold and giant gold cross that Denmark Tanny left for his family.
When we meet the tight-knit crew in the latest season, Cleo fits right in. “You never take for granted that you get to work with your friends,” the actress, 32, exclusively tells GRAZIA USA of having a strong relationship with her costars. “The bond we’ve built for years now continues to deepens, and the more I get to know them a bit better, it’s more fun.”
“It’s so important to have these friendships, especially for me,” she notes. “I’m young and the newest person to join the group. They all have given me great advice, or if I have a question about something, they are so caring and kind. It’s great to have ‘upperclass men’ to show me the ropes. It depends on what I am asking because sometimes it’s as simple as I am going to ask Madison about the best places to eat in Charleston, or it could be what’s a good business deal?”
From the get-go, Outer Banks became a fan-favorite, as it frequently is in the Top 10 of Netflix’s hit shows — something the Connecticut native has learned to adjust to. “Sometimes it’s great, but it takes some getting used to, but so far it’s been fun,” she says of being in the spotlight. “It’s been really, really great, but I am a little shy, so it can be intimidating for me.”
However, there’s many positives to come out of filming the action-packed series, including how supportive Netflix is and how she and her castmates get to travel around to different places, including South Carolina and the Caribbean. “To have the opportunity to play a Caribbean character is such a huge platform. I don’t take it for granted,” she notes. “It’s crazy how many fans we have not even in the United States. We have Brazil and other places. It’s a massive audience.”
“We’ll do a season and put our heads down and sometimes be worried. We’ll say, ‘Is this going to work?’ But it’s still surprising when the show does so well. We’re really, really happy,” she adds, noting that experiencing Poguelandia, an in-person event where the cast appeared at an immersive event in California, was “really cool and fun” to see in real life.
As for how Grant gets into character, she listens to a lot of reggae music on her phone. “I just watch a lot of videos about the Caribbean, which will help me,” she shares. “I love how capable Cleo is — she’s not your typical girls’ girl. She’s not waiting for people; she is going to get what she wants. It’s so meaningful to have this role, especially since we have a younger audience. I hope girls who are watching this will see themselves in these characters and want to be strong and independent and speak up for themselves. Hopefully they could be the next leaders of the next generation!”
Additionally, Grant does most of her stunts — something she is ready to dive into. “That’s what helps me get into character. In the scene where she’s in the elevator, I did that myself,” she says.
But outside of filming, the rising star jokes she never has any desire to jump out of a plane or go on a roller coaster. “I would rather chill by the pool!” she quips. “But when I am with my trainer, I am like, ‘I have to do whatever it takes.'”
“We have a stunt team and a stunt director who is awesome and amazing,” she adds. “Usually they’ll call him for a few days and figure out how to get you properly trained for it. We’ll set it up in rehearsal and then do mock scenes. Then you’ll learn it, and it’ll be a test for the director.”
The real question fans are dying to know is does Grant approve of Cleo and JJ’s new romance? (Spoiler alert: the two got together at the end of season 3.) “I love them together. I think they’re a sweet, sweet couple, and I think the way their relationship played out this season was very heartwarming. I am hoping they stay together, but I hope they explore different ways to be supportive in their relationship,” she says.
In the finale, The Pogues are tasked with a new mission: find out about Blackbeard, an English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of Britain’s North American colonies. “It’s going to start a whole new trilogy. It’s going to be a whole new experience!” she shares of the crew’s new adventure.
“We’re so excited. I can’t wait to get my script,” she gushes. “I thank my lucky stars for this opportunity.”
Grant was once a struggling actor, but she’s now “so proud” of how far she’s come. “I’m happy I stuck with it.”
Outer Banks is now streaming on Netflix.