Iman Vellani: ‘Ms. Marvel’ Made Me Feel Seen for the First Time

The Pakistani Canadian actor talks about going from Marvel superfan to star, the line that meant a lot to her personally, and acting alongside Fawad Khan and Farhan Akhtar.

Ishani Nath

June 6, 2022

Iman Vellani: ‘Ms. Marvel’ Made Me Feel Seen for the First Time
Iman Vellani in 'Ms. Marvel' (Disney)

“Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for!” says Kamala Khan in the opening scene of Ms. Marvel. The 16-year-old teen, played by actor Iman Vellani, is referring to her Avengers fanfic series, but the line rings true for real-life audiences eagerly awaiting the six-episode series starring the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Muslim American superhero. 

Based on the hit comic book series released in 2014, Ms. Marvel follows a Pakistani American teenager who idolizes Captain Marvel and soon becomes a hero herself. It’s a role 19-year-old Pakistani Canadian Iman Vellani slipped into effortlessly — despite nearly not auditioning. “I was making excuses for myself out of fear of failure,” said Vellani, who was in an arts program at her high school in Markham, Ontario, but had never acted on screen before. At 3:00 a.m., the day her audition was due, she convinced herself to go for it, thinking, “my 10-year-old self is gonna hate me if I don’t even try.”

Spoiler alert, she got it. The new series premieres on Disney+ on June 8, and after seeing the first two episodes, the charismatic Vellani has cemented herself as a star in the making. As Kamala says in the opening scene of the series, “Sometimes, someone can come out of nowhere and do something amazing.” Here is our chat with Vellani, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel.