Interview: Arista Arhin of “Star Trek: Discovery”

Arista Arhin is starring the newest version of Star Trek, one of the most popular franchises of all time. She is currently starring as Young Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery. Coming up next, Arista will be starring as Alicia Windsor in the highly anticipated family comedy series Bajillionaires about a group of friends running a start-up out of their parent’s garage. YEM spoke with Arista about how she became an actress!

Young Entertainment Mag: How did you first get involved in acting?
Arista Arhi: I first started modelling when I was 10 and in the process discovered my love for acting. At first, I was doing print campaigns, then commercials, and eventually I started working on TV shows such as Odd Squad, Star Trek: Discovery, and Bajillionaires.
YEM: What is it like being such a young actress in the industry?
Arista: Sometimes, it can be a little intimidating, for example, in my role as Young Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery. Other times, it feels as if I were hanging out with my friends, as in the case of Bajillionaires. In either situation, I’m always thrilled to work on new projects.
YEM: Is it hard to juggle being an actress and being a teenager?
Arista: It is quite hard if you have a demanding filming schedule. For example, I spent entire last summer filming Bajillionaires and had to leave school almost two months early. It was difficult separating from my school friends as well as having to do all assignments and tests while on set with my tutor. It took a lot of coordinating and focus. Still, the benefits of being an actress make it all worthwhile.
YEM: You originally started as a model. How is being a model different from being an actress?
Arista: These are quite different industries and I find them both very exciting. I especially love being an actress because I have an opportunity to immerse myself in the character that I’m portraying, and most likely play someone who I am not, which is particularly thrilling as well as challenging at times. I enjoy studying the character and doing research. Sometimes, however, you don’t have the time for that and you need to learn as you film, which I really enjoy because it teaches you that, as an actor, you need to be flexible and able to adjust or change the way you interpret a scene.
YEM: You are a cast member on Star Trek: Discovery. Were you familiar with the Star Trek universe before you were cast?
Arista: I was familiar with Star Trek before I was cast, but I started to appreciate it with greater interest once I was cast to play Young Michael Burnham. I read and researched as much as I could on all things Star Trek, and I fell in love with the concept of exploring new worlds and civilizations.
YEM: What is it like to be a part of such a popular science fiction universe?
Arista: I feel tremendously honoured to be part of the Star Trek universe. I was very excited to play a complex and strong female character such as Young Michael Burnham over the course of two seasons. Everyone from cast and crew was so supportive, and the atmosphere on set was fantastic. The sets and costumes were particularly impressive. I was also very fortunate to work with amazing directors who would provide guidance and the context for various scenes that I was in. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself that I am indeed part of this amazing legacy.
YEM: Finally, if you could work with any actor, who would it be?
Arista: Timothée Chalamet or Zendaya.