After landing the role of one of the most coveted rangers of all time in Nickelodeon’s Power Rangers Dino Charge, she now plays the down-to-earth, ride-or-die best friend in a Netflix Original true-crime satire-“American Vandal.”
After her first theater experience at the age of four, Washington D.C native, Camille Hyde knew exactly what she wanted to do—become an actress. Since then it is safe to say that Camille has lived out every girl’s dream. Not only by having acting, dancing, musical, and horseback riding talents and abilities, but also by carrying on the legacy of the Pink Power Ranger. Let’s not forget to mention that she is the first African American to ever don the pink suit.
Now at 23 years old Camille has taken on the role of Gabi Granger in the new Netflix Original Series, American Vandal, created by Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda. This eight-episode series is a comically satirical spin on the true-crime story of student, and resident class clown, Dylan Maxwell (Jimmy Tatro), who may or may not have vandalized twenty-seven faculty cars with images of male genitalia. Throughout the series Hyde’s character is always there to help her two best friends, driven documentarians that are trying to uncover the truth, while dealing with her own personal drama.
During our conversation she opened up to us about her introduction to acting, thoughts on the transition of acting for younger to more mature audiences, dreams for the future, and her mischievous, yet rightgheous side!
When did you start acting?
I started acting when I was super-young. I did my first play when I was four. I’ve been doing theater productions, drama camps, and everything that I could get my hands on to stay active in theater and performing arts since I was in kindergarten. It’s always been in my life. I started doing it professionally when I got out to California when I was 17.
Did you decide to go to Cali on your own, or did your family come with you?
I came out here for college. That was the deal; I would come to college and I would study science. If I wanted to pursue acting then I could. So that’s what I did. On days I didn’t have classes I’d come to ballet, audition, and study acting separately from college. I was balancing everything at once for a while.
Wow! How were you able to stay focused while juggling school and your passion?
I always reminded myself every morning of what I wanted and I was constantly inspired by other actors’ and actresses’ work. Every time I would see a show that really got me drawn in, or a movie that inspired me, those things really kept me focused. Every time I would walk out of a movie that would inspire me I would go, “I have to do that!” I’m always extremely emotionally moved by watching TV and film. I’ve always been hyper sensitive just watching stories and I knew that one day I wanted to be one of the best storytellers possible. So, that’s really what kept me on my path of what I really wanted for my life.
That’s awesome. Do you think you’d ever want to go into producing, writing, or directing?
Well, you never know! There really are no boundaries now-a-days. I think once I get to a certain point with my acting I could be super-selective about what projects I take part in, and I have had a good amount of time on my own to develop my own thing. I definitely want to start my own production company one day and tell stories that I really want to tell. That is an actor’s dream; to choose things that really inspire you and be able to put yourself into a story that you can create. That’s my ultimate goal.
I see that you are also quite accomplished, not only in acting, but you’re an equestrian and a dancer. Do these talents help you a lot in your acting career?
Honestly, having other hobbies and activities helps me. Obviously if I were to have a role where I would have to ride a horse, or dance, or play piano, but the biggest part that it plays is keeping me grounded. It’s a safe ground for me. Being able to go to the barn and ride horses, get myself out of the hustle and bustle of Hollywood, and just be out there with those majestic animals is so humbling. It’s for your soul, you know? And that is what keeps me sane. It’s a safe place to really express myself and to clear my head because things get super tense in Hollywood. As you can imagine everyone is always on their grind, and going from one meeting to another, going from an audition to a coaching session, getting great news or sucky news. It’s like being in a dishwasher. So having all of those different activities allows me to remove myself from the craziness and find my inner peace.
Speaking of craziness, you got to be a Power Ranger! What was that like?
It was so much fun. We filmed in New Zealand, which was an amazing country. There is no place on earth like it. It was a huge blessing to be able to live there for so long—almost a year. It’s such a cool franchise to be a part of. Power Rangers has been around longer that I’ve been alive, and not a lot of TV shows can say that. It’s just so humbling to be a part of such a huge influence for children. Our generation, the generation before us, and after us, they all have their group of Power Rangers that they remember. Right now the 12 or 13 year olds are either watching my phase, Dino Charge, or the one that came out right after on Nickelodeon. It’s really a franchise that kids grow up with. They learn lessons from the show and it’s like their first superheroes. It’s really cool to be a part of that.
I saw American Vandal and I loved it. I could not stop laughing! Explain to us what this show is about?
(Laughs). It’s an eight-episode series on Netflix, and it is basically a satire that explores what happens after a prank of someone drawing d*cks all over the faculty’s cars. So, you can imagine the controversy that is surrounded upon that. One kid gets framed and my character, along with her two best friends, goes on a quest to see who the vandal was, and tries to get all the facts possible. It’s taken extremely seriously, and there are a lot of plot twists and some drama here and there trying to figure it out. It’s a really fun series and there is nothing really quite like it, so I am excited to see what everyone thinks.
It looked so funny! How is this different than anything you have done before?
I do a lot of Nickelodeon and Disney kid-centered shows, and I love doing that. It’s super fun, especially because we get to be a part of peoples’ childhoods and their memories. They’re so impressionable at that age and when they are super young coming up to you that is so endearing. I absolutely enjoy that and it is something that I will always treasure, but it is very different from something that is for an adult audience. It [American Vandal] was for a more young-adult, mature audience and that gave us a lot of freedom. There was really no filter on set, so everything was super-raw, super-real, and super-true to how we thought the character would act. There was no holding back. There was so much freedom. It was always exciting.
You talk about freedom in your acting. At what point in your career did you feel comfortable, and just really go for it on set?
I remember a time where I would think, “I have to do this right.” And then, I think about a year ago, right before I started the audition process for Vandal, I was like, “You know what? Screw it. I’m going to do what feels right.” If I do what feels wrong, it doesn’t matter what they want, because no one is going to believe it. If you don’t believe it yourself, no one is going to believe you. Screw the nerves. Screw what people want you to be. When you get a character, you know that character better than anyone else does. In that moment you bring that truth to the character and you just do it, you know? Just do the damn thing! When I had that turn in my mentality I started getting a little freer with my acting, and it was super liberating for me as soon as I started working in that way.
What would be your dream role?
There are a few. I would love to be in a signature, generational comedy for teens; a coming-of-age story like Dazed and Confused, Superbad, or Mean Girls. That would be incredible! I can’t even conceive how excited I would be if I was part of an ensemble cast like that. I would love to be part of a trilogy, like one of the book trilogies. It would be amazing to be the lead in a trilogy like Divergent or Hunger Games. I love action. I think action combined with drama is extremely fun to do. Colombiana with Zoe Saldana is literally what I would love to be a part of. Yeah, that’s one of the character-driven action movies I would love to be a part of.
If you could vandalize something what would it be?
You know, all I can think of right now is something to piss off our current president (laughs). I would never want to deface the White House because it’s beautiful and majestic, and it’s been a home to great presidents as well. I would draw an equality sign on all of the Trump hotels. I think that would actually, if there were no repercussions, be a message to the whole world. It wouldn’t be just vandalism, but it would mean something.
Stylist: Robiat Balogun
Makeup: Brittany Ingram
Hair: Yuichi Ishida