Meet the new-look April kicking butt with the Ninja Turtles
Kat Graham is proving girls can kick just as much butt in Nickelodeon's latest Ninja Turtles remake.
The actor, best known for her role in The Vampire Diaries, voices a very different take on April O'Neil, the plucky human companion of brothers Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
In the new 2D animated series, April is African American and right in the middle of the crime-fighting action alongside the turtles.
"This version of April is super fun, sassy, and empowered," Graham says.
"Her dynamic with the turtles is definitely inclusive. She fights alongside them, and she can definitely hang with the boys."
Graham is a true triple threat. She is a singer and has worked as a dancer for Missy Elliott and Pharrell Williams. She brought all of those skills into the recording studio to voice April, whose weapon of choice is a flaming green baseball bat.
"This character is so much more animated than I usually am on film or TV... I've changed the register (of my voice), the energy, and the delivery for this character," she says.
"I would definitely say that I bring a physicality when I'm recording this character. Whether she's running jumping or fighting off an evil villain, I like to have fun in the studio. I'm definitely not shy when it comes to any sort of physical movement to get the performance that we need."
Graham, who will next be seen starring opposite John Travolta in the film The Poison Rose, is also excited about getting her own action figure in a franchise she grew up watching.
"What's so amazing and special about this is that you very rarely see an African-American young female action figure," she says.
"It is such an honour to play this character and to see her action figure manufactured on a scale like this.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres on Nickelodeon today at 5pm. It will also be available to stream on the free Nick Play app.