Lexi Underwood Brings the Heat for Spring/Summer'20

Photography by: Daniel Kolomiyets

Pursuing a successful career in Hollywood is often a thing of luck; a roll-of-the-dice chance that many actors and actresses take in order to land the role of a lifetime. However, rising star Lexi Underwood is an exception to that ideology. Her talent exceeds all expectations, as luck had nothing to do with her recent successes. “I started by doing regional theatre back home in Washington, DC & I eventually found my way to Broadway. I played Young Nala in The Lion King National Gazelle Tour in 2015. After finishing that, my family and I made the leap of faith to move out to Los Angeles; it has truly been a journey. My career has consisted of a lot of guest star appearances and recurring roles on networks ranging from Disney to CBS.” As fate would have it, Lexi landed the highly sought-after role of Pearl Warren on the hit Hulu miniseries, Little Fires Everywhere. Originally adapted from Celeste Ng’s 2017 novel, the show follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the mysterious mother and daughter duo who capsize their lives. “Little Fires Everywhere is my first big project and I couldn’t be more grateful for it, it was an honor to bring Pearl’s story to life.”

            As her childhood consisted of dance classes and vocal lessons, Lexi has been fine-tuning her talents from a young age, as her parents fully supported her passion for the arts. “They introduced me to different types of music and exposed me to creative expression through drawing, dance, and playing musical instruments.” With the help of her parents, Lexi was exposed early on to the masterful workings of her latest leading lady & on-screen mother, Kerry Washington. “We were a Scandal watching household. Ms. Kerry’s [Kerry Washington] role as Olivia Pope definitely had an impact on me. Seeing a woman who looked like me, starring in her own show while being an absolute boss made me think, “I can do that too.” I believe that’s a big reason as to why I wanted to pursue a career in acting.”  

Photography by: Daniel Kolomiyets

After having the coveted opportunity to work with her childhood hero, Lexi describes their relationship as a comfortable yet professional bond that made it effortless to translate to Mia and Pearl’s relationship. “Ms. Kerry is the real deal: both she and Ms. Reese [Reese Witherspoon]. You never know what you’re going to encounter when we meet people who are as famous as them, but they didn’t disappoint me in any way. Ms. Kerry took me out to lunch early on in production so we could get to know each other. She made herself accessible to me to chat when I had questions about anything, from a scene to industry advice. She is a phenomenal scene partner; the trust and transparency we created allowed us the freedom to play with our characters. She lovingly pushed me to a level to which she knew I could rise. There were several people on our crew who worked with her on Scandal and each person proudly said they would follow her to the ends of the earth. How many people can say that about their boss?” With leaders such as Kerry Washington & Reese Witherspoon, women are making waves, or as Lexi would say, blazing new trails. “From the “Me Too” movement to being at the helm of production companies, women are changing the narrative. Little Fires Everywhere is another example of what happens when women harness their collective greatness to tell their own stories and shatter the glass ceiling that has been placed on us. I’m constantly inspired by the women around me who are changing the world!”

With the help of her co-stars, Lexi triumphantly rose to the occasion of playing Pearl Warren in her first breakout role, as Lexi sent chills down viewers' spines with her adaptation of Pearl’s character. “There was such a connection with Pearl and her story arc. Pearl and I are very similar in terms of being slightly introverted, creative, intuitive, kind, and tenderhearted, while also being resolute in knowing what we want. I could absolutely identify with the feeling of wanting to belong and struggling to find my voice; which is the case with many teenagers. Pearl taught me how to fearlessly lean into love and what it is to be determined in advocating for myself. The biggest lesson Pearl has taught me is how to truly appreciate the small things, which are actually the big and important things, if your priorities are in the right place.” 

Photography by: Daniel Kolomiyets

Various scenes in Little Fires Everywhere pinpoint different aspects of racial adversity, various conflicts minorities face & what perfection resembles. Even though the show is set in the 1990s, these instances are still common occurrences in the 21st century. “The show does an amazing job of highlighting social issues, specifically dealing with race and class bias, LGTBQ issues, immigrant issues and so much more. When we first meet Mia and Pearl in the show, it’s an encounter with the police because Elena [Reese Witherspoon’s character] made a judgment call based on bias. My hope is we all will take a look at ourselves while watching Little Fires Everywhere and have courageous conversations with one another about the things that make us uncomfortable; we can be the change the world needs. There is freedom in living in one’s authentic truth. Don’t succumb to the labels and definitions that society places on what is beautiful, what defines a mother, who deserves happiness, or what perfection is.” 

“Every project that I’ve worked on means so much to me & I’m forever thankful to have been a part of all of them. Playing Pearl took me to a place creatively that I’ve never gone before; what an absolute dream come true!” As the multi-talented actress continues to soar to new heights, her kindness, curiosity, and overall talent will render her unstoppable; as this will not be the last time we hear the name, Lexi Underwood. 

Photography by: Daniel Kolomiyets

Written by: Megan Morgante

Hair styling by: Zoe Catherine Davis

Makeup by: Danii Parkes

Styling by: Megan Morgante

Photography Assistant: Michelle Mercede