Inde Navarrette on representation and becoming her characters

Top, jacket, skirt, and earrings SARA WONG, shoes ALEVI.

“In middle school, I watched Arrow consistently. It was borderline crazy because I would restart it and restart it and restart it. I had the beginning of the season memorized … I got a couple seasons into The Flash before I started high school and [started] watching other stuff. I was very aware of [the lore] going into it. When I booked [Superman & Lois], I thought, ‘this is what my show is going to look like,’ and it’s not that there’s a super crazy difference, but there’s just something about Superman and Lois that is specific to that show. It was very beautiful to go in with this idea [of what] I thought it was going to be, and then [watch] it back and have a completely different experience. It just makes you appreciate it in a completely different way.”

In our Summer 2023 issue, Inde Navarrette, who plays Sarah Cushing in CW’s Superman & Lois, talks childhood hobbies and planning a hypothetical heist with the cast of Superman & Lois. She dives into her inspiration as an actor, her favorite films growing up, and the actors whose work inspires her own.


I figured this would be a fun way to start off our interview today. I’m sure you’ve heard of the game two truths and a lie.

I have.

Let me give you a moment to come up with two truths and a lie. We’ll see if I can decipher which is which, and I will do the same.

I [went] to eleven different schools [as a kid], my favorite dog growing up was a rottweiler named Gidget that I would ride like a horse, and I can wakeboard competitively.

All of those are so detailed. That makes it hard. I would say the lie is that you went to eleven different schools.

No, that’s true.

Which one’s the lie?

That I can wakeboard competitively. I can’t wakeboard for shit. I would drown. My dad was a Marine, so I lived in multiple cities [and states] growing up, [including] Seattle, North Carolina, Texas, and [different cities] within California. My mom loved having new houses, so we’d move to a different part of town every three years, and I’d end up going to a different elementary school halfway through. It was really crazy.

My two truths and a lie are: I won a beauty pageant in 2011 when I was ten years old, crocodiles are my favorite animal, and my nickname growing up (because my name is Iceis) was ice ice baby.

First of all, if the lie is crocodiles, I’m going to be so upset. If [the truth] is ice ice baby, you’ve got a very humor-filled family, and I respect it. Am I allowed to ask questions?

Of course!

With the beauty pageant, did you guys have a talent [you had to show]?

There was a speaking segment, but there wasn’t a talent section. Every state had their own wheelchair rendition of Miss Virginia, or Miss California, or Miss Mississippi. They also had a branch called Little Miss Wheelchair Virginia, which is what I competed in.

Okay, you are very specific about that, so I don’t think that that’s the lie. I feel like [the lie is] crocodiles, is it crocodiles?

It is. I do think they’re amazing, though.
In a world where you were put in charge of a country, what three types of animals would you choose to be your trusty advisors?

First of all, cats. I’m sorry to say it, but cats are very good [judges] of character. If I have somebody over at my house, and my cat does not like them, they go — they’re not allowed back. Cats might branch into all cats, like cheetahs and lions, but I’ll say [just] house cats for now. I’m going to go with pandas as well because I feel like the mindset that they would have [would be] very relaxed. Whenever you’re hot and heavy and angry about something, they’d be able to calm you down and say, “Listen, this is what it is. It’s the honest truth.” I would need a snake, so basically just the whole cast of Kung Fu Panda. A snake or a cricket, one of the two. I’m going to say a snake, a panda, and a cat. I don’t know how the hell they would all get along.

The snake would probably eat the cat.

We’d feed them both mice and give the panda massive amounts of bamboo so they don’t try and kill me.

That would be really bad if they tried to eat their owner.

Yeah, which I feel like happens.

It does. I respect all those decisions. I would have gone with a panda or a white bengal tiger, because I think they’re absolutely beautiful and majestic, and I feel like they would be great to have. And a horse.

Why a horse?

I feel like they have been around longer and they are a bit more wise about certain things.

I can see that.

It was either that or an owl because owls are apparently very wise.

It’s funny, I don’t know where that comes from because they can’t talk.

Top, jacket, skirt, and earrings SARA WONG, shoes ALEVI.

Going back to your earlier days as an actor, what sparked your interest in acting, and what was your first exposure to acting as a career?

I have a very young mom. She solely raised me and my older brother, [and when] I [turned] seven, [she had] my younger brother [as well]. She grew up loving movies, but nobody in my family is in the industry or anything like that. [My mom] would put on films like Funny Girl, Gladiator, and Moulin Rouge. I was a very sensitive kid, and I still am [a sensitive person], so I feel things deeply. We went to see The Greatest Showman — granted [this] was a little bit later in my career, and I already [knew] what I wanted to do — but it was the best example of sitting in a theater and [getting] chills all over your body because it tells a story.

People ask me who [I] look up to, and they [find it] so crazy [when I say Hugh Jackman]. He made me feel deep understanding as a kid. I felt represented by the loss that he has to go through — by the sense of love, friendship, and everything within that film, even though it’s a very adult film. I felt those as a kid. [That sparked my interest in learning] how to represent another person or become a different person. I watched Twilight a lot, and whenever I put on a ring like Bella did, I would go to school, and I was Bella. I really love becoming other people and [getting] in people’s brains and understanding why they do what they do. As a kid, those films really sparked that [passion for me].

You mentioned Hugh Jackman being one of the iconic actors you looked up to growing up. Are there any others that really spoke to you?

Robert Downey Jr. and Matthew McConaughey. I never really was a princess kid, [although] we did watch Disney movies growing up. The characters that [these actors] played had such strength in them. Now we can use words like masculinity, but for me as a kid, not understanding anything like masculinity or femininity, it was very much just the strength [and intelligence] that these characters had. It [made me realize], “I know how to do that.” As a kid, [those were] the [people I was inspired by].

Talking about your earlier childhood, it sounded like you were not a very feminine child. What were some of your hobbies that you liked to do growing up?

My aunt had two kids, and my uncle is extreme with boating, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, dirt bikes, shooting guns in the backyard, and doing backflips into the pool. My cousin TJ was in high school when I was a little kid, so all of his friends would be over, and I would be with them. They’d be doing back flips into the pool, or shooting in the backyard, or riding bikes. Most of my hobbies as a kid [were] these extreme things. I remember watching this skateboarding movie and really trying to learn how to skateboard. To this day, I’m [still] trying, but my body is not built for it at all. I really loved collecting a lot of things as a child. I would have these Walmart plastic drawers filled with rocks. I loved collecting rocks for no reason, and now that I’m older, I collect crystals. [They’re] fancier and nicer, and they’re prettier.

I grew up with an older brother and mostly male cousins, so they did all the physical outdoors stuff. My brother got me into watching professional wrestling, so at age seven that’s what I was watching on TV, instead of all the little cartoons they had. And he also got me into video games, so I totally understand that. I was very much a girly girl at first, and my room was pink and purple with Dora, princesses, and the Backyardigans, but that disappeared around age eight or nine.

My brothers would play Call Of Duty. I still play Call Of Duty to this day. I’m playing The Last Of Us right now. I love playing video games. I [thought], “I’d love to show people this,” [so] I started [Twitch streaming], and it’s been so much fun. The community is amazing. Similar to you, when I would leave to go live with my dad, I would come back, and my room would be completely redecorated with zebra stripes and pink bean bags. [I told my mom], “I want jorts, long sleeves, and if you stick me in a dress, I will fight you. This is not how this is going to work.” She’d [ask me], “What about these sparkly shoes?” and I [would] be like, “Absolutely not! What about these Converse?”

Jacket IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, shoes ALEVI, earrings stylist’s own.

Moving on to present day, you play Sarah in CW’s Superman & Lois, which is a huge deal. Congratulations. CW has been doing different DC shows for a while now, like The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl. Did you have any knowledge of the lore before you were cast, or was it one of those things you got exposed to once you took the job?

I was fully aware of those shows. Going in, I had to let it go, because I would have lost my mind. In middle school, I watched Arrow consistently. It was borderline crazy because I would restart it and restart it and restart it. I had the beginning of the season memorized. I could probably draw it for you and have a book of what happens. I got a couple seasons into The Flash before I started high school and [started] watching other stuff. I was very aware of [the lore] going into it. When I booked the show, I thought, “this is what my show is going to look like,” and it’s not that there’s a super crazy difference, but there’s just something about Superman and Lois that is specific to that show. It was very beautiful to go in with this idea [of what] I thought it was going to be, and then [watch] it back and have a completely different experience. It just makes you appreciate it in a completely different way.

I definitely watched a lot of Arrow. I stopped at season six, and I think I watched two or three seasons of The Flash as well. I was impressed when I saw on Twitter that they were still going with the show.

I met Grant Gustin on a flight [when] I was flying back to Vancouver, and it was really neat. I saw him, but I didn’t say anything. He turned to me and [said my name], and I thought I was going to die. We still had masks on, but I think my eyes were popping out of my head. He [asked me if I was] on Superman & Lois, [and we were] talking back and forth, then we got on the flight. It was so fascinating that he even knew my name. I [asked him] how the show [was] going, and he [said they] just wrapped it up [and he] put [his] suit away. I was like, “I’m sorry, the show is done?” and he was like, “Yeah, you didn’t know that?” I kind of felt rude, because he knew everything about my show.

Season three of Superman & Lois is airing right now. Without spoiling any of the storyline, because we don’t want that, are you satisfied with the way the season wraps up, or would you rewrite the storyline if it were in your control?

I like [the storyline], because with the way that Sarah has been written for the last two seasons, it’s a good area for her to be in. It’s really hard for her to let things go, and it’s really hard for realizations to set in. I think she’s a very wise person in the sense that she can understand the impact that she has on people, or the impact that people have on her, or her relationship with her parents. One of the things that she really struggles with is letting the realization [set in] of when something’s finished, or when something should start, or what she wants to do or [appreciate]. It’s a high when you see her extremely elated and happy in the beginning of the season, especially after all the trauma that she went through last season. Now, she’s slowly getting to [the] point [where she can say], “Okay, all of this has happened to me. I have no idea what’s going on in my life. There’s this boy in my life that I love, but I don’t know what to do with [him], and there’s so much going on.” You finally see her get to a point where she’s deciding which way she wants to go, and I’m really happy with the way that she goes.

Dress DYSPNEA, earrings SARA WONG.

If you were going to plan a heist with your fellow cast members, who would be your accomplice, your getaway driver, and your scapegoat if you had one?

[My] accomplice would be Tayler hands down. Me and her for sure. [We’d] get away with it too, nobody would know it would be us. It would be so ironic because I’m so short and she’s tall, [so] it would be like the regular shmegular [duos] in cartoons. The getaway driver would be Alex. That dude can drive. Hypothetically, there was a time where he got me [somewhere] very quickly. Scapegoat, I would say either of these three people: Sofia Hasmik, who plays Chrissy, Emmanuelle Chriqui, who plays my mom, or Wolé Parks. I would choose them, because I feel like all three of them could talk themselves out of anything, and the three of them together are like The Three Stooges. They are all best friends, they all love each other, [and] they all hang out. Without even talking to each other, they would be able to come up with a story, so I would say them.

The great thing about having three people is you could do multiple heists and choose a different person each time. There you go, perfect strategy. You’ll steal about two million dollars. You’ll be set for life.
I’m going to have you fill in the blanks for this sentence. You would never catch me at the mall doing [blank] after [blank].

You would never catch me at the mall feeling bad after going to Bath & Body Works.

What’s your favorite scent?

I don’t have one. I just walk in and walk out, but I did buy [a candle once]. It filled my whole house for a month and a half, and I didn’t even light it. I need to go back and get another one because [I] just finished [it]. It was [called] Paris Pink Champagne, so [it had] a little bit of a vanilla vibe.

What are five things in your everyday life that you currently can’t live without?

I’m looking at [them] right now. My record player and my records, my PC (which I built), incense, earl grey tea, and cozy sweaters.

Those are all perfect answers. Now I have to ask about the record player and records. What type of music are you getting records for?

I got a record player [but] I haven’t really bought any [records] for myself yet. They were gifted to me, but the [ones] I play the most [are] Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Bob Marley, [and] Amy Winehouse. I also have ABBA.

If you could star in any movie franchise, past or present, which one would you choose?

Pirates of the Caribbean, hands down.

That would be a good one.

Me in a corset, done.

Is there anything you’re looking forward to in the remainder of the year, either professionally or personally?

Seeing my little brother start [his] sophomore year of high school. I’m really excited to see him get older, and he started wrestling on the wrestling team, so it’s really neat seeing him get older.

Photography IRENE CHEN






Special thanks to 42WEST

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