5 TV and Film Performances You Don't Want to Miss

"What should we watch?” This question consumes us more than we care to admit. With the copious amount of content available at our fingertips these days, it’s no longer a simple inquiry. It’s the cause of our endless scrolling on streaming services in search of that next drama that will keep us on our toes or a comedy to turn the mood around. It’s also why we set out to weed through all the noise and bring you a curated list of our favorite projects and performances. Our quarterly Ones to Watch portfolio does the hard work so you don’t have to. 

This winter, we have our eyes on some stellar talent in a wide variety of projects. There’s the noteworthy newcomer in the Oscar-nominated adventure film Avatar: The Water of Water; the fresh face dishing up serious laughs and nostalgic ’fits in the That ’70s Show reboot, That ’90s Show; the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art graduate stepping into a young Lady Danbury’s very stylish shoes in the highly anticipated spin-off prequel Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story; the 21-year-old rising star who uncovers a supernatural secret that will change her life in the Paramount+ drama Wolf Pack; and the NYC native set to have a breakout year, starting with her official feature-film debut in the indie comedy God’s Time

We can’t say enough great things about each of these fantastic performances, so in an effort to get to know the actors behind them a little better, we caught up with each to talk about their current roles, the scripts that ignite their passion for the craft, and their fashion must-haves.


(Image credit: Netflix)

WHO: Arsema Thomas

WHAT: While audiences fell fast and hard for the passionate, albeit complicated, love stories of the Bridgerton family in the eponymous Netflix show, there was another character that quickly became a fan favorite: Queen Charlotte. Dignified and commanding yet a true softy and romantic at heart, she is at once aspirational and relatable. So how did she become the influential, gossip-loving royal we all know and love? We will find out when the prequel spin-off—Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story—arrives this spring. While plot details are still being kept tightly under wraps, we do know the limited series will focus on young Queen Charlotte’s rise to prominence. And given her long-standing friendship with the insightful Lady Danbury, we will be treated to her early story as well. Cast in the role of young Lady Danbury is newcomer Arsema Thomas, who made her feature-film debut last year in Redeeming Love. The Netflix series marks the actress’s first TV project, and we can’t wait to see what she brings to the sharp-tongued character. 

I think audiences are really going to love Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story because… It tells the story of the matriarchs, the true catalysts of the Bridgerton world. QC really exposes the truth, politics, and the battleground that allows the Bridgerton series to even exist in its world of all things romance, balls, and gossip. It’s also going to be intriguing because this is the story that no one really knows because it exists outside of the books.

The parts of Lady Agatha Danbury that I relate to most are… Her persistence and tenacity but also the lewks. She doesn’t understand "no” as an answer because all her life she has received that same answer, and she knows that if she listened to it, she would be lost. I relate so much to this because I am also driven by a similar fear that if I don’t succeed, I will fall into the abyss of failure, an unforgiving binary that many Black bodies live with. So when people say, "You can’t” or "No,” I have no choice but to ignore them. But her nonverbal weapons are her outfits. She, like me, flirts with masculine and feminine shapes to signal her defiance of the rules. And if I didn’t relate to it before, I do now. 

An Agatha Danbury look from this show that is not to be missed is… Her two-piece look when she faces down Princess Augusta. This look was inspired by vintage Chanel and is a nod to the power suit, which I grew up watching my mother wear. It’s a beautiful moment where Agatha calls upon her clothes to give her the confidence that wavers in the face of the dowager.

The types of scripts/stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… The scripts that have dialogue that read almost like poetry. The words almost seem to fall out of the character’s mouth with organic ease—I love those! But these moments of dialogue in stories that challenge the audience. I love stories that make you question what you believe or want, where you empathize with the villain and see your faults in the hero.

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… Painting large-form abstract faces. I started when I was a kid because I had such a frustrating time putting my thoughts and emotions into words. I also love whipping a meal together, using convoluted ingredients in simple dishes or reviving leftovers one last time. And if I’m cooking, then I’m definitely listening to a playlist I have made for the specific dish. There is something therapeutic about crafting a well-oiled playlist that I probably won’t listen to again. But above all, I am obsessed with reading. It’s been what gets me through difficult periods of depression or boredom. Granted, there are more books that I haven’t finished than I have. Maybe it’s the smell of new books that is my passion rather than reading them.

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… My favorite pair of black-and-red high-top Air Force 1s, my waist beads, men’s cargo jeans, an oversize T-shirt with Assata Shakur’s face on it, a bright-pink wig, and a black bandana. 

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… A charity-shop jacket (somehow, the coolest ones I find are always from charity shops, and many of the managers in my neighborhood already know me by name), Nigerian brass jewelry, and controversial graphic T-shirts.

My winter wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces…


(Image credit: Emily Sandifer)

WHO: Callie Haverda

WHAT: Hello, Wisconsin! Netflix has taken us back to our favorite Point Place basement in the That ’70s Show reboot we didn’t know we needed, That ’90s Show. Come for the nostalgia—original cast cameos, Red and Kitty’s quippy one-liners, and, of course, "the circle”—but stay for the fresh cast of newcomers, who are excellent. Set in 1995, the 10-episode sitcom introduces us to an unlikely group of friends, this time led by Leia Forman, the daughter of Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna (Laura Prepon). Playing Leia is 15-year-old Callie Haverda, who is delightfully charming and funny as the bright-eyed, adventure-seeking teen. Although Haverda wasn’t born yet when the original series started airing in 1998, it’s clear from the first few episodes that she has the timing and wit to introduce the beloved show to a new generation.

That ’90s Show is a fun watch for those with nostalgia for That ’70s Show, but it is also… A great way to connect old and new generations. I hope that longtime fans will feel happy seeing their old friends on-screen, but I expect that a new wave of teens will be able to connect with our show. It’s full of comedy and goofy moments but also a lot of heart, which I think kids today will be able to relate to. 

What I’ve enjoyed most about stepping into Leia Forman’s shoes is… Literally stepping into her shoes! The wardrobe was so fun to wear. My first time at the studios we filmed at was for a fitting. A lot of the stuff we wore was authentic ’90s fashion, and I feel each fitting was a learning experience. When I put on Leia’s clothes each morning after multiple days of rehearsals, it was like I was truly traveling back in time and becoming her fully. 

A ’90s culture or fashion trend I can get on board with today is… Slip dresses! I don’t think my closet is complete without one. Not only are they super comfortable, but they’re also extremely versatile. Put one over a shirt or under a flannel with a pair of Dr. Martens, and you can wear it to pretty much any event. 

The types of scripts/stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… Ones that affect me when I read or see them. As a creator, my biggest goal is to make the viewer feel something, whether they can relate to what my character is going through or they are moved simply by the words and performance. I know it’s what makes me truly love the work I do. 

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… Writing, archaeology, watching films, and fashion. I’m sure there are more things that spark up every day as well. I’m a very passionate person about a lot of things! 

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… Flared pants. There are so many different types as well that I like, especially the flared cargo pants. I like them low-waisted, with pockets, any color you can think of, and, most of the time, super comfortable. I wear platform shoes with them, like my Mschf Gobstompers. I also love to wear overalls, but I need more pairs.

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… Shoes and sweaters—my two biggest weaknesses. I have bins of sweaters I’ve collected over the years, and my closet floor is covered with shoes. I love big, chunky clogs, and for both fashion pieces, I love weird, nostalgic designs on them. 

My winter wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces…


(Image credit: Angel Reyes)

WHO: Liz Caribel

WHAT: This may be the first time you are hearing the name Liz Caribel, but it certainly won’t be the last. On February 24, the NYC native will make her debut in the indie film God’s Time, a wild cinematic ride that follows friends and recovering addicts Dev (Ben Groh) and Luca (Dion Costelloe) as they embark on an adventure through NYC in order to stop Regina (Caribel), the woman they are both in love with, from committing murder. Caribel is captivating in the role, which earned her the Special Jury Mention for Best Performance in a U.S. Narrative Feature at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. But that’s not all. Caribel has a slew of buzzy projects coming up, including HBO’s new Sam Levinson and The Weeknd series The Idol, the television thriller Ellen, and Zoë Kravitz’s directorial debut, Pussy Island.

The God’s Time script really spoke to me because… It felt familiar. Regina reminded me of the character I performed in the first play I did in college: Veronica from Motherfucker With the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis—one of my favorite plays ever. The characters in MFWTH sounded like the streets I grew up on in NYC, which was a breath of fresh air for a theater student like myself at the time, and instantaneously became a piece of art I couldn’t live without. Once I read Regina’s monologue audition back in August 2020, I said to myself, "I know this woman.”

Playing a character like Regina, I learned… Representation is real. It changes people’s lives. We have a gift at our fingertips with storytelling. We form narratives that live on for generations. Regina was a strong character that taught me to never shy away from being who you are. She was who she was, and I loved her for it. She also taught me to be aware of the fact that women don’t just exist to further a man’s story. Women simply exist. Playing Regina on-screen was truly a remarkable experience.

What I can tell you about my next project The Idol is… I’m genuinely unrecognizable. New challenge: Let’s do Where’s Waldo?, but it’s Where’s Liz Caribel?

The types of scripts/stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… The kinds of scripts of which its words sound like poetry. The sort of truth that’s hard to listen to. The kinds of stories that force you to accept life as it is. The types of scripts that help you understand someone a little more. The kinds of stories that create three-dimensional, flawed, lovable human beings. The social-commentary kind of stories. I can go on and on and on, but you get the gist. 

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… I like to sing sometimes, but don’t tell anybody. Reading is my favorite escapist hobby. I’m mostly passionate about anything that has to do with nature and understanding the existential presence of the human experience. "What does it all mean, and why?” are questions I like to ask myself consistently.

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… A cropped puffy vest, a graphic T-shirt (you must roll up the sleeves), some high-waisted jeans or high-waisted trousers, and some nice, clean sneakers. Always take care of your sneakers. Oh, and you can’t forget your rings, watch, necklaces, and earrings. Jewelry is important.

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… Snakeskin booties (or any booties) and a pop-of-color purse. Truly, I’m a sucker for snakeskin.

My winter wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces…


(Image credit: Emily Sandifer)

WHO: Trinity Jo-Li Bliss

WHAT: Avatar: The Way of Water faced a lot of questions going into its December premiere. Could it match the success of its predecessor after all these years (13, to be exact)? Would it live up to the immense hype? Do people still care? The answer, it turns out, is a resounding yes! The first of four planned sequels in the Avatar franchise directed and produced by James Cameron has grossed $2 billion worldwide, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of all time, not to mention a strong award-season contender. The Way of Water picks up 14 years after the events of the first film when the Na’vi repelled the human invasion of Pandora. When a familiar threat makes its return, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) must fight to protect their young family and the future of Pandora. In addition to spectacular advances in technology bringing forth stunning visuals, The Way of Water introduces a new young cast, including Trinity Jo-Li Bliss playing Jake and Neytiri’s youngest child, Tuk. The rising star is not just a standout on-screen. She’s also been making quite the impression during the film’s press tour, wearing looks from Jonathan Cohen, Staud, and Ralph & Russo, to name a few.

Joining the Avatar film franchise in The Way of Water and working with director James Cameron was… A dream-come-true moment! I was already a big fan of Jim after watching his record-breaking Mariana Trench dive before auditioning or even knowing about Avatar. A few months into the audition process, I met him at Manhattan Beach Studios and, thereafter, spent almost 18 months filming The Way of Water. I’m so lucky to have him as the first director with whom I’ve worked. He inspires me to never stop learning, stay true to myself, and be kind to our planet. 

Tuk is a dream character to play because… She is a mix of who I am and who I want to be. We are both the youngest of our family, we both have a bit of FOMO, and we both love our family so much. I want to be as brave as her. I am a scaredy-cat at times. I don’t even watch horror films, whereas Tuk has no fear—a lot like her dad—and says in one scene, "Are there any dead bodies up there?!”

One of my favorite parts of the Avatar: The Way of Water press tour has definitely been… Seeing the adult cast and young cast and Jim and Jon again. It was crazy reuniting with everyone and realizing the whole young cast have become adults—except me! 

The types of scripts/stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… Adventures and comedic horrors. Ha ha. See, although I am a scaredy-cat at times, I want to play characters that are not a scaredy-cat. I am a sucker for the craziest roller coasters that many of my friends who are super brave cannot take. So who knows?

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… Music. I am a singer-songwriter and just released my debut album, Confessions of a Preteen. As crazy and scary as it can feel, I consider it very brave of me because there is no character to hide behind. The words and thoughts are mine. I’m showing the world who I am and my life through my music.

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… My favorite sweatshirt and sweatpants by Zadig & Voltaire. My favorite quote by Serena Williams ("The success of every woman should be an inspiration to another”) is embroidered on it. I feel inspired and empowered in it.

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… Shoes! A nice pair of boots or sports shoes complete my daily look and add so much fun to it. I cannot live without my Dr. Martens, platform Converse, black running shoes, and white tennis shoes. I also really love this pair of platform ankle boots from Haus of Honey. It is like 3.5 inches of heel after subtracting the thickness of the platform. I was surprised by how stable and comfortable they are. I feel so badass and confident in them! I am expanding my shoe collection to add heels now that I know how to wear them.

My winter wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces…


(Image credit: Lili Peper)

WHO: Bella Shepard

WHAT: Paramount+ is going all in on werewolf dramas this winter. Late last month, the streaming service simultaneously premiered Teen Wolf: The Movie and introduced its newest series Wolf Pack. We have to admit we’re quite excited about the latter, which is an adaptation of Edo van Belkom’s book series. Not only does the show mark the return of Sarah Michelle Gellar to the supernatural genre, but the story about two teens whose lives are changed forever when they discover a secret that connects them is also gripping, to say the least. We’ve got our eyes on series lead Bella Shepard, who—after appearing in season one of the Prime Video series The Wilds in 2020—is taking on the role of Blake Navarro. 

With a show like Wolf Pack, audiences can expect… Action from the first moment on! It is set during a crisis and takes the viewer along for every moment. It’s really beautifully filmed as well and cinematically looks more like a movie than a TV show.

I was drawn to my character Blake because… The whole script really drew me in, but Blake especially because she is strong, and although she is dealing with significant issues in her life, she never comes across as a victim. She’s straight-shooting, sarcastic, and even though she initially has some walls up, she learns the value in letting people in and allowing herself to be vulnerable.

Working alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar, who is an icon of the supernatural genre, was… Completely surreal. She’s one of the most supportive, genuine, and talented people I know. She has been the best mentor. I love seeing strong kick-ass women in this business, and she’s one of them.

The types of scripts/stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… Scripts with really deep characters and a strong story arc.

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… Art, music, fashion, makeup, and my animals. I have four dogs, two guinea pigs, two bunnies, a hairless cat, and a parrot.

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… I have so many different aesthetics. You might not recognize me day-to-day. However, you may always catch me in my platform Jeffrey Campbell [shoes] or my Demonias because I’m 5’2” and like the height.

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… Shoes! I’m such a shoe girl. The simplest outfit can be made more complex with the right shoe.

My winter wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces...

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Executive Director, Entertainment

Jessica Baker is Who What Wear’s Executive Director, Entertainment, where she ideates, books, writes, and edits celebrity and entertainment features.