In Elite Daily’s series Rent-Free, celebrities unpack the one thought, memory, or unforgettable pop culture moment that’ll always live in their head. In this piece, On My Block star Sierra Capri talks about her love of Britney Spears and her 2001 MTV VMAs performance.
If you’ve turned to any news station, streaming service, or publication in 2021, chances are, pop superstar Britney Spears made an appearance. For On My Block’s Sierra Capri, however, Spears has been center stage in her mind since 2001. “I remember my cousin had a huge poster of her on her wall, and she was obsessed with Britney,” Capri tells Elite Daily. “We would always listen to her albums and make up dance routines and try to copy her music videos.”
While it’s hard to compare anyone to Spears’ caliber of fame, Capri is certainly no slouch. The 23-year-old actor has over 2 million followers on Instagram, thanks in large part to her starring role as Monse Finnie in Netflix’s On My Block. But before a successful acting career was even a twinkle in Capri’s eye, as a kid, she was more preoccupied with jamming out to early Britney bangers.
For the On My Block actor, the obsession really began with Spears’ 2001 MTV VMAs performance. In case her set isn’t seared into your brain like it is for Capri, this was the show Spears entered the stage with a tiger in a cage and danced around with a Burmese python around her neck. “I’ve probably watched [that performance] 30 or 40 times,” Capri says with a laugh.
Although Spears’ VMAs performance aired when Capri was a literal toddler, the On My Block star says she remembers watching the historic event live. “I was mad young, but I remember it was me and my mom in our apartment in Baltimore,” she recalls. Even at the time, Capri knew Spears’ performance was something special. Looking back now, she sees it as an important moment for empowering women. “She was so unapologetic and so badass and so free. She was just like, ‘I'm going to do this and I'm not going to care about what people think.’”
Speaking on the overwhelming support for the ongoing #FreeBritney movement, Capri says it’s evident how much of an impact the pop star has had on the industry. “Unless you're Britney, you have no idea what has transpired so far ... but I can definitely say that she has worked her *ss off. I think that's been evident in her work, over almost a 30-year span of her career.”
It’s Spears’ dedication to her craft that inspires Capri to take risks in her own career. She hopes to one day motivate others the same way Spears motivates her. “Later down the line, [I] might inspire the next generation, [or] might inspire someone else to do something they never thought that they could do,” Capri says. “If you really love what you do, put your all into it and leave it all on the floor. [Spears] was always that type of performer ... She is an icon.”
It makes sense Capri’s thoughts are on her future right now. With the fourth and final season of On My Block now out in the world, there are big changes coming for the actor, and it’s going to take some getting used to. “[The cast] is so close-knit,” she says. “What people see onscreen, that's legit how we are offscreen. We've all grown up together, and it's been five years, so it's definitely going to be weird not having them on set and beside me. It's going to be a change.” But Capri is hopeful. “This is just the beginning for me, and it's just beginning for all of us. I can't wait for the fans to really get to know me moving forward.”
Capri has a pretty good idea of where her career is heading next — just nothing she can speak about at the moment. But what about if she got an opportunity to pull a Britney and dance around with some wild animals? “If someone was like, ‘Sierra, let's go to a snake pit,’ I'd be like, ‘You're out of your mind,’” she says. “But for a performance, 100%, give me a snake.”