Her onscreen debut was a Baz Luhrmann project.
Imani Lewis as Calliope in Netflix’s lesbian vampire romance, First Kill, is an out-of-the-box choice for the young actor. Before being cast in the YA horror series, Lewis filled her career with award-winning dramas about everything from immigration to racism. First Kill is a different vibe for her, with YA romance and intense fight scenes instead of the slow, understated drama Lewis is used to.
In First Kill, Lewis plays a fierce monster hunter from an even more fiercely loving family of monster hunters. When she meets, and eventually falls in love with, Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook), things get violent. It turns out, Juliette is a vampire — and unfortunately enemy No. 1 for Calliope’s family. The Romeo & Juliet-inspired tale includes its fair share of shocking twists and turns but it doesn’t only shine in its high intensity moments. Lewis is especially strong in her occasional monologues about the nuances of good and evil and the complicated nature of labeling whole groups as monsters.
This kind of embedded social commentary isn’t new to Lewis. Her previous roles in films and TV have all been focused on telling honest and fair stories about moments in history, from the rise of the Wu-Tang Clan to Black DJ culture in the ‘70s to narratives about strong women in sticky situations.
Imani Lewis’ Career
Lewis got the first notch in her TV acting belt when she was 17 in Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down. She played Tanya, a pivotal character who connects the main characters to a get down group, a collective of hip-hop artists, called Zulu Nation. Lewis then went on to appear in the beautifully awkward A24 film, Eighth Grade, and the Queen Latifah show, Star.
In 2019, she took on another hip-hop project called Wu-Tang: An American Saga about the genesis of the iconic rap group. After a couple of movies in 2020 and 2021, including Farewell Amor, an award-winning drama about a family of Angolan immigrants, Lewis pivoted to series, and she’s incredibly booked and busy.
In the past two years, she teamed up with Queen Latifah for the second time on her drama The Equalizer and is currently a series regular on STARZ’ crime drama, Hightown, on top of her lead role in First Kill.
Imani Lewis’ Instagram
You might struggle to find Lewis on Instagram because her @ isn’t just her name — instead she goes by @mochabands. She also only has two posts, both promoting First Kill. Despite her inactivity, she has over 15,000 followers and over 6,000 views on her most recent post.