Actress Aria Brooks Talks Mental Health, Her New Disney+ Film, And Using Social Media For Social Justice

Actress/singer/songwriter Aria Brooks. Image: Tevin Johnson @tevin.us

For many creatives, art has become a powerful way (sometimes the ONLY way) to channel pain into beauty. It is a way for fans to relate and connect with an artist through the way they express both personal experiences as well as universal ones. This is certainly the way we would describe rising star, actress and singer/songwriter Aria Brooks, who you may be familiar with through her role playing Cynthia Erivo’s niece Anger in the highly acclaimed and award-winning film ‘Harriet’.

Aria is best known as one of the leads in the reboot of the popular Nickelodeon series ‘All That’, and in 2022 she will star as the female lead in the highly-anticipated Disney+ Original Movie ‘Better Nate Than Ever’ premiering in Spring 2022. The cast also includes Lisa Kudrow, Joshua Bassett, Rueby Wood and more.

Adding to her already impressive resume, Aria is making her mark on the world of music as an accomplished singer and songwriter. She released the first installment of her debut EP ‘castles’ under the moniker ARIA earlier this year. The deeply personal record showcases original songs she wrote which detail her mental health struggles, the challenges she faced on her journey to becoming a performer, and how she overcame them. Her recent singles include ‘october’ and ‘FIRE X WATER’, which are available now on all streaming platforms. Following the success of pt.1, she released ‘castles pt. 2’ in November.

Aria is part of a generation of Hollywood celebs that understand their voice extends beyond the big screen, and has an important role to play on social media platforms. With over 11 million likes and over 219,000 followers on her verified TikTok account, as well as over 14,000 followers on Instagram, Aria uses every chance she can to advocate for social justice issues she is passionate about, specifically voting rights and trans rights.

She volunteered with organizations such as When We All Vote at their Fuel the Vote voter registration event in her hometown of Atlanta in 2020, and supports causes such as Transgender Day of Remembrance, International Day of Tolerance, National Stop The Violence Day and many more.

Aria Brooks is clearly a very busy person, but we had the chance to steal a few moments of her time to get to know her better.

Congrats on your announcement being cast in the upcoming Disney+ film ‘Better Nate Than  Ever’. Can you tell us about your character and what you are most excited about?

Thank you! My character, Libby, is Nate’s best friend. She helps plan the trip to New York [to audition for Broadway]. I can’t wait for you guys to go on this journey with them and I’m so excited for you all to hear the amazing songs in this movie.

Having already appeared in ‘Harriet’ opposite Cynthia Erivo, and in Nickelodeon’s ‘All That’, do you feel like your acting career now has momentum the more you are landing major roles?

I definitely feel like there is momentum now because I am getting in front of more people. This business is all about connections, so I feel like I’m only going up from here.

You are also a singer/songwriter, and just released your EP ‘Castles pt 2’. Earlier this year you released ‘Castles’, where fans got to hear more about your mental health struggles and performing journey. Why is it important for you to be open about this issue?

I think it is important that we bring awareness to these topics. Mental health struggles look different for everyone and I want to share my story for those who are going through anything similar. 

Castles pt 2’ was released in November. What did this EP focus on in terms of messages and themes?

It went more in depth about the various ways you may see mental illness. The common theme is that once you’re aware of what’s holding you back and you can overcome it, you can excel.

@itsariabrooks

btw this is not meant to be sarcastic. but i can’t wait for y’all to hear it! comes out october 1st

♬ original sound – Thankful

With a huge social media following, specifically on TikTok and Instagram, what kind of content do you enjoy sharing the most?

I love sharing my relatable content—I get the best response from my funny and relatable videos.  They are really fun for me to make as well. 

You are passionate about social justice and have been outspoken about voting rights and LGBTQ issues. Can you talk more about using your platform to speak truth to power, and share your passionate for these topics?

I’m very passionate about equality and I will continue to advocate for minorities. The larger my platform gets, the louder I will be about it because no one deserves to be treated differently because of who they are. 

Flaunt Magazine has described you as “a triple threat that will change the world”. What does this description mean to you personally

I’m honored to be seen that way. I have been singing, dancing, and acting since I was little, and if anyone told me it would’ve reached as many people as it has so far, I wouldn’t have believed it. I love what I do and hope to change the world one day. 

You have also spoken with Blavity about how being a Black artist can at times be discouraging, but also powerful. Can you tell us more about this?

I think it is empowering to see Black people pursuing a career in entertainment. It is important that we continue to give more parts to people of color. It can be very challenging because the industry still holds on to stereotypes. It is imperative that we break those stereotypes and write more diverse characters for ourselves. 

Among all the continued success you are seeing in both film and music, what impact do you want to have in your career?

I want to inspire people. Not only do I want people to feel seen by speaking out on important topics, but I also want to encourage others to speak out too. I want my work to move people. 


You can download and stream Aria’s EPs ‘castles’ and ‘castles Pt. 2’ by clicking HERE. Keep up to date with her on TikTok and Instagram.

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