(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Season 2 of “Outer Banks.”)
“Outer Banks” newcomer Carlacia Grant had just one role model in mind when she took the role of Cleo for the Netflix show’s second season: Rihanna.
When Grant discovered that Season 2 would film in the superstar’s native Barbados, she was immediately thrilled to venture to what she affectionately dubbed “Rihanna’s island.” Rihanna, who was born in Barbados and emigrated to the U.S. at age 16, has consistently stuck to her West Indies roots in her music and was even appointed as an ambassador for the island in 2018.
To prepare for her role as Cleo — a fearless island girl whose life unexpectedly collides with the Pogues — Grant listened to a playlist that prominently featured Rihanna anthems like “Bitch Better Have My Money,” alongside other mood-setting songs like Drake’s “Controlla.” She also had reggae artists like Popcaan and SOJA on heavy rotation to help her reconnect to her Jamaican heritage and culture.
“I have a whole Cleo playlist that I have saved on my phone. So every time I’m on my way to set, I put my headphones in and I just listen to the playlist,” Grant told TheWrap.
As for what’s in store when we meet the Rihanna-esque Cleo in Season 2, Grant explained that her character becomes intertwined with the Pogues after she and her crew let Sarah and John B. stow away on their ship headed to Nassau. Cleo soon develops a special “camaraderie” with Sarah, according to the actress.
“[Cleo] really loves and appreciates the way Sarah loves John B,” Grant said. “That’s what Cleo really started to gravitate toward, was the loyalty that she’s seen in Sarah. She just felt safe around her.” That loyalty is especially enticing for Cleo, who was abandoned by her parents and ended up with Captain Peter’s crew out of a need for survival.
While “Outer Banks” has yet to be renewed for a third season, Grant hopes Season 2 viewers will be drawn to her fearless and confident character, especially as Cleo joins the Pogues in the Outer Banks. As for whether Cleo’s fearlessness could mean she’ll be the one to take down Rafe — who shoots Sarah in Season 2 — Grant certainly wouldn’t count her character out. After all, Grant notedt, she “hasn’t lost the fight yet.”
Equally as enticing: If “Outer Banks” does continue on, Grant teased that the next season could feature a romance for Cleo — one that was apparently hinted at during Season 2.
The second season of “Outer Banks” is now streaming on Netflix.