“Who’s your favorite artist?”
Swarm, the new Prime Video series that follows Dominique Fishback as an obsessed superfan of a Beyoncé-like pop star, is one of the most fun, innovative, and thought-provoking shows to be released this year.
Marissa, played by Chloe Bailey, is an aspiring makeup artist with an overwhelmingly tight bond to Fishback’s character, Dre. While both struggle with mental health issues, the relationship they have with one another holds each other up through tough times. Things begin to take a very dark turn, however, after an intense sequence of events changes both of their lives for good.
The series’ storyline about online fandom and pop stardom is heavily interconnected with Chloe Bailey’s own personal life, joining the cast of this show as a well-known music artist with dedicated fans of her own. She has had her own personal experiences with the “stan culture” side of social media, especially as she’s been preparing for the release of her debut solo album, In Pieces, coming March 31.
Pop Crave spoke with Chloe Bailey about her new Prime Video series, Swarm, her relationship with social media, and her favorite moment from working with Dominique Fishback on set. Keep reading for the full interview!
Hi Chloe! First of all, congratulations on Swarm and all of your other recent successes. You’re doing so amazing right now! To kick things off about Swarm, in what ways would you say the show tested you as an actor in comparison to your past projects?
If I can be completely honest, being a part of this production made me fall more in love with acting because I was not acting. Marissa is Chloe, and it was scary but also important to show and share that side of me. You can never judge a book by its cover, and I’ll never shy away from being open and real about that, but to be able to almost relive events and portray that in Marissa, it was really important for me. I was honored to share that story of what she’s going through, and it’s okay and you’re not alone in that.
Similarly to your other incredible performance in the film Jane, this series tackles social media hate and the repercussions that can follow from posting hate about people online. What do you hope viewers take away from Swarm about healthy social media use?
You know, for me and how I practice being healthy in terms of the social media world, sometimes I have to step away from it. It’s such a huge blessing. Because of it, there’s people who know about me, I can connect with my fans online, and that’s how people discovered my sister and I from YouTube. I know I would not be here and be able to do what I love, make money off of it, and live off of it without social media, right? Now also, with anything good comes bad. People are completely entitled to have any opinions about anything, and I have to come to terms that I can’t please everybody. In everyday life, I just want everyone to feel comfortable, almost to the point where I’ll sacrifice my comfortability. But I think the past year and a half, I’m like, “You know what? I know God’s proud of me, I’m proud of me, and I’m just happy people are talking!”
Exactly! The numbers are going up!
Thank you! Period [laughs]!
Your scenes with Dominique Fishback are tremendous! You guys have such great chemistry on screen. What’s your favorite memory from working with her on set?
I have so many. There’s one, and even as I’m about to mention it, I have chills. I’ll never ever, ever, ever forget this feeling ever. It was our blowout argument scene, and I don’t think any of us were ready for the emotional weight that we would feel from doing that. We kind of just let ourselves be free, and each take was different. We weren’t setting to any certain type of mood or anything like that. We shot the scene quite quickly. We were in the darkroom where they had the mics set up and everything, and we were just crying and shaken up for 30 minutes. The weight of what we portrayed, it was so heavy. When you love somebody and you’re so dependent on them so that you feel happy, when they are not a part of your lives anymore, you feel powerless and you feel like there’s no reason for you to live anymore. That’s why I think it’s important to not be so dependent on one person.
I think it’s so important, and I’m so for it, about talking to somebody and things of that sort. Even though Marissa seems like she has it all together and she’s the one lifting Dre up, she has self-inflicted wounds, suicide attempts, and things like that. Dre, in her mind, she wants to protect her. That’s why she clings on so tightly to her to the point where Marissa feels suffocated. It’s a tug of war with them, but it’s all out of love and passion. Because they both are so traumatized, they don’t really know how to share love in the most healthy way. It’s almost like Dre doing all of this is to get justice for her sister and almost say sorry, in a way, to her.
Swarm, starring Chloe Bailey and Dominique Fishback, premieres March 17 on Prime Video.
The video-formatted version of our interview with Chloe Bailey is available to watch here.