Miia Harris is one of Hollywood’s new faces who stars as “Clawdeen Wolf” in the spooky yet cooky, family fun film, “Monster High: The Movie,” and its sequel “Monster High 2,” currently streaming on Paramount+.
Harris hails from the small town of Matthews, North Carolina. Harris says living in Los Angeles now is starkly different from living in Matthews. Coming from a very athletic family, it is a mystery to Harris how she ever found the arts.
“That [athletics] just got lost in the gene pool for me,” said Harris. “I was always performing. I got my first karaoke machine when I was four years old. I sang and danced and wanted to tell stories my whole life.”
She remembers beginning dance classes at the age of eight and acting classes at nine.
“My first ever musical was in the seventh grade, and I was cast as Peter Pan in ‘Peter Pan the Musical,’ and that was a big ole shock. I was not expecting a little biracial girl from North Carolina to be cast as Peter Pan, said Harris.
Harris says growing up she didn’t really think about being biracial because there were not a lot of other biracial families around in Matthews. However, Harris says she met more growing up.
“It was always an anomaly. I remember being in the second grade and people being like, ‘so are you adopted,’” remembered Harris. “I was like, ‘no I’m not!’ My mom is white, and my dad is Black!”
Harris says it just wasn’t a part of the dialogue down South when she was coming of age, but she remembers being fortunate because her parents raised her to be proud of both of her cultures.
Harris’ character in the “Monster High” films, Clawdeen, is very similar to Harris herself.
Based on the Mattel fashion doll collection and the subsequent film and television cartoons of the same name, Monster High is a secondary school attended by the children of legendary monsters. Clawdeen is the daughter of a werewolf mother and a human father.
“I grew up on ‘Monster High,’” said Harris. “I had ‘Monster High’ dolls. In the third grade at recess, my friends and I would play ‘Monster High,’ and I would always be Clawdeen.
“I kind of cheated, I’ve been playing Clawdeen my whole life,” mused Harris.
According to the “Monster High: The Movie” storyline, humans and monsters are not allowed to marry and have children.
“Half-humans are not allowed in ‘Monster High,’ so the first movie follows her [Clawdeen’s] journey to acceptance and being able to be her authentic self in an environment that’s not so accepting,” said Harris.
“The second movie, there are new students, and her new freedoms are being challenged all over again. It’s a fight for diversity and inclusion with fabulous hair, makeup, and dancing in six-inch heels,” she added.
Harris says Clawdeen reminds her of a 16-year-old, Miia Harris. Clawdeen is trying to be comfortable with herself in a world that does not want her to be.
“I think that’s a story of lot of young women, a lot of young women of color can relate to,” concluded Harris.