Kam Williams | 8/29/2012, 10:11 a.m.
Quvenzhané “Nazie” Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

Quvenzhané “Nazie” Wallis was born on August 28, 2003, in Houma, La., where she attends Honduras Elementary School. She is the daughter of Venjie and Qulyndreia Wallis, and sister to Qunyquekya, Vejon and Venjie Jr.

Nazie loves reading, singing, dancing, acting and playing her iPod and Nintendo DS. She’s a big fan of China McClain, Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus, and her favorite sports are basketball, volleyball, dance and cheerleading.

Here, she talks about her Oscar-worthy performance as Hushpuppy in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” a visually enchanting modern parable issuing a dire warning about the threat to the planet posed by civilization and corporations if left unchecked.  

I know that you also went to the Sundance Film Festival and travelled to France for the Cannes Film Festival. What was that like?

I had a lot of fun in France. I liked how they said my name over there. They wouldn’t say Quvenzhané. They would say a whole other thing.

What type of name is Quvenzhané? I thought it was French, especially since you’re from Louisiana, where there are a lot of people with French ancestry.

It’s Swahili.

My name is Swahili, too. Kam is short for Kamau.

[To her mother, excitedly] His name is Swahili, too! [To me] What does Kamau mean?

“Quiet warrior.” What does your name mean? 

My name means “fairy.”

May I call you by your nickname, Nazie?

Yes, but it’s pronounced “Nay-zee.”

Sorry, “Nay-zee.” You were only 5 when you auditioned for the role of Hushpuppy. Had you acted or taken acting lessons before?

Did you enjoy making “Beasts of the Southern Wild?”

A lot of scenes were shot on the bayou and around animals like alligators, pigs and chickens. Were you ever afraid, Nazie?

Yes, I was afraid of the pig.

You are the youngest of four kids. Do your sister and big brothers treat you any differently now that you’re a movie star?

Nope, they treat me the same way.

Nazie, are you anything like your character, Hushpuppy?

In some ways I am, in some ways I’m not. We both like to go outside and do some things that you wouldn’t even think about. 

What do you think people will learn from this movie?

That when you’re a little kid, you might have to take care of your parents as much as they take care of you. Otherwise, they might get sick, and that’s something you don’t want to happen. 

What do you like to do to have fun?

Ride my bike.

What is your favorite movie?

“Happy Feet Two.”

What is your favorite book?

“Judy Moody.”

Have you seen the Judy Moody movie?

No, I don’t think so, but I might have seen it at school.

I think you’d remember it if you’d seen it. It’s really cool! What do you like to watch on TV?

The Disney Channel.

Which Disney show is your favorite, Nazie?


I heard that you got along with Dwight Henry, who plays your father in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” because he gave you a lot of brownies and cupcakes from his bakery the day he had to audition with you.