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How Ms Marvel’ star Iman Vallani is VERY similar to her character Kamala Khan

A Pakistani-born Canadian teenager is set to be the next big star of the MCU, after wowing fans in her debut as Ms Marvel.

Iman Vellani, 19, makes her television debut today as Kamala Khan (and her superpowered alter ego Ms Marvel) – a 16-year-old Pakistani-American teenager living in New Jersey in Disney Plus’s Ms Marvel. 

Kamala is obsessed with the Avengers during the series she discovers her own superpowers.

She balances her Muslim faith with typical teenage issues, including deciding on her future,  having crushes on boys, arguing with her parents and balancing her schoolwork, previously saying she really wanted to lean into the ‘coming of age corny vibe’ because ‘being a teenager is so embarrassing and sometime cringy’.

And just like her character Iman is a huge Marvel fan, with her previously dressing up as Ms Marvel for Halloween (although she says everyone thought she was the Flash).

She also admitted she spent all her pocket money growing up on McDonald’s and Iron Man comics, naming Robert Downey Jr. as one of her ‘top three favourite people’.

A Pakistani-born Canadian teenager is set to be the next big star of the MCU, after wowing fans in her debut as Ms Marvel. She is pictured on the red carpet

Iman Vellani, 19, makes her debut today as Kamala Khan - a 16-year-old Pakistani-American teenager living in New Jersey who is obsessed with the Avengers before discovering her own superpowers - in a new series that starts today on Disney Plus. Pictured in the show

Iman Vellani, 19, makes her debut today as Kamala Khan – a 16-year-old Pakistani-American teenager living in New Jersey who is obsessed with the Avengers before discovering her own superpowers – in a new series that starts today on Disney Plus. Pictured in the show

Now 19, Iman was cast on her last day of High School when she got a phone call from Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige while she was driving with friends. 

Despite it only being a year ago, she told the New York Times she feels ’20 years older’ since being cast, and the show is like ‘the best into to film making ever’.

Speaking to Esquire Middle East she described how she she discovered she’d got the role, minutes after she’d been picked up by her friend to go shopping after finishing their final day of school virtually due to Canada’s Covid rules at the time. 

‘I get a text from [casting director] Sara Finn, and she says, “can you get on a call right now?” And I’m like, “no” . My friends didn’t know I had auditioned. 

‘And then she says, “I just sent you the link, get on.”  I said, “okay”, so as I get out of my friend’s car, and I’m on her driveway, I open the Zoom link, and it’s just Kevin’s face. I know there’s like 15 other people on the call, but I literally could not see anyone but Kevin Feige.’

She describes Fiege as a ‘deity in every sense of the word’ and ‘one of her favourite three people ever’ (the other two being Robert Downey Jr, who plays the original MCU hero Iron Man and musician Billy Joel),  

‘I could not breathe, or talk, or anything. It was on the Zoom app, so you have to keep talking for people to see you. And I couldn’t keep talking, I was just like heavy breathing to make any noise. But yeah, Kevin told me about the part.’.

Now 19, Iman was cast on her last day of High School when she got a phone call from Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige while she was driving with friends.

She is pictured on The Tonight Show with Jiimmy Fallon

Now 19, Iman was cast on her last day of High School when she got a phone call from Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige while she was driving with friends.  She is pictured on The Tonight Show with Jiimmy Fallon

Yasmeen Fletcher, Matthew Lintz and Iman Vellani in a scene from the series Ms Marvel, which airs today

Yasmeen Fletcher, Matthew Lintz and Iman Vellani in a scene from the series Ms Marvel, which airs today 

Iman added that she was ‘in shock for a year and half’ and ‘is only now processing the news’.    

‘My friends asked, ‘did you win the lottery? Or what happened?’ I said, ‘basically?’ I told them, and we were just like screaming in the car. Yeah. It’s a very weird moment. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t know how to react.; 

They went on to get burritos in celebration.

She heard about the casting call, in what she describes as ‘the most brown way possible’ through a WhatsApp forward from her aunt.

Despite describing it as ‘looking super sketchy’ she went on to do the call to much success.

Two days after she sent her tape, she got a call saying she was going to be flown out to LA. 

My dad flew with me to LA and it was the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life. I just wanted to use that experience as much as I could, because I didn’t know if I’d ever be in the same room with Marvel employees again, or if I was going to get the part or not. I just I really took full advantage of that,’ she explained.

Iman, pictured in the show, describes Fiege as a 'deity in every sense of the word' and 'one of her favourite three people ever' (the other two being Robert Downey Jr, who plays the original MCU hero Iron Man and musician Billy Joel),

Iman, pictured in the show, describes Fiege as a ‘deity in every sense of the word’ and ‘one of her favourite three people ever’ (the other two being Robert Downey Jr, who plays the original MCU hero Iron Man and musician Billy Joel), 

Iman, pictured in the show, first heard about the role, in what she describes as 'the most brown way possible' after her aunt got sent the casting call through a WhatsApp forward. Despite describing it as 'looking super sketchy' she went on to do the call.

Iman, pictured in the show, first heard about the role, in what she describes as ‘the most brown way possible’ after her aunt got sent the casting call through a WhatsApp forward. Despite describing it as ‘looking super sketchy’ she went on to do the call.

Iman Vellani, star of the Disney+ series "Ms. Marvel," poses for a portrait Unlike many Gen Z-ers, Iman is completely off social media and keeps her private life very quiet.

Iman Vellani, star of the Disney+ series “Ms. Marvel,” poses for a portrait Unlike many Gen Z-ers, Iman is completely off social media and keeps her private life very quiet.

Unlike many Gen Z-ers, Iman is completely off social media and keeps her private life very quiet.

She was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to Markham, Ontario in Canada as a baby.

Her father is an accountant and her mother is a nurse practitioner, while her brother, who is six years her senior, is an engineer.

Despite being the only person in her family to go into showbiz, she credits her big brother for helping her fall in love with the MCU.

‘We only ever watched stuff that he wanted to watch – Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean and the MCU,’ she told the Guardian.

She was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to Markham, Ontario in Canada as a baby. Her father is an accountant and her mother is a nurse practitioner, while her brother, who is six years her senior, is an engineer. She is pictured on the TV show with her TV family. From left: Mohan Kapur, Iman Vellani, Nimra Bucha and Saagar Shaikh

She was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to Markham, Ontario in Canada as a baby. Her father is an accountant and her mother is a nurse practitioner, while her brother, who is six years her senior, is an engineer. She is pictured on the TV show with her TV family. From left: Mohan Kapur, Iman Vellani, Nimra Bucha and Saagar Shaikh

In her school days, Iman would go everyday to her local comic book store to buy copies of the Iron Man comics, and one day she noticed one with a Pakistani-American teenage girl on the cover. She is pictured in the show

In her school days, Iman would go everyday to her local comic book store to buy copies of the Iron Man comics, and one day she noticed one with a Pakistani-American teenage girl on the cover. She is pictured in the show

The star has also said the show has helped her connect with her heritage. 'Being Pakistani was a part of my life I was very dismissive about, and I felt disconnected from my culture prior to this show,' she told Cosmo. She is pictured in the show

The star has also said the show has helped her connect with her heritage. ‘Being Pakistani was a part of my life I was very dismissive about, and I felt disconnected from my culture prior to this show,’ she told Cosmo. She is pictured in the show

 ‘I think my parents, being immigrants, wanted us to try new things,’ Iman told the Hollywood Reporter. ‘They would never be the ones to be like, “Just focus on your studies,”‘ because you can do that anywhere. They brought their kids to a different country so they could have different opportunities.’

In her school days, Iman would  go everyday to her local comic book store to buy copies of the Iron Man comics, and one day she noticed one with a Pakistani-American teenage girl on the cover.

After that, she never missed an issue describing Ms Marvel as her ‘total comfort character’.

‘She felt so much like me, and a lot of that comes from not just her background and ethnicity but because she’s such a fan of the Marvel universe, too,’ she added to the Hollywood Reporter.

‘The first issue of Ms Marvel I picked up was when Kamala is celebrating Eid. I showed it to my dad!’

Bullied: The 19-year-old daughter of Pakastani Muslim immigrants in Canada makes her acting debut as Kamala Khan - an imaginative, Captain Marvel-obsessed Pakastani-American 16-year-old living in New Jersey

Bullied: The 19-year-old daughter of Pakastani Muslim immigrants in Canada makes her acting debut as Kamala Khan – an imaginative, Captain Marvel-obsessed Pakastani-American 16-year-old living in New Jersey

Kamala says in the preview: 'Maybe they're right. I spend too much time in fantasy land. It's not really the brown girls from Jersey City who save the world. That's a fantasy too'

Kamala says in the preview: ‘Maybe they’re right. I spend too much time in fantasy land. It’s not really the brown girls from Jersey City who save the world. That’s a fantasy too’

After finding a magical wrist cuff inside a trunk, Khan develops 'cosmic' superpowers

After finding a magical wrist cuff inside a trunk, Khan develops ‘cosmic’ superpowers

The star has also said the show has helped her connect with her heritage.      

‘Being Pakistani was a part of my life I was very dismissive about, and I felt disconnected from my culture prior to this show,’ she told Cosmo.  

‘I didn’t really have any Muslim Pakistani friends. Being on the show and seeing so many Pakistani and Indian actors that I grew up watching with my family and, and Sana Amanat who co-created the character was just like my big sister throughout this whole process,’ she added.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk