Meet the Instagram Star Whose Tattoos and Neon Hair Won Her a Breakthrough Role in The Florida Project

Meet the Instagram Star Whose Tattoos and Neon Hair Won Her a Breakthrough Role in The Florida Project

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Meet the Instagram Star Whose Tattoos and Neon Hair Won Her a Breakthrough Role in The Florida Project

According to Instagram, Bria Vinaite—with her heavily inked skin and ponytails in varying degrees of neon colors, from blue to orange to purple—was posting a lot of videos of herself smiling, smoking weed and dancing to the likes of Future, 2 Chainz and Rae Sremmurd when director Sean Baker DM’d her about auditioning for his next film, The Florida Project. “I was literally just a girl from Brooklyn completely tatted up just trying to figure out my life,” says Vinaite, 24, of the serendipitously virtual scout that brought her to the silver screen. “I’m not religious, but I feel like there has to be a higher power up there.”

The Florida Project (out this month), Baker’s follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Tangerine —a sleeper hit shot on an iPhone about sunny Los Angeles and its forgotten characters on the outskirts of society—is a coming-of-age film about young kids who live week-to-week at a low-rent motel called The Magic Castle. While the building’s magenta stucco walls stand right across the highway from Disney World and its towering Magic Kingdom, this gang of kindergarteners, led by a precocious six-year-old named Moonie, doesn’t spend time waiting on line for pictures with Minnie Mouse. Instead, they skip through summer afternoons solo, conning their way through enough change to buy an ice cream cone. Vinaite debuts as Moonie’s much-too-young mom Halley, who finds herself out of a job stripping and struggling to make ends meet. And while the story of Halley belongs to Baker, the character’s unique look is all Vinaite’s own: lip piercings, streaky turquoise strands and countless tattoos that include butterflies, a sliver of a moon with a face on it, and a shaded-in marijuana leaf, drawn down her legs, arms, hands and up her neck. “I never counted how many tattoos I have,” says the actress, “but I started getting them at a really young age, so most of my big ones are cover ups.” That ornate […]