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Who Is Akira Akbar? Get To Know the Rising Star Who Plays Ashley Banks in 'Bel-Air'

Esther NJeri
Feb 15, 2022
08:40 A.M.
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It has taken years for the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" reboot to get here, but it finally did. The first three episodes of "Bel-Air" aired on Peacock on February 3, when fans met the new cast, including the rising star Akira Akbar. 

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"Bel-Air" follows the same plot as the original classic comedy. Will, a Philadelphia-born street-smart teen, gets into some trouble back home, and his mother sends him to live with his wealthy aunt and uncle in the upscale Bel-Air.

The cast is different from the sometimes crude but hilarious original show, with Will, previously played by Will Smith, going to Jabari Banks. Adrian Holmes plays Uncle Phil, a role originally played by James Avery.

Akira Akbar attends Peacock's new series "BEL-AIR" premiere party and drive-thru screening experience at Barker Hangar on February 09, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. | Photo: Getty Images

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Akira Akbar takes over the role of Ashley Banks, initially played by Tatyana Ali. Like in the original, the dark reimagining of the show casts Banks as Uncle Phil's youngest daughter, who is very close to Will.  

Before she began acting, the 16-year old was a model, working with multinational brands such as Levi's and Nike. Her first credited role was in a 2015 episode of "Criminal Minds," playing actress Danette Wilson's daughter.

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In 2017, the upcoming star played Amethyst Vasquez, the daughter of Harmony Vasquez, in the episode titled "Come on Down to My Boat, Baby" on season fourteen of "Grey's Anatomy."

She has also appeared in "This Is Us," playing Beth, a passionate and headstrong young ballerina who will stop at nothing to pursue dance. However, her most famous role remains her appearance in "Captain Marvel."

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Akbar made her feature film debut playing Monica Rambeau, the daughter of the late Maria Rambeau, in the million-dollar blockbuster Disney film. She recalls her experience shooting the film:

"Working on this marvel film was such a life-changing experience. I'm just in awe that I got to work with this amazing cast and crew. I will forever remember this amazing moment in my life."

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Other TV and movie appearances include the 2021 "Good Trouble" and "Family Reunion." She has also appeared on Netflix's "We Can Be Heroes," where she plays the character Fast Forward.

Her character, endowed with a unique superpower of forwarding time by a couple of seconds, uses her unique ability to help people get out of trouble. 

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When she is not acting on blockbuster films, the youngster loves running track, skateboarding, and playing with makeup. She is also an adept dancer. She showcases her skills on her TikTok videos, where she has amassed an impressive 1.6 million followers.

Her other hobbies include baking, which she loves for the creativity and fun involved. She spoke to Vulkan, saying baking was one of her favorite things to do, adding

"I love to bake because it's a creative process. Baking is not only about the taste, but it's also super fun to make."

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Akbar also loves practicing positive thinking and self-empowerment. The "Bel-Air" star says her mother encourages her to do her affirmations daily, which she believes is essential in helping her remember to be grateful for what she has.

The actress has been brave enough to take on roles in some of Hollywood's hit shows, but she still carries an exciting fear. Speaking on "The Real," she disclosed that she is afraid of Chuck E. Cheese because, well, he is a giant rat!

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