Learn more about 19-year-old Iman Vellani, who is getting raves for her performance in the new Disney+ series
Iman Vellani is taking on her dream role.
With Disney+’s series Ms. Marvel, which premieres on June 8, the 19-year-old Pakistani-Canadian actress joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the title character Kamala Khan.
Not only does the role mark Vellani’s onscreen debut, but the character is also the MCU’s first on-screen Muslim superhero.
Set in New Jersey, the series follows a young teenager’s journey from regular high schooler to bonafide superhero.
While Vellani is already getting major buzz for her role, this is only the beginning for her as she’s slated to appear in The Marvels alongside Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Zawe Ashton next year.
As Vellani gets ready to take over the MCU, learn more about her with these facts.
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She was a huge fan of Ms. Marvel before getting the role
Vellani was actually a huge fan of Ms. Marvel before scoring the role. In fact, she dressed up as her for Halloween one year!
“I only auditioned [for Ms. Marvel] because I am obsessed with Ms. Marvel and the comics,” she tells PEOPLE. “I have so much love for this character and for the Marvel universe and that’s really what drove me. It was my first audition and I really only wanted to just meet people at Marvel. I think they just saw how much I love this world and gave me the opportunity and the trust to bring Kamala to life.”
Ms. Marvel is her first major role
Though Vellani had previously appeared in a few short films, Ms. Marvel is her TV debut and her first role as the lead. She is set to make her feature film debut with The Marvels in 2023.
She went to school for theater
Despite going to school for theater, Vellani didn’t actually want to become an actor originally.
“I literally told everyone I wasn’t going to be an actor because I went to high school for theater and it was an art school,” she tells PEOPLE. “No one really went into the arts after high school, so I wanted to do more tech-related stuff and work with different mediums to make art.”
“Now here I am and I’m absorbing everything like a sponge and learning so much from so many people,” she adds.
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She hopes her Ms. Marvel character helps people feel seen
With the release of Ms. Marvel, Vellani hopes that people feel represented on screen. “I really do think that we’ve represented the group of people we want to represent quite well,” she tells PEOPLE. “I only wanted to bring everything that I love from the comics and we achieved that.”
“I think [Kamala’s] going to hit home for a lot of people, a lot of young people who never saw themselves represented in a positive light before,” she adds.
She isn’t very active on social media
Vellani recently joined Instagram but doesn’t appear to have any other active social media profiles.
Her favorite Marvel character isn’t Captain Marvel
While her character looks up to Captain Marvel, one of Vellani’s favorite superheroes is the one who started the MCU. When speaking with PEOPLE, she said that if she were to attend an AvengerCon like her character does on the series, she would dress up as Iron Man.