Hollywood’s Next Big Thing: ‘Independence Day’ Actress Maika Monroe Goes From Pro Kiteboarder to Breakout Star

The 23-year-old former athlete, who got her big break in 2014’s Sundance hit ‘It Follows,’ is making the leap to tentpole with a role in ‘Resurgence.’

Up until age 17, Maika Monroe glided across a different shimmering surface than the big screen. The Santa Barbara native was living in the Dominican Republic as a top-ranked professional kiteboarder, an extreme sport that looks something like snowboarding on water. For years, Monroe had been sending out mostly ignored audition tapes to casting agents. But in 2011, she received a call about playing Zac Efron’s love interest in the family drama At Any Price. She landed the role, and her future quickly changed course. A bit part in The Bling Ring and a showy role in The Guest followed before she nabbed the lead in the Sundance horror breakout It Follows. Now, she’s making the leap to tentpole with Fox’s Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24), playing former First Daughter Patricia Whitmore. Though she’s largely shelved the board and sunblock, she still gets out on the water between roles (“It really helps me stay sane,” she says.) The actress spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about who she bonded with most on set, the perils of Hollywood and whether or not we’ve been visited by ETs.

How has kiteboarding helped you as an actress?

It taught me determination, working hard for something. There’s lots of discipline. I enjoy roles that are quite physical. That was really fun with Independence Day, being a fighter pilot, kicking some ass.

 
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