The mediums may continue to change, but the message is the same for Kali Reis.
Immediately after winning WBA gold, the proud advocate of indigenous peoples’ rights was given the opportunity that very few others are ever pursued for and she jumped at the chance. After a strange but enticing message came across Reis’ social media, she took a leap of faith and agreed to star in her first film.
If she was going to accept, Reis wouldn’t half ass the effort. She was playing the lead role.
“As an athlete, I get dozens of ‘Hey, I’m a big director, I want you in my movie,’” Reis said with a laugh. “But I checked [director Josef Kubota Wladyka] out and he already had a movie out and he directed Narcos and The Walking Dead. He’s done a lot of TV episodic television and he had a movie. He came up to Rhode Island, got to know me and he told me about this story that he had and he let me read the script.”
June 13th official #Tribeca2021 in person premier for @ctfomovie ‼️🔥 Up for the US narrative Competition 🙏🏽✨ June 14th 6 pm y’all can #Catch the virtual premier. Hit the link in my bio 🤙🏽💜@Tribeca @loudibella @mynette @DarrenAronofsky @SNACsystem @RhodeIslandRT @SWTribe pic.twitter.com/2tfAY6qSJP— Kali KO Mequinoag Reis (@KO_Reis86) June 7, 2021
Kubota Wladyka must have really done his research because he couldn’t have casted the lead role any better.
The fight Reis has been fighting her entire career was the exact message the main character would be fighting for in his new film, “Catch the Fair One.”
“It’s about an indigenous woman who is searching for her sister,” Reis explained. “She used to be a boxer and she takes it upon herself to go look for her sister. She launches herself willingly into a sex trafficking world to look for her sister.”
At 17-7 in her career, Reis thought her five knockouts were a rush. but in an apples to oranges comparison, the immediate accolades of her film debut were right up there as far as life achievements.
“The fact that he even got it to premiere on a prestigious stage such as the Tribeca Film Festival because of the context of what the movie is about is huge,” Reis proudly said.
While a boxer fighting to shine a light on a subject close to her heart but hidden from most Americans’ psyche, playing a boxer immersing herself in sex slavery to free her kidnapped sister might seem like a role close enough to her personality to pull off with ease, the WBO champion explains that the mental state she put herself in day in and day out was impossible to prepare for.
“Honestly it wasn’t easy,” Reis explained. “It wasn’t a comedy; it was a very dark movie. From my perspective, being an indigenous woman, the missing and murdered indigenous women or the generic genetic genocide that we deal with, just being mixed indigenous as a whole, I can go into all that. It was hard, it was very hard, and I was in every scene. It was hard work, remembering lines and really embarking on that character, because even though I played a boxer whose name is Kali and is indigenous and boxed, she’s still a character.”
After spending multiple years on a project she’s ecstatic to continue to introduce the world to, Reis is back in the ring and plans to jump back in the only way she knows how.
A fighter who steps away for years to star in and write a movie doesn’t come back with anything less than 100% investment.
Friday, August 20, Reis plans to show the world she’s not just an actress and if you have forgotten that, it won’t take long for her to remind you when she battles Diana Prazak.
“You can expect to see me in there putting it all in the ring,” Reis said. “I can box, I can brawl, every fight that I have I get better. There’s always something more for the fans to see. Expect us to duke it out. I know she’s there to fight. We wanted other opponents, but due to sanctioning issues this is what we got and I respect her. I’m ready to put it in there. Tune in, man. 10 rounds of action.”
Catch Kali Reis’ return to the ring, Friday, August 20, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!