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Meet 'Fighting With My Family' actress Florence Pugh 

Actress Florence Pugh who stars as Raya Knight

Actress Florence Pugh who stars as Raya Knight in the movie "Fighting With My Family," with Kidsday reporters Tylar Johnson, left, and Shayna Siegel, at the Essex House Hotel in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

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Interviewing Florence Pugh was a truly wonderful experience. With us, Florence was lighthearted, relatable and humorous.  We talked with her at the Essex Hotel in Manhattan.

In the movie at one point, your character Paige wanted to give up. Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt like you wanted to give up?

Florence explained that she got a lead role in a movie when she was 17, and expected more of the same without a doubt. But she didn’t pursue the start of her career like she hoped to. Florence had been hearing plenty of “nos” and wasn’t very active in the acting world for about a year and a half. She had felt like she wanted to give up at that point in her life, but ended up persevering and becoming the actress she is today.

Is it ever creepy to you when interviewers seem to know everything about you?

Florence laughed, and said to us that it’s actually nice when they know about me. She says she finds it a bit awkward when interviewers are completely misinformed about her and she has to correct them.

We said we liked that at one point in the movie Zak help her character, Paige, believe in herself. We wanted to know if there was a Zak in her life.

She said that everyone in her family was very supportive, but she said that her dad always believed in her and always had faith in her. He was the one who pushed her to pursue her acting career even in those hard times when she felt like she wasn't getting anywhere.

Knowing she often plays flawed and complicated characters, we asked her what she thought she had that made people want to cast her into that kind of role.

She said she wasn’t sure, but she did enjoy playing more complicated characters because “I’m flawed,” and she related with them and finds them more interesting.

Florence has been acting quite a bit starring in the TV series “The Little Drummer Girl” and also in the upcoming movie, “Little Women,” which comes out in December. Our final question was what does she do to relax.

 Florence said that she hangs out with friends, goes for walks with her Gran because her Gran is a big walker, and goes for tea with her Gran as well. “All the British things you could imagine,” she said with a smile.

The lesson of 'Fighting With My Family'

We went to a screening of the film, “Fighting With My Family,” starring Florence Pugh as Raya Knight, a member of a family that makes its living performing in wrestling matches around the country. The story is based on the real-life experiences of Saraya-Jade "Paige" Bevis who performed as a professional wrestler, and is reported to be the youngest winner of the Divas Championship, and the only woman to win in her debut performance.

It's a different life for the kids in the family. It made us want to ask: Is your life a little different from others? Have you ever felt like you simply didn’t fit in? Have you ever had one dream that stuck with you ever since you were a kid?

In the film, Paige (Florence Pugh) and Zak (Jack Lowden) Knight long to become wrestlers for World Wrestling Entertainment, which produces professional wrestling shows. But when  Paige is granted an opportunity to compete — leaving Zak behind — tensions rise between the two of them. While Zak must cope with this failure, Saraya must take on the ruthless environment of wrestling training. She finds in herself the determination to overcome her loneliness and the strength to embrace what set her apart there. Both siblings must learn a great deal about self-acceptance and the importance of family throughout their journeys. Kidsday reporter Tylar Johnson says, “The message that this movie says to me is to do everything you can for your family because they’re worth fighting for.”  

The story of Paige has inspired us. Throughout progression as a wrestler and as a person, her high level of perseverance has been showcased. She was able to teach us to never give up on our dreams, even when they become too hard, even when we don’t feel strong enough to achieve them. She’s taught us about embracing our differences, feeling comfortable in our own skin, and to have pride in our sometimes unusual personalities and backgrounds.

Anyone in need of some comedic relief could enjoy it, though it is best suited for teens. Treat yourself and see “Fighting With My Family.” It is rated PG-13 and we give it 4 (out of 5) smiles.

Mya Jassey, Tylar Johnson and Shayna Siegel

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