1923’s Aminah Nieves (Teonna Rainwater) Says She Almost Didn’t Audition For The Role: “I Didn’t Feel Worthy To Tell This Story”

1923 Yellowstone

1923, the latest prequel series to Yellowstone, is officially in full force, as it premiered last Sunday.

Needless to say, the show is off to one helluva start, as the series premiere wracked up a whopping 7.4 million views, the highest in Paramount+ history.

Of course, the fact that famed actors Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren are starring in the show as Jacob and Cara Dutton has helped turn some eyes, but it’s the intriguing storyline, as it follows the Dutton family following World War I, during Prohibition, the beginning of the Great Depression, the emergence of new diseases, and more.

In episode one, we got introduced to Teonna Rainwater, a young Native American woman who is at a Catholic boarding school in North Dakota.

And our introduction was not an easy one.

In just the first two episodes, we got to see the brutality that these Indigenous girls suffered back in the ’20s at the hands of the school’s faculty, which includes physical beatings, time in solitary confinement, sexual assault and more.

With that being said, Aminah Nieves, who plays Teonna Rainwater in the show, recently sat down for an interview with E News.

In the interview she shared some intriguing information, about how she nearly didn’t take the role.

She told the outlet:

“I didn’t want to do it. I actually told my manager that I wasn’t going to audition for it. It’s a big burden and you’re opening up a lot more when you’re actually living in what your family lived through.”

However, she remembered that she wasn’t doing this for her, but for the Native Americans who suffered heavily during this time period. She helped to paint the picture of this difficult part of history:

“Because of their strength and because of what they did for us, I didn’t have to live through that in the same exact way that they did. We still go through many adversities today, but I didn’t have to live in it.

At points, I was speaking with my Mom a lot, I almost didn’t feel worthy enough to tell this story because it’s so important. It’s scary when you’re telling something that has been a part of you since you were just a thought, since you were a little light beam in the cosmos… it’s terrifying.”

And once she auditioned for the role, that’s when she knew she was in the right place:

“After the third self-tape, I couldn’t not do it. I could not get that third self-tape. I couldn’t get through it, I was bawling.

I was like, ‘Yeah Teonna… I need to do it, not only for me, but I looked at my Mom on the other side. I gotta do it for her.'”

For my money, 1923 might be Taylor Sheridan’s best work to date, but Teonna’s scenes are definitely some of the hardest to watch. The cruelty, the abuse, the lack of fundamental Gospel understanding and compassion from men and women who are supposed to be teachers of Christianity no less… don’t get me wrong, the scenes are compelling and very well done, but you can help but feel some anger well up in you.

For a quick taste of 1923, you can watch the entire first episode right… HERE:

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