HomeEntertainment NewsChloe Bailey on Going from Playing Young Beyoncé to Prime Video's 'Swarm'

Chloe Bailey on Going from Playing Young Beyoncé to Prime Video’s ‘Swarm’

It isn’t easy thriving in two different sectors of the entertainment industry, but Chloe Bailey is absolutely soaring as a singer and actress, right alongside her sister, Halle Bailey.

In addition to finding great success as Chloe x Halle, the Bailey sisters started carving out some significant space for themselves in film and television via the ABC sitcom Grown-ish. When that show came to an end, both continued to pursue both crafts, racking up a number of impressive acting credits along the way. Halle Bailey, of course, is our new Ariel in the live-action version of The Little Mermaid, and Chloe Bailey’s filmography is packed with bold titles that offer the opportunity to explore complex characters like the Netflix film, Jane, and now the new Prime Video series, Swarm.


From co-creators Janine Nabers and Donald Glover, Swarm stars Dominique Fishback as Dre, a woman living with her sister (Bailey’s Marissa) who grew up obsessed with a pop star called Ni’Jah and remains a diehard fan as an adult. As stated in the show’s trailer, “Talk about Ni’Jah, you get stung.” Dre takes defending her idol very seriously, and it’s a level of dedication that often lands Dre in very dark places.

Dominique Fishback as Dre in Swarm
Image via Prime Video

With all seven episodes of Swarm now available to stream on Prime Video, Bailey took the time to celebrate by joining us for an episode of Collider Ladies Night Pre-Party to recap her journey from her earliest acting and music ambitions to singing the National Anthem at the 2022 World Series and starring in Swarm.

Her aunt first recognized her ability to sing when Bailey was just two-years-old, but it was actually the opportunity to act professionally that came first. Here’s how Bailey described it

“Acting actually came first. My very first audition I was three and a half, and I auditioned in Fighting Temptations to play the younger version of Beyoncé, so it’s funny how the universe works. And from then on, I just kept it going and doing a lot of stuff with Tyler Perry and theater and things like that. I just really love performing and entertaining and using my body in every way, whether it’s acting or my vocal cords to sing, or things like that. So I was happy that with Swarm I was able to do both in a way and not have it break the fourth wall or mess anything up.”

Given the fact that this is an industry with a habit of boxing creators into the first sector where they find success, someone with a deep passion for two crafts can run the risk of excelling in one meaning letting go of the other. But not Bailey. Yes, there were concerns about getting folks to see her as a serious actress, but Bailey never let that stop her. She explained:

“My concern, because I’m such an over-thinker and always in my head — and that was one of the things [that] I loved about Swarm because it’s all about mental health — I was like, I’m doing music, that’s what everyone sees. I’m putting in so many hours. The more hours you put into something when you’re perfecting your craft, you naturally get more confident. I was like, would people take me seriously as an actress? I perform when I’m on stage, I act when I’m on stage, but will people see me, will people see the character when they see me on the screen? So when people were surprised that I acted, it kind of started with Grown-ish, but that was like cute comedy college stuff, and I’m happy now that I have been able to get more serious roles where people see that I’m actually an actress. And I also use acting as a form of therapy and finding pieces of myself through the character, and I really found a deep, fond appreciation for acting in the past three years, as much as I have with music.”


Even though Bailey made her feature debut 20 years ago and began making an especially big impression via Grown-ish five years ago, her acting ambitions continue to evolve. When asked for the project that helped her put her acting goals into perspective the most, she actually pinpointed some upcoming titles:

“It really started budding with a project I got before this, and I said, ‘Okay, this is the tone and direction that I want to continue on with [in] my acting career,’ and I can’t wait to talk about them. I shot this really fun film in Atlanta that’s coming out soon, Praise This, that’s light-hearted and fun, and also these other dark pieces that I’ve also been cast in. So it’s been fun being able to be authentic and not have to put on a facade or front or any fake-ness or anything like that. And each role that I have gotten, it’s crazy how the universe works, I can always find a piece of myself within the character and in the role, and I really connected with [Swarm’s] Marissa. I really did because on the outside she is just always happy, she’s such a beam of light, she’s who carries her sister, and she’s in love with her man, but then when you start seeing her scars, and you start hearing certain conversations with her and Dre, you realize that she’s more broken than she appears.”

A key tool Bailey had at her disposal while exploring Marissa? An A+ scene partner in Dominique Fishback. Fishback’s proven time and time again that she’s one of the most exciting talents on the rise right now. It began with Night Comes On, then we got Project Power and Judas and the Black Messiah, and now Fishback delivers a true one-of-a-kind powerhouse performance in Swarm. (An Emmy nomination-worthy performance, perhaps?)

Dominique Fishback and Chloe Bailey in Swarm
Image via Prime Video

All of Dre and Marissa’s interactions in Swarm’s first episode are absolutely vital to setting a strong foundation for the full season, but Bailey pinpointed one particular moment that proved especially emotional and impactful:

“It was so inspiring being on set with Dom. She’s one of my favorite scene partners ever. It was just really exciting. Our synergy was so electric. And this one specific scene, it’s my favorite scene in the first episode, on paper it did not read as heartbreaking as it actually was. When we trusted the scene and let it take us where it needed to take us, even after we finished shooting it, we were stuck there for a good 30 to 45 minutes, we both were just uncontrollably sobbing. So it’s crazy what will happen and what will unlock within you when you just relinquish control and allow yourself to be free.”

Nothing I tell you will prepare you for what goes down on Swarm after the particular sequence Bailey is teasing. Bailey and Fishback’s synergy is electric, and so is every ounce of Dre’s journey throughout the season. Check it out for yourself on Prime Video now and be sure to watch Bailey’s full Collider Ladies Night Pre-Party interview in the video at the top of this article or listen to the conversation in podcast form below:



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