Inuvialuit woman lead actress in new episode of The Twilight Zone

Marika Sila said she was at the gym when she got an email that brought her to tears. 

It said the Inuvialuit actress was chosen as the lead character of an episode of the rebooted series The Twilight Zone.

"I just burst into happy tears," said Sila, who's a hoop dance performer, motivational speaker and budding actress.

The original The Twilight Zone was a 1950s and 60s sci-fi, drama and suspense series hit. CBS's latest remake started airing on April 1.

Its fourth episode, called "The Traveler" — starring Sila, Greg Kinnear and Steven Yeun — aired Thursday.

Sila's family is originally from Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., and she spent her early childhood in Yellowknife. 

Submitted by Marika Sila

It's her first big debut, Sila said. She's had a small role on the comedy series Lucifer; she was also the lead in a short film called The Last Walk filmed in Alaska, which recently got her nominated for best emerging actress at a film festival in San Francisco.

"It's such a crazy feeling," said Sila, who currently lives in Edmonton. "Telling my family — my mom and my dad were so excited."

She said when she got an audition for the role she "just had a good feeling about it." 

The character is an Inuk woman and the first officer to attain the rank of sergeant in Alaska.

"I was like wow this is such a cool role."

Sila said she's wasn't familiar with the original The Twilight Zone series, but noticed it was a huge part of pop culture in the film industry.

"It's always quoted and brought up by directors and producers," she said. 

Watch Marika Sila in action in the trailer for The Traveler

Since getting the role, she's been catching up on old episodes to learn more about the show. And in the lead up to the episode airing, Sila said people recognized her in the streets just from the trailer.

"It was definitely a challenge. I've never worked so hard in my entire life at something. But it felt like I was on vacation the whole time."

She said her pursuit of a career in acting is motivated by something bigger.

"It's always been something that I've wanted. I've always been interested in raising awareness about Indigenous rights issues and environmental issues."

Sila said she's waiting to hear back on two other acting gigs for the summer.