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Rihanna Wants 'Little Girls to Feel Empowered' by New Role

Photograph by Jim Smeal/BEImages

Girl power is going strong at the multiplex this month, and "Home" from DreamWorks Animation is one film that takes that theme and boosts it literally out of this world.

The movie tells the story of Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons), a lovable misfit from another planet, whose alien race, the Boov, have come to take over Earth. He forms an unlikely friendship with a young girl named Tip (Rihanna), while on the run from the Boov leader Captain Smek (Steve Martin). Their adventures lead them to a deeper understanding of the word "home."

Mom.me had the chance to sit down with the stars of the film for a behind-the-scenes look at the family-friendly movie, which opens in theaters March 27.

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For parents of girls, Rihanna explains that her character, Tip, is meant to be a realistic depiction of a modern-day heroine.

"It was both important to me and DreamWorks Animation for this to be as realistic as possible," she says. "We wanted little girls to feel empowered—little girls of any size, shape, color, race ... it didn't matter. We wanted girls to just feel strong and brave and empowered and beautiful and like they can do anything. They can take charge of their life or their situation, no matter what.

"And I think we were really, really careful—especially with the animation and making sure that she wore the right things—that her body was not unrealistic," she continues. "I think for kids, that's going to be very special—for young girls, especially."

In the movie, Oh accidentally hits "send all" on an Evite, unwittingly alerting the Boov's enemy of their whereabouts on Earth. The stars of the film explain that they've personally been affected by just this type of technical glitch.

"I've done that thing where you forward an email to someone, and you forget that your earlier correspondence is down in the bottom," says Martin, who plays the arrogant and comedically inept leader of the Boov. "And you wonder, did they read five paragraphs down? 'I'll forward this to moron.' You know?"

One of the big themes of the movie is what it's like to be an outsider in your own group. The stars could all relate to that sentiment.

"I have felt like an outsider, ever since my first day at school," says the Barbados-born Rihanna. "I mean I think that's really it. ... When you're at home, you have this sense of comfort. You belong. It's familiar. It is you.

"Not until you leave your home and you have to be in another environment, supervised by completely different people and around different children who come from different homes, you're immediately exposed to all these type of things because just as strange as they are to you, you are to them," she continues. "It really is just about being who you are, no matter what."

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Parsons, who also stars on "The Big Bang Theory," agrees. But he says there's really only one choice to get through that rough patch.

"And it's to stay true to yourself and know that there are people who, if you're running into people who think you're a real weirdo right now and seem to judge you, there's plenty of those who aren't," he says. "And eventually, that's going to be your money maker, frankly. Embrace your freak."

Martin says that while he felt different, he also turned the concept into something positive.

"At 12 or 13, I felt like an outsider at school," he says. "And then this new usage of a word came in, which was 'nonconformist.' And you were lauded if you were a nonconformist. I thought, 'I'm not an outsider. I'm a nonconformist.' So, I was feeling pretty good at that point. I still had no friends. But, I was a nonconformist with no friends."

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