Wakanda Forever star Dominique Thorne empowers tiny heroes with help from Puffs

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 23: Dominique Thorne attends Entertainment Weekly's Annual Comic-Con Bash at Float at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 23, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 23: Dominique Thorne attends Entertainment Weekly's Annual Comic-Con Bash at Float at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 23, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images) /

Wakanda Forever star Dominique Thorne is helping empower some tiny heroes with Puffs and the brand’s Puffs Power Pals program! 

Following the inaugural launch of the Puffs Power Pals last year, Puffs is once again bringing the Puffs Power Pals together this time by looking to lend a soft touch to the world’s fiercest superheroes at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with help from Marvel’s newest hero.

Hot off her debut as Riri Williams aka Ironheart in Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, actress Dominique Thorne is teaming up with Puffs tissues to help empower the superheroes at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Certain treatments can make the skin of children with life-threatening conditions dry, rough, itchy, and red. Use of regular tissues simply increases the likelihood of developing a painful, red nose during the oncoming cold and flu season. This is why Puffs has teamed up with Thorne who knows all too well about the strength of superheroes and what it’s like to face and overcome unique challenges in the industry.

Through the Power Pals initiative, Puffs is on a mission to blast sore, red noses this season with Puffs Ultra Soft and empower the children that fight like superheroes every single day. Each of these little heroes received their own personalized Puffs Plus Lotion tissue box and comic book cover inspired by their own likeness. Additionally, Puffs is donating $25,000 and 3,500 boxes of Puffs Ultra Soft to the little noses in need at Children’s HealthCare of Atlanta.

The partnership also allowed Thorne to connect with the superheroes at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to spread some joy among the little heroes battling adversity and facing challenges every day. And thanks to the Puffs team, Bam Smack Pow had the chance to speak with Thorne about the incredible Puffs Power Pals initiative, her visit with the kids at Children’s HealthCare of Atlanta, and what it has meant becoming a superhero on the big screen with her Marvel debut.

Interview: Dominique Thorne on Puffs partnership, Riri Williams and more

Bam Smack Pow: I’d love to begin by talking about your new partnership with Puffs and their amazing Puffs Power Pals initiative! Can you tell me about your new partnership and how you came to team up with Puffs?

Yes. So there is definitely a section of my team that is always keeping an eye out and ear to the ground for the opportunities that seemed like they’d be a genuine fit and an authentic fit. And, of course, a meaningful fit.

One of the offers that came through was from Puffs to partner with the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, through their Power Pals Program to join forces and battle flu seasons together, while also giving some comfort and protection to the kids that are battling very real things themselves. That for me felt like an instant fit, and definitely, something that I could authentically speak to, give my voice to and give my presence to.

We got to go down to the hospital and spend some time with these kids, many of whom are huge superhero fans, who were down for a great time. It was it really was like a sweet, sweet moment to see some joy get spread, to see some comfort be provided, that soft touch was definitely in the room today. Ultimately, just to give an opportunity for them to have their minds on anything else for the time being.

Puffs Power Pals. Image courtesy Puffs
Puffs Power Pals. Image courtesy Puffs /

Bam Smack Pow: It really is such an incredible initiative! In addition to each child receiving their own personalized comic book cover and Puffs tissue box, the partnership had also given you the chance to connect with children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta which is amazing. What has that experience been like?

Yes, it definitely was, absolutely was. I think it was for sure an experience to remember. It was incredibly cool, I’d say, to see all these kids with their comic book, cartoon character versions of themselves with their suits and the mask. We definitely had a little superhero pose striking moment, everyone that wasn’t willing showed their best superhero pose, and I learned a few poses myself. And it was fun.

Honestly, it was just a great time to talk to them, to talk to some of the parents as well, and hear about the incredible strength of their children. And also to see those same kids get to talk about what excites them and talk about things that they enjoy doing, and that makes them feel good for however long we were in there. Just to progressively see them sort of get out of their shell. So it was a fun time.

Bam Smack Pow: Not only are you empowering young heroes through the Puffs Power Pals initiative, but you’ve, of course, just recently made your own superhero debut via Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. This one is a bit of a two-parter. First, do you remember your initial reaction when you landed the role of RiRi Williams and what it was like suiting up for the first time? 

Hmm, yes. And yes. The first time I got the call, I was at my parents’ former home in Delaware with my younger brother Kimani. I’m so glad that he was there with me because he was my one and only witness. I don’t think anyone, in fact, my parents did not believe me when I told them moments later, until my brother verified and he said yes, “I was there I saw the whole thing.” But it was definitely a surreal moment.

It was a moment to be still, it was shock. It was a joy. It was comfort and knowing that Disney and Marvel were people of their word. They said that they wanted to work with me and they created an avenue for that to happen. It was definitely an all-around joyful moment. And then I’d say putting on the suit was like, layer two to that. It was many steps deeper. For me, it became a little bit more internal and grounding.

In a world that is so fantastical and so extravagant for many reasons, Marvel still manages to be a company that seeks to find some truth and to let that sort of lead the superhero adventure. For me, finding what that truth would be for Riri was mission number one. And putting on the suit, I think was probably the first time that I could feel that understanding in my body.

Of course, you have, like all of the conceptual thoughts about how you might approach something or the inspiration that you might get from the comic books or conversations with [Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director] Ryan [Coogler] about the character, but wearing the suit was definitely like a real grounding force for me to show me like, “Oh, so this is what she built, this is how her mind works.” The suit, built by who I called the geniuses at Legacy Effects, was almost like a roadmap for how Riri’s mind works.

To think that a suit as big and as bulky as it was, had complete range of motion and all my joints were free, it just little things like that the little parachute ejector for the little security in the center, just all these little components that you can see how she was thinking and almost, I think, reveal a little bit of how the mind of a genius works. And that to me was truly like the largest way into Riri. So both of those moments were definitely very stilling, grounding, joyful, out-of-body experiences.

Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams in Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER. Photo by Eli Adé. © 2022 MARVEL.
Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams in Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER. Photo by Eli Adé. © 2022 MARVEL. /

Bam Smack Pow: And then following up and tying things back to the Puffs Power Pals partnership, what has it meant to you to be able to have been given the platform to originate this character who so many audiences, especially younger fans such as the tiny heroes celebrated in partnership with Puffs, are looking up to and admire?

Of course, with Puffs they have for years now made it a point to stay true to their mission, to stay true to their goal, and to stay true to their target audience. I think them finding a moment, finding an opportunity and avenue that is exciting to a child genuinely that can stir up some level of curiosity in a child who’s no without a doubt experiencing so much physically peels back another layer of commitment from the Puffs team to making sure that they are finding ways to continue expanding the job that they’re here to do, which is to provide some comfort.

To be a part of that, to be in the room to see that take place, and to in any form be a conduit for that, I think it’s inspiring, honestly. It’s a reminder of the reasons that compelled me to say yes to this [role] because I would be lying if I didn’t say that I had my hesitations about playing a superhero or what that meant. But being in that room and seeing the smiles and hearing the laughs from the kids and seeing them come out of their shells and warm up a little bit, all of those things were really like the easiest way to simplify what it is that I’m actually here trying to do, or doing which is telling the stories that hopefully means something to somebody and today this story of a super girl meant a lot to other boys and girls in the room

Be sure to check out our full interview with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Dominique Thorne below: 

You can join Puffs and Dominique in lending a soft touch to #ANoseInNeed at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta by visiting choa.org. Be sure to also visit Dominique Thorne on Instagram and Puffs Tissues on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook to check out the newest members of the Puffs Power Pals troupe!

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