How’d you get into acting?
It’s a very long story, but my mom put me into the business at 9 months old with modeling! I worked a lot as a baby and continued to when I started acting at a year old. I don’t remember it, but my first acting job was a Marriott Hotel commercial! From that point, my acting career continued, and so did my modeling career, and now I’m here!
When did you realize you wanted to pursue it full time?
I realized acting was something I wanted to do when I was 4 years old. I always loved it and knew I loved it, but it really hit me when I would watch other young Black girls on TV and knew that if they could do it, I could do it too! My mom would always tell me if I didn’t wanna do it anymore she wasn’t going to force me and that I could stop at any time but I didn’t want to! Acting was my dream, and being on a TV show was another dream of mine and I knew I would achieve it.
Whose career are you most inspired by?
Someone who always inspired me as an actress was Natalie Portman. She was a child actress like me and has an amazing career now. One of my favorite movies is Leon: The Professional which she stars in.
Are there any special rituals you do to get into character?
For me, I just make sure I go over my lines a lot, say my lines out loud every time I practice to really feel how I’m going to say it, and picture the character as I am doing if. I also love to see an acting coach to really help me get as in tune with the character as I can.
Of all your roles, which has been your favorite? The most challenging?
My favorite movie I have done was called The Watson’s Go To Birmingham and was also the hardest role I have done because it was based in 1963. 1963 is way different than now and I really had to study my character, pick up Birmingham lingo and really made sure I embodied her!
What genres would you like to explore?
I really want to be in a good dramatic film or horror film. Horror has always been my favorite movie genre so hopefully, something in the realm will come for me!
Looking at your IMDB, you’ve already starred in many more titles than others your age– I was shocked to know you were still only 17. What was it like starting to be in productions from such a young age?
It was always really fun for me to be in different TV shows and films. It was something I truly loved to do, and it never felt like work for me! I feel like I have done some great things and hope to continue to, and my career goes on.
Was there an added pressure? Or was there something you didn’t notice that you do now in hindsight?
There was no added pressure for me personally. There is somewhat when it comes to social media and how people try to perceive you, but I am just who I am and naturally me! I never want to feel pressured, so I make sure I don’t.
Tell us a bit about your new book Reach For The Skai.
My new book is about my life, how I got started in the industry, the struggles I’ve faced and my upbringing. It’s also a motivational book for young girls and kind of like a guide through life.
It’s amazing that you’re using your platform for good– You tackle subjects that younger audiences can relate to and are often too anxious to speak up about.
I always love using my social media for good and speaking up on issues that not a lot of people do… I also like to encourage my fans to do the same!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten was to just stay true to who I am, and do whatever makes me happy! In this industry, you can be pressured to form to how society wants you to be and it can make you really unhappy.
What music do you like to listen to?
I love hip hop and R&B. I have a long Apple Music playlist of over 200 songs that I listen to every day.
Do you have a guilty entertainment or music pleasure?
My guilty pleasure would probably be watching silly YouTube videos… It can be the dumbest things and I just crack up watching them!
What advice would you give to any aspiring actors?
I would say, do whatever makes you happy in life and chase your dream. Don’t ever let anyone bring you down. Your dream might not happen overnight because things take time but whatever God has in store for you, will happen.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? Five years?
In the next year, I hope to do more movies, be on a TV show, start a business: clothing line, salon, whatever that may be and have my own empire! I know it will happen one day.
Photography: Shanna Fisher
Assisted by: Aria Goodman
Styling: Timothy Chernyaev
Hair: Alexander Armand
Makeup: Brandy Allen