Season 2 e.tv (*194) 21:30
She could easily have been helping you check into a hotel or stamping your deposit slip at a bank in the Caribbean, but aren’t we all glad that Grace Gealey went into acting instead? The 31-yearold’s back on our screens in season 2 of hip-hop-inspired drama show Empire (2015-current) in her breakout role as Anika Calhoun, ex lover of Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) who’s slept with his son Hakeem (Bryshere Y Gray) too.
She was born in Pennsylvania but 1
moved to her mom’s native Cayman Islands at the age of two. Grace is bi-racial with a white dad and an AfroCaribbean mom.
Her dad was born with hearing 2
loss and her mom lost her hearing when she was two after battling pneumonia. Grace could use sign language before she could speak and has been using her celeb status to advocate for the deaf community.
Don’t be fooled by Anika’s red lips 3
and pearls – Grace grew up a tomboy and would still swap her character’s sky-high heels for running around barefoot. And she admits that she’s nothing like Lucious’s ex, describing her personality as being much more bubbly, positive and loving in comparison to the sneaky, cold and calculated Anika.
Anika’s prissy demeanour is pull4
ed off so well because of Grace’s Masters in acting that she earned at the University Of California Irvine following her Bachelors in theatre arts from the University Of South Florida.
Besides a job, Empire’s also given 5
her love – she married her co-star Trai Byers in April this year after getting engaged in October. Trai plays Lucious’s bi-polar eldest son Andre Lyon. NB! See more on p30.