Season 2 e.tv (*194) 21:30
When she hit screens as sassy songstress Tiana on hip-hop drama Empire (2015current), Serayah McNeill was likened to popstar Rihanna. But the 21-year-old singer/actress has since made a name of her own and is even BFFs with megastar Taylor Swift – after just one acting job and multiple musical performances!
Although singing is Serayah’s first 1
love, acting was always part of her plan. After high school she majored in theatre at her local college while working at clothing store H&M. That’s when she was asked to audition by a school friend’s stepmom Leah Daniels. Leah is the sister of Empire creator Lee Daniels.
Serayah says that she’s very diffe2
rent from Tiana. “I was terrified of my character at first, because she has no boundaries,” she says. “But now it’s cool to play her because we are so opposite in personality. It’s cool to be a diva.”
Her acting job is also giving her 3
the chance to develop her music career. She recently released a free EP for her fans, because “they already hear my voice as Tiana on the show”. Serayah has also just signed with music powerhouse Colombia Records.
When she’s not busy making 4
videos with Taylor Swift, recording in the studio or playing Tiana, Serayah loves playing videogames, especially those featuring zombies. “There are two camps of people in the world: people who love zombies and people who love vampires. I’m 100% zombie!” she says.
And when she isn’t gaming, you 5
can catch her on the basketball court, which is her “go-to workout”.
But she earns her guilty pleasures, 6
like Oreos and full-cream milk. “It is hard for me to stick to a diet because I love food,” Serayah reveals. “I usually have a hard time saying no.”