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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.”

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