Name: Demi Singleton
Hometown: New York City
Currently lives: In a Spanish-style house in Los Angeles with his parents and two siblings.
Claim fame: Ms. Singleton is an actress, singer, dancer and cellist who plays a young Serena Williams in “King Richard”, alongside Will Smith, who plays her father, Richard Williams.
She started dancing at age 3, singing at age 7, and quickly booked roles on Broadway. “King Richard” is his first film on the big screen. “I felt so loved and cared for all the time,” she said. She developed a brotherly bond with Saniyya Sidney, who plays Venus Williams. “Yesterday we were on the phone all day. We are truly like brothers and sisters now.
Big cut: Mrs. Singleton began playing professionally at the age of 10, after seeing “Matilda” on Broadway. “I got to see a bunch of kids doing what they love and having so much fun on stage,” she said. “That’s what made me realize that I wanted to be an actress.”
She booked “School of Rock” on Broadway shortly after signing with her first agency, and then played Young Nala in “The Lion King”. “It was tough in some ways, but it really wasn’t like work,” she said. “Being on Broadway is just fun, you just have a good time on stage.”
Latest project: For “King Richard,” which opened in theaters and on HBO Max on November 19, Ms. Singleton studied Serena Williams’ manners, but nothing prepared her better than meeting the Williams sisters on set. “We had a really long conversation about their teenage love lives,” she said. “It was really cool to see them from a different perspective and to see them talk about something other than what they’re famous for.”
Next thing: Ms Singleton hopes to release music in the next year or so, which she describes as a mix of pop and R&B. “The whole message of everything I post is equality, love and kindness,” she said, “because we are in such a strange time right now.”
Learning curve: Mrs. Singleton had never played tennis before the “King Richard”. She took three lessons before her final audition, as the casting directors wanted to see her and Ms Sidney hit balls together. “I was learning to play like a literal icon,” she said. “I had to imitate him. If I were to play now, I couldn’t play like anyone other than Serena Williams.