Saniyya Sidney’s filmography is already fire, she’s had roles in two Oscar-nominated films, and she’s only 13. In our winter 2019 issue, she spills the tea on her love of Beyoncé, her dream character to play, and what it’s like to work with legends, such as Viola Davis and Denzel Washington. Take a look behind-the-scenes of her photo shoot and subscribe now to get your copy (ships mid-December through the end of January)!
Read an excerpt of Saniyya’s cover story below:
To level up is a forever mood for Saniyya Sidney.
Ya’ girl has collabed with the likes of Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and hella others — still, her hustle stays steady. “I’ve gotten pretty far here, but I know that there’s so much more that I can climb,” she says. “It’s like I’m on one of the tallest floors, but then, I still have a long way to go. So, I just keep climbing.”
So far, her stepping stones have included parts in the 2016 remake of Roots, American Horror Story: Roanoke, Fences, Hidden Figures, Fast Color, Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History, and most recently, the TV series The Passage. Two of the films on this list also secured her a seat at the Oscars. “It was a dream come true,” she says. “I was so happy because I got to be able to feel what it felt like … I always watched the Oscars and the Emmys and the Grammys, and I would watch the stars explain in interviews how excited and how a dream come true it was to set foot on legendary ground. And when I was there, I was like, I can’t believe this! It’s crazy!”
And while no one’s trip to the top is free of setbacks, L’s, and risks, should Saniyya ever lose her footing, she’s got advice from a host of legit legends to fall back on. “Mama Viola Davis told me, when we were doing the press junket for Fences … to just have fun, but at the same time [act with] emotion and feeling,” she shares. “Also, Denzel … would tell me to speak the truth and to always be at one with yourself and stay grounded and bring 110 percent.”