Demi Singleton Plays a Young Serena Williams in ‘King Richard’


Name: Demi Singleton

Age: 14

Hometown: New York City

Currently Lives: In a Spanish-style home in Los Angeles together with her dad and mom and two siblings.

Claim to Fame: Ms. Singleton is an actress, singer, dancer and cellist who performs a younger Serena Williams in “King Richard,” alongside Will Smith, who performs her father, Richard Williams.

She began dancing at age 3, singing at age 7 and shortly booked roles on Broadway. “King Richard” is her big-screen debut. “I just felt so loved and taken care of the entire time,” she mentioned. She developed a sisterly bond with Saniyya Sidney, who performs Venus Williams. “We were on the phone with each other all day yesterday. We’re really like siblings now.”

Big Break: Ms. Singleton began pursuing appearing professionally at age 10, after seeing “Matildaon Broadway. “I was able to see a bunch of young people doing what they love, and having so much fun on stage,” she mentioned. “That’s what made me realize that I wanted to be an actress.”

She booked “School of Rock” on Broadway shortly after signing together with her first company, and subsequent performed Young Nala in “The Lion King.” “It was hard in some ways, but it really wasn’t like work,” she mentioned. “Being on Broadway is just fun, you just have an enjoyable time on stage.”

Latest Project: For “King Richard,” which opened in theaters and HBO Max on Nov. 19, Ms. Singleton studied Serena Williams’s mannerisms, however nothing ready her greater than assembly the Williams sisters on set. “We had a very long conversation about their teenage dating lives,” she mentioned. “It was really cool to get to see them from a different perspective, and see them talking about something other than what they’re famous for.”

Next Thing: Ms. Singleton is hoping to launch music inside the subsequent yr, which she describes as a mixture of pop and R&B. “The whole message of everything that I’m releasing is equality and love and kindness,” she mentioned, “because we’re in such a weird time right now.”

Learning Curve: Ms. Singleton had by no means performed tennis earlier than “King Richard.” She took three classes earlier than her remaining audition, as a result of the casting administrators needed to see her and Ms. Sidney hit some balls collectively. “I was learning to play like a literal icon,” she mentioned. “I had to mimic her. If I were to go play right now, I wouldn’t know how to play like anyone else but Serena Williams.”