Sydney Mikayla & Her Role as Olympian Gabby Douglas in the New Lifetime Movie!
She was so sweet and polite that while conducting the interview I had to pause several times because I was starting to tear up a little. As a father myself with a daughter close to Sydney’s age, it warms my heart to see a child so determined; she is a classy young lady. Also, a very happy 11th birthday is in order for Sydney because she was born February 1st — the same day that The Gabby Douglas Story premiers on Lifetime.
She is (just now!) 11 years old, but already she is being hailed as a star on the rise. Sydney is an actress with a Gospel-enriched background. She studies at the Amazing Grace Conservatory under the tutelage of Wendy Raquel Robinson (Steve Harvey Show, BET’s The Game). Sydney loves to perform on stage, and her goal is to continue to work at being a “triple threat” in the entertainment industry (acting, singing, dancing). Already to her credit, she has appeared in the film A Beautiful Soul with gospel recording artist Deitrick Haddon, and she has made television appearances on Whitney, Hot in Cleveland, Hawthorne, and Days of our Lives. Now with her breakthrough role, which premiers Saturday February 1 at 8pm ET/PT, Syndney will play a young Gabrielle Douglas in the Lifetime channel’s biopic The Gabby Douglas Story. Sydney was recently on the Arsenio Hall Show with her co-star Imani Hakim and with Gabby Douglas herself; you can watch a video of them backstage here.
She has been cast to share the role of two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas with Imani Hakim (Everybody Hates Chris, Reign Over Me). Imani is the older version; Syndey will play the younger version of Gabby Douglas in the early stages of her career and in childhood. The movie is a detailed story about the international gymnastics phenom Gabby Douglas, who — with faith, determination, and perseverance — became the first African-American in history to be named Individual-All Around Champion in artistic gymnastics at the Olympics. Gabby Douglas herself is set to appear in this film, which also stars Peabody Award winning actress Regina King (Southland, Ray, Big Bang Theory) as well as Golden Globe and Emmy Winner S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order).
Rocking God’s House: Good morning, Sydney, how are you today?
Sydney: I am great, how are you? Thank you so much for having me today.
Rocking God’s House: How did you prepare for the role of young Gabby Douglas?
Sydney: We actually had two weeks of training of gymnastics. I also studied by watching videos — lots of videos — on YouTube; and I read the book Grace, Gold and Glory, and that was really inspiring and it told me a lot about Gabby’s story and it really helped me a lot for the role.
Rocking God’s House: Did you get to meet the real Gabby Douglas?
Sydney: Yes, I did, I got to meet her at the end of shooting. The last week of shooting I met her. She was so nice, so welcoming and so nice to all the gymnasts. She was so nice to me; she said I did really great as the role of herself. So to me that was really great.
Rocking God’s House: Do you think the Gabby Douglas’s faith made her strong as an Olympic gymnast?
Sydney: Yes, I do think so because she went through so much stuff; it just had to be faith. The gymnastics world is just so hard, and she went through a lot of trials and tribulations; and not coming from the wealthiest family she had to go through a lot. So I feel it was definitely faith that kept her inspired.
Rocking God’s House: Tell us what you do at Amazing Grace Conservatory?
Sydney: They teach us basically how to be well rounded, and Wendy Raquel Robinson runs it. There are several teachers there who teach us singing, dancing and performing, and then we have a showcase.
Rocking God’s House: Are you having a premier party for the movie on Saturday?
Sydney: Yes I am. I am actually really excited because the movie comes out the same day as my birthday! I will be 11 years old.
Rocking God’s House: How at your age do you avoid stage fright and being shy in front of the camera?
Sydney: What I do is I practice a lot. Like sometimes in front of the mirror and a lot of the time I have to shake it out because I do get nervous sometimes — everybody gets nervous. I try not to be shy; I just have to go out there and do my thing.
Rocking God’s House: What are your next projects?
Sydney: Right now I am doing songwriting and taking dance classes and singing. I am in choir right now in school — so just trying to be well rounded; and I also play my violin.