Daniele Lawson is a rising actress, who can be seen in the highly anticipated film King Richard alongside Will Smith when it premieres in November. She was born and raised in Southern California and began acting when she was just six years old when she landed a role in the CBS production, Herd Mentality. At 9, Daniele co-starred on CBS’ CSI: Cyber. She also had a recurring role as Jahzara on Freeform’s Good Trouble.
When Daniele is not acting she loves creating fashion and make-up looks. She also enjoys cooking, going to see plays, and spending time with family and friends. Daniele wants to study and work hard to achieve a MFA degree and become bi-lingual in Spanish all while doing what she loves to do which is acting! Daniele is also an advocate for helping the homeless population of Los Angeles and giving back to those in need.
1. Can you tell me about your upcoming project 'King Richard'? What can you tell us about your character Isha Price and how did you prepare for this role?
King Richard is the story of Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams, who taught and raised two of the greatest athletes of all time. Isha Price is Venus and Serena's second oldest sister who is supportive, encouraging, loving, and sees potential in her sisters. When preparing for the role, I sat down with Ms. Isha to discuss her childhood, from her favorite books and music to her favorite snacks. We discussed the family dynamics and who did what when it came down to the household chores. I was so blessed to have Ms. Isha on set every day. It was such an amazing experience to be able to sit down and talk with her. I'm a 2000's baby so, I was able to learn about the culture of the '80s and early '90s.
2. How did you start acting? What was your experience like and how did your career impact you and your family’s lives?
I started dancing at the age of two years old. From a very young age, I have always been a performer. I did my first runway modeling gig at two years old. It was about the age of four where my mom put me into commercials. For five years straight, during the summers from 7 AM till 7 PM, I went to a theater camp where I studied acting, singing, and dancing. I loved it and I didn’t want to leave when it was over. Theatre helped me get out of my shell. I realized I had the gift of memorizing lines so I moved into auditions. My career has impacted my family and me in such a positive way. I've had the opportunity to work with some amazing, talented people. I feel that I am able to sow by helping other people because of the platform that I have. I’m grateful to have such a supporting family who believes in me and pushes me to be great. I’m the youngest of six and now my three nephews and niece are in the business building their dreams too. We often encourage each other. There was a time that I needed to slow down when I entered high school. So I told my team I only want to go out for commercials. Once my nephew booked a role in the film, “If Beale Street Could Talk” by Berry Jenkins, I was so proud of him. I told myself, if “Kaden'' can do it…so can I. He was only four at the time and he encouraged me a lot.
3. What was it like filming a movie during a pandemic and what was it like acting alongside stars such as Will Smith and Aunjunae Ellis?
Filming a movie in a pandemic was crazy! There were some scares but overall, it was a blessing. We had an awesome covid team at Warner Brothers who kept us all safe on set. There was lots of testing and the team took many precautions while working. Working with Mr. Will and Ms. Aunjanue is nothing short of remarkable. Mr. Will is so nurturing, hard-working, and very humble. I had the pleasure of going to the set every day and being greeted by Ms. Aunjanue with the biggest hug. She is so loving and wise; my heart was so full. We had so much fun as a family.
4. You attend traditional high school while pursuing your career. How do you manage to balance your life as an actress while also being a student? Do you still participate in school activities and clubs as much as you would like to?
While being in high school and having a full-time career, it gets stressful sometimes. Scripts may come in while essays are due, but my mom helps me manage my time well and my dad handles all of my administrative work when it comes to business. Even though I am a working student, I still manage to stay very active in my school.
5. As a graduating senior, do you take part in any school activities? Are you looking forward to postgraduate life and are you considering attending college?
After doing home school for a year and a half due to filming and the covid shut down, I decided to go back to a traditional school for my senior year. At school, I have participated in Bible talk, Black Student Union, and I am also on the track team. After high school, I plan on attending college where I want to study film and minor in African-American studies. My dream school is to attend UCLA.
6. What makes you different from other actresses that are coming up right now? What do you think helps you stand out from others when auditioning for roles or while filming?
Many of the amazing actresses that are coming up right now, I admire and are thriving. What makes me different is that there is only one Daniele Lawson. I've been told that I have a great work ethic, I am timely, and I'm very humble. When I get a role, I dig deep and do my research on the project or character to bring out the most accurate portrayal I can.
7. I see you have a passion for helping the homeless. How do you channel this passion into activism? Do you see yourself being more hands-on in the future?
Since I was a little girl, I've had a passion for helping those in need. I have volunteered at the DTLA mission and sent toiletries to schools. I see myself helping and serving the homeless community by donating to and volunteering at various shelters across the Los Angeles area and becoming more involved with organizations supporting these individuals.
8. Would you consider a different career other than acting? Could you see yourself behind the camera directing or producing?
Later in my career, I would like to transition into directing and producing. I love being in front of the camera, but I feel like I don't want to limit myself. I still want to be creative and learn all aspects of my industry. I have a passion for filmmaking and I think the creative process behind it all is so intriguing and multi-dimensional.
9. Do you have any hobbies outside of acting that you would like to share with your fans? Do you participate in activities that would surprise readers?
Outside of acting, I love to paint, listen to music, and I’m super into makeup and fashion. When I’m not doing homework or learning lines, I’m just relaxing or taking a trip to the beach to soak up some sun.
10. I see you are also active on social media about the Black Lives Matter movement. Could you speak more about that and why it is so important for you to use your platform as a public figure?
During quarantine, we all witnessed the death of George Floyd. As a black girl and as a human, I was beyond frustrated, hurt, and scared. I have a black grandfather, dad, brothers, uncles, nephews, and friends. Due to the pandemic, I didn’t get to go to protests, but I used my platform to educate others about the racial injustices in America and how to be an ally to the African-American community. We only want to have the same opportunities as others and to be treated fairly.
11. What can we expect from Daniele Lawson in the future? Will you continue acting or venture into different aspects of the entertainment industry?
In the future, I hope to do it all. While being an actress, I dream to direct and star in some of my own films. I hope to inspire young girls and boys just as I have been inspired and further create space for them to shine.
Cover Model: Daniele Lawson @danieledeniselawson
Photographer: Ashley Byrd @a.n.sphotography
Creative Director: Claudia Greene @sunshinekiss15 | Mayhem Entertainment PR @mayhementertainmentpr
Wardrobe Stylist: Danielle Jelks @jussdni
Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist: Shenekah Cayetano @fortheloveof_aesthetics