The highly anticipated movie, King Richard, has hit theaters and HBO Max and the reviews are extremely positive. Critics are raving about the biopic that tells the story of Richard Williams (played by Will Smith) who is determined to make his daughters (Serena and Venus Williams and Lynn Price – played by Layla Crawford) extraordinary tennis players. The film debuted this past Friday and is already generating Oscar buzz. While this exciting news is music to most actors and actresses’ ears, it gives Layla the jitters.
Layla Crawford, at just 16 years-old, already knows a thing or two about acting. She possesses over 10 years of experience in the industry with recurring roles in in shows such as NCIS: LA, The First Family, and HBO’s cult favorite, True Blood. I had the chance to chat with Layla about her love for her craft, her latest role in King Richard and more. And while the actress is extremely confident in her craft, she admits that her anxiety is high about playing such a prominent person.
Acting has been a crucial part of Layla’s life since she was a toddler. She began her acting career at the tender age of six. However, she fell in love with the art as a toddler. “I always loved performing. I fell in love with acting at the age of 3 when I was dancing and participating in school plays.”, stated Layla. Although Layla has been in the industry for years and has acted in a plethora of shows, her most cherished acting role thus far has been portraying Lynn Price in the King Richard movie. Layla remarked, “My favorite acting role has been playing Lynn Price. I enjoyed the entire experience of being a part of such a talented cast. It is a very important story that needs to be told that I am proud to be a part of. I was able to speak to Ms. Lynn along with Ms. Isha since they were on set every day. I was able to hear stories about their upbringing and hobbies. It was important to me that Ms. Lynn was happy with the way she was portrayed.”
Being a popular actress does not diminish imposter syndrome. Playing in a epic biopic like King Richard brings pressure, and Layla is feeling it. The stress of depicting a member of a well-known family weighs on her. Layla’s family and friends have set their expectations of the film and her acting part in this biopic high which causes Layla to second-guess her skills and wonder if she is doing the role justice. Layla confesses, “There is a lot of pressure in playing a real person and a family that is larger than life. Serena, Venus, and their entire family have done so many wonderful things. Being a part of an amazing group of women and representing the Williams family on the screen is a little stressful.”
When asked how she copes with this stress, Layla admits that she hasn’t found the proper coping mechanism just yet but she’s working diligently at it. “I don’t know if I have mastered being able to cope with my anxiety. The best thing that helps me is giving myself a break when I know I need one or when I am pushing myself to my limit. I am a hard worker, but sometimes I get overwhelmed with everything going on, so I take a moment to regather myself.” Although Layla hasn’t conquered keeping her anxiety at bay, she does offer advice to other young girls and women who face imposter syndrome. The 16 year-old actress stated, “Give yourself a break. You should surround yourself with the things that you enjoy that will fulfill you. It also helps to have a great support system that grounds you and is there during your times of need.”
Layla’s goal is continue to reach new heights when it comes to her acting career. She plans to hone in on her skills and act in a wide range of roles in the near future. She also has plans to get behind the camera and play out some of the film ideas she has swimming around in her pretty little head. “I see myself just continuing to advance and perfect my craft. I feel that I’m capable of playing any role and hopping into anyone’s shoes. I am honestly just looking forward to whatever is thrown my way. I can also see myself getting into different areas of filmmaking because I have so many different interests that I want to explore. I guess you just have to be on the lookout for me!”
And looking out for you is exactly what we will be doing Layla. Check out King Richard playing in theaters and on HBO Max now.