Demi Singleton: 5 Things To Know About The 14-Year-Old Breakout Playing Serena Williams In ‘King Richard’

Learn all about Demi Singleton, the talented teenage actress who is playing a young Serena Williams in the biopic 'King Richard.'

Demi Singleton
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King Richard tells the story of how Serena and Venus Williams became tennis icons under the leadership of their devoted father and coach, Richard Williams. Will Smith plays the family patriarch in the highly-anticipated biopic, and according to early critic reviews, he delivers an incredible performance. But Will doesn’t dominate the film alone: he’s joined on the big screen by teen actors Demi Singleton, 14, and Saniyya Sidney, 15, who play Serena and Venus, respectively. While Saniyya has been acting for some years now, Demi is newer to the industry. Below, everything you need to know about King Richard‘s breakout star, Demi Singleton.

1. Demi is from New Orleans.

Demi Singleton
Demi Singleton at the ‘King Richard’ premiere in Los Angeles on Nov. 14, 2021 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Demi was born on February 27, 2007, and is from New Orleans, New Orleans, according to her IMDb page. However, she didn’t stick around in the Big Easy for long. At the age of 3, Demi moved to New York City to pursue her talents in dance, acting and singing. She studied at a music conservatory for children in Brooklyn, where she expanded her talents by learning how to play instruments.

2. She was on Broadway.

Demi Singleton
Demi Singleton at ‘The Lion King’ film premiere in Los Angeles on July 9, 2019 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Demi’s career on Broadway began when she was 10 years old. Per her IMDb, Demi was cast in Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s School of Rock- The Musical, based on the 2003 comedy film that stars Jack Black. She was on the production for a full year, after which she joined The Lion King on Broadway as Young Nala. She eventually left The Lion King for a role on television.

3. She’s on the show ‘Godfather of Harlem’.

Demi began starring in the Epix crime drama series Godfather of Harlem when the show premiered in September 2019. Demi plays Margaret Johnson, the granddaughter of Forest Whitaker‘s Bumpy Johnson, a 1960s New York City gangster. The show has aired two seasons, both consisting of 10 episodes, and Demi has appeared in almost every single episode. Luis Guzman, Nigel Thatch, Ilfenesh Hadera, Rafi Gavron, Lucy Fry, and more also star in the series.

4. ‘King Richard’ is her breakout role.

Demi Singleton
Demi Singleton in ‘King Richard’ (Photo: Shutterstock)

There’s no question that King Richard is a pivotal moment for Demi’s career. Before the biopic, Demi’s only big-screen role was in the 2019 film Goldie, though she wasn’t one of the leading stars. Her career is bound to boom from this — and she already has an idea of the projects she’d like to take on next. “Specifically stories with a Black team, Black writer, Black director,” she told W Magazine. “I think Black people and people of color in general need a chance to shine and have their moment in this industry.”

5. She still remembers the moment she met Serena Williams.

'King Richard'
Demi Singleton, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Saniyya Sidney at ‘King Richard’ premiere in LA on Nov. 14, 2021 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Demi met Serena, 40, just once during the film, and it was a moment she’ll never forget. “I was shaking!” Demi told W Magazine. “Olympia [Serena’s daughter] was there too, too, and we were signing ‘Baby Shark’ to her. We realized there was nothing to be nervous about. Venus and Serena are so kind and loving people. I only really knew them from the court, and when they’re on the court they do not come to play and are seriously in their zone. But that’s now how they are off the court.”

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