Actress Bria Danielle Singleton is only 16 years old and is already an accomplished actress, having been in the industry her entire young life with movies like Netflix’s hit superhero comedy “Thunder Force” with Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy. Her most recent role is in the film I Wanna Dance With Somebody, where she plays the daughter of singing legend Whitney Houston. Read more on what this young star thinks Bobbi Kristina would be doing today and the one powerhouse actress she would love to work with soon.
You star in the film “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” the biographical drama following the life of Whitney Houston as her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown. How did you land the role?
It was very personal for me when I auditioned because, with my mom, I grew up with Whitney and Bobbi Kristina. I knew their story before I even got the role. My thought: “Oh, my God. I get to portray someone that has been a part of me.”
What parts of the filmmaking did you like best? What did you find most challenging in portraying Whitney’s daughter in the film?
I liked learning more about Bobbi Kristina after I booked the role— researching her more and how she acted. The way she talked and how she was as a person. It was interesting to learn so much about her and adapt that for myself (in this role).
The challenge was reading a lot of the negative stuff that should have been private. I even felt like I shouldn’t be reading it, but it was out there, and I had to add it to me as a person (for the role).
It’s fun to be behind the scenes. It gives me more insight. I really enjoy directing and seeing how my vision played out and the actors and how it all came together.
Did you have the opportunity to meet any members of her family?
I did. Some of the family members were on set, and a lot of the crew were friends with Bobbi Kristina and Whitney, including my makeup artist.
As a young person acting, what can you understand about Bobbi Kristina’s life, regarding yours and being around things like fame or stardom in the entertainment industry?
It’s a lot of pressure. All eyes are on you. The camera is on you. I felt Bobbi Kristina never had a chance to be a regular kid. You saw videos of Whitney bringing Bobbi Kristina on stage. It was a very loving moment, but (then again) it was the spotlight on her being Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s daughter and always being criticized. I can relate to that a lot because I have been acting all my life, and I have always been aware of what I do as a person because that comes back to you.
You are active in your high school theatre program, having directed a school play. How does doing so now prepare you for wanting to pursue directing professionally?
I work in my theatre program, but I also do the behind-the-scenes. Right now, I am doing things like props because I don’t get the chance to as an actor. It’s fun to be behind the scenes. It gives me more insight. I really enjoy directing and seeing how my vision plays out and the actors and how it all comes together. It made me realize directing is something I definitely want to do.
What was your working relationship like with the film cast?
I felt like I became close with the crew. They were so amazing. It felt real (authentic), and everyone was always there for each other. My voice was heard, and my ideas and my thoughts, the crew, processed it and reciprocated it. I really appreciate that from them.
What do you think Bobbi Kristina would be doing today if she were still here?
She would still be protecting the legacy of her mom. She and her mom were very close. When her mom passed, Bobbi Kristina was doing just that, protecting Whitney Houston’s legacy—wanting to upkeep her mom’s name. I feel like that would have been a really important goal for her.
Any plans for the holidays with your family? Any traditions or a favorite Christmas movie?
My family and I usually visit relatives in different states for the holidays.
My favorite Christmas movie is “Nightmare Before Christmas,” and it’s also “Gremlins” Have You heard of that one? Somehow it became the Christmas movies that my family watches (laugh).
What’s next for Bria Danielle Singleton?
Hopefully, a lot, to be honest (laugh). I would love to do dramatic roles, period pieces, and Marvel (movies).
What do you want moviegoers to take away from the film I Wanna Dance With Somebody?
I’ve heard a lot of people say, What more can you add to her story from this movie? It’s important to emphasize we’re not adding anything. We’re celebrating Whitney Houston and her music in the right way. It’s such a celebratory movie, and I can’t wait for people to see it!
With school being first, this well-rounded young actress prioritizes her studies, so much so that our conversation happened after school. In other words, in the life of Bria Danielle Singleton, acting is work and fun, but education is key as she plans to attend college to study psychology in just a few short years. Don’t worry. She’s not giving up on acting. This rising star has her sights set on working with the incomparable Viola Davis one day. Talk about acting goals!