Alyssa Cheatham is the new kid in Hollywood.
After showing off her charming personality in a series of commercial spots for Dunkin’ Donuts, Nickelodeon and Honda, the 7-year-old Brooklyn native recently caught wide attention starring as Will Smith’s daughter, Olivia, in 2016’s drama film, Collateral Beauty.
Now, with Smith’s advice in tow (“He told me I was great and to follow my dreams and keep going even when something doesn’t go my way.”), Cheatham looks to not only snag more silver screen roles, but also cross over into music, fashion and screenwriting.
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Don’t get it twisted, though. While fame and hard work at a young age can be a monster, the spirited 2nd grader’s success doesn’t derail her from what’s important—her education.
“My mommy says school comes first, so I sometimes do school work when I’m on auditions.”
But there’s much more to this tiny triple threat. In case you’re unfamiliar with the bright newcomer, catch up on these seven things you should know.
She knew she wanted to act by the age of three.
Her mother, Sharra, began posting home videos of her charismatic spirit to YouTube, which ignited her love for the camera. “I hated when my mom turned off the camera,” she laughs,” so my mom and I decided I should get into acting.”
Her first movie role was in 2014’s Every Secret Thing.
Her acting career started alongside a cast of established actors and soon-to-be stars, including Dakota Fanning, Diane Lane and Nate Parker. Not bad for her first foray into the acting world.
She stars in upcoming film, Bikini Moon.
Cheatham plays Alvina Wheatley in an upcoming drama, directed by Academy-award nominee Milcho Manchevski, that centers on a troubled woman named Bikini, played by Condola Rashad. “I’m really scared of her in the movie,” Cheathams says of her character, who is stalked by the film’s protagonist.
She’s also a singer.
Cheatham’s involvement in the viral #SoGoneChallenge—she offered up a rap about positivity and determination—fueled her to sing professionally. In 2016, Cheatham released “The Weekend,” a pop-sounding, uptempo record that boasts her love for everyone’s favorite off-days. “My mom actually helped me write it,” she says. “I don’t really like waking up on a Monday morning and going to school, and my mom said [recording the song] would be good way to relate to people’s lives. I have three other songs, but I want them to be a surprise.”
Her dream is to work with Zendaya.
Not too many young stars have successfully blended the arts of acting and singing, but Cheatham looks to Zendaya as a role model. “She’s really a good singer and a good actress. She has a great personality and I really wanna audition with her!”
She loves fashion and history books.
While the young star hits red carpets in Bonnie Young, Salvatore Ferragamo and Mischka Aoki, her everyday style includes affordable brands like Gap, H&M and Zara. “I dress up how I feel,” she says. “Mostly I’m really pumped up and excited and confident, so I dress up according to that.”
When she’s not dolled up in high-end threads, she brushes up on black history with books like I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer.
She’s currently writing a film.
Cheatham wants to be more than just a child star—she wants to produce and star in her own film. For over a year, she’s been working on a screenplay. “It’s a dramaedy,” she says. “I want to write my movie, I want to be in my movie, and I want to produce and direct my movie. I’ll have help from people but I’m going to be the main person.”