Growing Up Nicely
Tibrina Hobson

For three working singer–actresses who still live at home, dinnertime can get a little boisterous. “The other day we were all in the same room, and everybody was talking at the same time.

I was like, ‘Man, for half a second I forgot what this felt like,’ ” says Sierra McClain, the eldest of the McClain sisters who collectively captured our hearts ten years ago in Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls.

Back then the budding stars were child actors growing up in Atlanta with their parents and younger brother. Sierra, China Anne and Lauryn had small roles in The Gospel, and Sierra and China Anne appeared in Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Then all three were cast as Idris Elba’s precious daughters in Daddy’s Little Girls. “It was the first [big speaking] project that I had ever done.

So to do it with my best friends was pretty cool,” remembers  Lauryn. Today they call Los Angeles home, and the sisters are navigating individual careers: Sierra, 23, returns next season on Empire as Shine’s feisty protégé, Nessa; Lauryn, 20, voices animation and has snagged the lead in the new YouTube Red series Step Up; and China Anne, 18, plays the teen nemesis Uma in Disney’s Descendants 2 (premiering July 21). She’s also a cast member of the highly anticipated comic book adaptation Black Lightning, which debuts in 2018. 

But for the McClain women, family is above everything else. Says Sierra, “My sisters screamed louder than I did when I booked Empire. You would have thought it was their job.”

China Anne agrees: “You know we’re so happy for each other because we say once our team gets something, it’s a win for the whole family. We’re all bringing back a trophy to the same house.”

This feature originally appeared in the July 2017 Issue of ESSENCE Magazine.