When I first met Saniyya Sidney at the kate spade new york Cabana pop-up in the Meatpacking District, I was instantly blown away. The youthful rosiness in her cheeks and the genuine smile she flashed when she met me in person complimented the chic dress and heels that she was wearing. The King Richard star and I hugged like we were old friends and as busy and in-demand as she was, I was surprised that she remembered our previous conversation. But once we began talking, Sidney’s passion for beauty and fashion began to beam through her voice with maturity and excitement for the new kate spade launch.

“I’m wearing a beautiful dress from the Summer Collection from Kate Spade,” Sidney said referring to her cucumber floral flounce dress from the “kate spade cabana” collection, which is described as “a new seasonal concept that celebrates the spirit of escape that one feels at the beginning of summer, and everything and anything striped, palm-printed and beach-ready. ” The 15-year-old rising star’s dress was completed with rooftop garden stud earrings in multi-color, happy hour sandals in pale gold with the voyage cucumber floral small top-handle crossbody. “I’m so excited to be here. I love Kate Spade. I’ve been like wearing their bags ever since I was nine years old, so it’s a big full circle moment, you know?”

Sidney noted that a few of her favorite pieces from the new kate spade drop include the “pink dress,” which could allude to the new multicream Summer Flowers Tiered Dress or the Seersucker Stripe Bow Dress in pink flash. “The shoes that I have on now have like a little cocktail with a cherry in it. It reminds me of a Shirley Temple,” Sidney said as she smiled and kicked back her foot to show off her new kate spade Happy Hour sandals in pale gold. “Anything like that, I love the big vibrant, beautiful summer colors.”

Saniyya Sidney

As it pertains to her personal style, the young actress prefers “anything flowy” such as big dresses, which she says that she and her sister bond over during the hotter months. “When it’s summertime we’re like, ‘All right, we’re wearing nothing but bathing suits and dresses, like all the time,’ so anything that’s like flowy and cute. You know, very Carrie Bradshaw?,” Sidney said referring to Sarah Jessica Parker’s iconic New York-based Sex and the City character. When it comes to her beauty routine and playing with new makeup looks, Sidney told ESSENCE that she opts to keep things simple, easy, and natural. “I like to just soak up the sun and put some good minerals and vitamins on my face, good moisturizers,” she added.

Sidney is aware of the fact that she’s been around so many incredibly powerful Black women from Venus and Serena Williams for her role alongside Will Smith for King Richard to her very own mother who stood beside her during our chat. “What I love is that we always put our own flavor to it and I think that’s so most important,” she said as she praised Black women for our fashion and style impact. Sidney revealed that a style icon of her own is singer Janelle Monae, who she says “always steps out so fierce and I love that she just puts her own interpretation.”

She prefers what she calls “back in the day looks,” which means “anything old fashioned” and paying homage to iconic Black women in the entertainment industry including her personal favorite – Dorothy Dandridge. “During awards season, she was always getting pulled up in pictures. [With] Allie Mendecorn, my stylist, we always were looking at her,” Sidney gushed about channeling her inner Carmen Jones for a red carpet opp. “I think I’ve always loved Halle Berry’s style, too. She’s always so cool.”

Saniyya Sidney

If Sidney could give young Black women and girls a piece of advice about personal style and springtime confidence, what would she leave them with? “Find what fits you and what speaks to your spirit. Find a color that you’re comfortable with because there’s so many colors and different patterns that I dabbled into and I just didn’t feel like it was me until I found my signature color – and it’s pink,” she laughed. “Anything in that world is something that brings out me, you know? So find something you’re comfortable with and that you love.”

To experience a “Cabana State of Mind” and shop the kate spade cabana collection, additional pop-up shop locations will be held across New York City, London, Singapore, and Malaysia.  In an effort to further the fun and extend its hand to the digital community, kate spade is building the Cabana conversation by partnering with selected TikTok creators to launch a hashtag challenge with an augmented reality filter that encourages creators to “transform” from their every day wear into a cabana state of mind. To join in on the fun, follow #katespadenycabana on TikTok and show off your Cabana aesthetic. 

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