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Amara Skye On Her Relationship With Grandmother Whoopi Goldberg And Making Her Television Debut On 'Claim To Fame'

The 32-year old talks about the unique relationship she has with her famous grandma, her reasons for joining the new reality show, and her love for the creative world.
Amara Skye On Her Relationship With Grandmother Whoopi Goldberg And Making Her Television Debut On ‘Claim To Fame’
Courtesy of Amara Skye

We often hear about relatives of celebrities wanting to come out of the shadows of their famous family members, and for good reason. Amara Skye, the granddaughter of Whoopi Goldberg, is an example of someone trying to create a name for herself. 

The 32-year-old has her hands in different pots on her quest to create her own legacy. She’s a painter and doodle artist, and also enjoys the art of storytelling. 

Amara’s most recent and perhaps most public venture is participating on the TV show Claim to Fame, a new ABC series co-hosted by brothers Kevin and Frankie Jonas (of the famous Jonas brothers). The reality series is comprised of 12 contestants, celebrity relatives, who live in a house together and compete in challenges with the goal of concealing their identities for as long as possible. The player who stays in the house longest without anyone guessing who their famous relative is wins the game and $100,000. 

“I was cast on the show via DM. It was something different. I didn’t know whether to believe it or not, but I went through with it,” Skye tells ESSENCE. 

She says she was skeptical at first (prior to receiving that DM, she lost her page to hackers). Before taking such a leap, it was only right Skye ask her grandmother, the EGOT winner and current co-host of ABC’s The View, for advice about whether or not she should join the show. Goldberg also had her reservations initially. 

“She was scared,” Skye says. “But after everything went the way that it was supposed to go, she was happy. The best advice she gave me was to just do what [I] gotta do and come back stronger, better and, you know, prepared [because] this is my big break.”

Skye’s strategy in the house has been to be a personable social butterfly as opposed to clicking up or sticking with a set group. Outside of entertaining people on Claim to Fame, she has multiple creative pursuits.

“I never wanted to pursue a career in acting just because I felt like that was her thing,” the Claim to Fame star says of her grandmother. “But she never told me ‘don’t do this,’ but instead, just to open myself to everything.”

Amara Skye On Her Relationship With Grandmother Whoopi Goldberg And Making Her Television Debut On ‘Claim To Fame’
Courtesy of Amara Skye

Skye spends time developing her craft as an artist, finding joy and purpose in painting. “I love to paint stories about – and it sounds crazy – my vagina. Yeah, it’s crazy, but the stuff that women go through [can] be difficult. But I’ll put it on the page so that you know you’re not the only one that’s going through it.”

The artist has some shows in the fall where she’ll be sharing her work. One in particular is curated by Hellotittie, a Black-owned women’s empowerment brand that puts together exhibitions that focus on supporting women in the visual arts. She also enjoys production and connecting with people through storytelling.

“I love creating stories. I love all of that stuff,” she says. My mind is just so filled with thoughts and things that I feel need to be put out there. I don’t know how to put them out there, but I know that it needs to be heard.” 

She also enjoys spending time with family. Skye has a strong support system behind her and says her family is tight-knit. Her mother, Alexandrea Martin-Dean, Goldberg’s only child, had her at the age of 16. She then went on to have two more children, Jerzey and Mason with her husband Bernard Dean. Amara is also a mother to a daughter named Charli Rose, born in 2014.

“We’re a young family,” Amara says. “My grandmother’s mother raised me for a little bit. My grandmother is a great-grandmother to my daughter. So we’ve created that connection. There’s only five of us in our family. We’re all we’ve got, so we take each other real close.”

The doodle artist is especially connected to Goldberg, with whom she shares the same birthday.

“Me and my grandma are super close. She’s everything,” she says. “It gets frustrating because it’s like, how am I going to compete with that? But I’m lucky enough to have that.”

The reality TV star says in addition to Goldberg being a legend in entertainment, she is indeed an everyday grandparent.

“I just feel like people know my grandmother for being Whoopi. She’s iconic, she’s political, everything she says holds water, but that’s the viewer’s eyes,” she says. “She’s my grandmother and she’s also really a grandmother. People who are lucky enough to have them know, grandmothers are annoying and it’s another parent. You love her, but she’s annoying, and you know, it’s family.”

She also appreciates her grandmother not giving her everything on a silver platter and setting her up for success by letting her experience life as everyone else does. 

“She wants us to be real people. Stuff is not just handed to us. It could be, but it’s not,” Skye says. “I just want people to know that I really worked hard for my position and the stuff that I did. I did a lot without my grandmother’s help. But the fact that she’s there to give me the help, you know, I don’t want to run it up. I want to do what I can do.”

Claim to Fame airs Monday nights at 10 p.m. EST on ABC