Starring alongside Queen Latifah in The Equalizer, the Grand Prairie native tackles every role with grit and grace.
What is your first and fondest memory of knowing this is what your career path would be?
My love of acting and entertainment was sparked when I lived in Texas. I had been singing and dancing for about a year before I started doing the morning announcements at my school in third grade. I had already loved being onstage, but being on camera gave me a feeling of excitement I couldn’t explain. I would go home from school and watch Disney and Nickelodeon and realized I wanted to try acting classes. My parents were so supportive. They put me in acting lessons from Cathryn Hartt right in Dallas, and from that classroom my love began to grow. I remember taking my first classes with Ms. Hartt and being absolutely mesmerized by her teachings. My parents could tell I took it seriously, and from there, I was confident I had found something that stuck.
Tell me a little bit more about your approach. How do you prepare for a project?
For each role, I honestly just try to empathize with the character I’m playing. Find the humanity in each one and create a backstory. Script analysis, journaling and focusing on smaller details that make the character human help me prepare for each role. Imagination is the most important tool for me.
What can fans expect from Season 2 of The Equalizer?
A lot more action, higher stakes and a deeper dive into each one of our lead characters on a more intimate level. Our writers ensure that our storylines relate to social issues happening in the real world that many people can relate to, and this season is no exception. We are going to see everything amplified, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats while also showing the importance of family. Making everyone relate to it.
What is your favorite part of your character?
My favorite part of Delilah is her unrelenting passion. Delilah is a girl who never stands down when she believes wholeheartedly in something, whether that’s social justice issues or the people she cares about. She has a tough exterior a lot of the time but has a huge heart, and although in the first season that would sometimes get her in trouble, this season we get to see her mature and use her persistence to help others. In that way, she’s inspired me.
What’s next for Laya?
I’m very excited to join the gaming world this year in God of War: Ragnarok, something we’ve been working on for a while now. I play Angrboda and being that the character looks like me, the first time I saw the character I was practically speechless.