Did you know what you wanted to be at the age of three? Layla Crawford sure did and since then she has been busy perfecting her craft not only in film and television, but in theatre and commercials as well. By the time she was in kindergarten, this talented adolescent knew that the performing arts were calling her name. Since then she hasn’t wasted any time getting out there in front of an audience. NCISLA Magazine had the opportunity to find out more about Layla and her new series regular spot on The First Family and of course her recurrent role in NCIS Los Angeles! Layla told us why acting is so important to her and why she enjoyed working with LL Cool J so much.
When did you realize you wanted to be an actor? Which actors to you admire the most?
I started performing when I was only 3 years old as an “early bird” for Debbie Allen Dance Academy. But I just kinda fell into acting when my best friend and I auditioned for a school play when I was in kindergarten. I enjoyed it so much and had so much fun I wanted to do it all the time! I really like making people smile and laugh! I admire China Anne McClain, star from ANT Farm. She is so talented. She can act and sing and I hope to get a role someday that allows me to do both as well.
Can you tell us about your time spent on the set of NCIS:LA and a little bit about your character? Do you have any stories you can share with us?
I had a great time on the set of NCIS: LA! Everyone was very nice to me. The entire cast and crew were kind. You will have to tune in to see what my character is all about but I can tell you that my character is very important to Sam! I had a chance to work with LL Cool J and Aunjanue Ellis — they were both very nice. This was my second time working with LL Cool J because I appeared briefly with him last season in the episode, “Betrayal.” He is sooo nice and funny!
Congratulations on your series regular role on the CW’s First Family. Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
On the show, The First Family, I play the President’s youngest daughter, Olivia Johnson. The show is about the 2nd African-American President of the US and everything funny surrounding his family. It is an incredible cast (Christopher Duncan, Kellita Smith, Jackee, John Witherspoon, Gladys Knight, and Marla Gibbs). I have so many stories it’s hard to pick one, but my favorite so far is getting a quick singing lesson from the legendary Gladys Knight for an episode.
Any other projects we can look forward to that you are working on?
Beside The First Family, I am also currently co-starring as ‘Katrina Whitaker’ in “Note To Self” that just released. It is a coming-of-age movie with a real life lesson and I work with Christian Keyes, Letoya Luckett, Brely Evans and Brian McKnight.
Layla enjoys a well-rounded life hanging out with her family and friends, listening to music, playing soccer and writing plays and stories. You can watch Layla every week on the CW’s The First Family and we look forward to seeing her again on an upcoming episode of NCIS:LA. You can find out more about Layla on her website: http://laylacrawford.com/ or sign up to follow Layla on Twitter: @thereallaylac and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TheRealLaylaCrawford.