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Broadway, television and film actress, Zakiya Young was destined for a career in the entertainment industry. Her father, Sidney, is an incredible singer. Barnia, her mother, is a gifted actress. They exposed Zakiya to arts at an early age, whisking her off to cultural touchstones in Philadelphia and New York as well as encouraging her study of dance, voice, piano, and saxophone. And together with her sister Jamila, they began singing duets at different venues in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Despite a push to attend a conservatory, Zakiya began at the University of Pittsburgh as a pre-med student. It only took a year of chemistry labs and calculus to prompt a phone call to her parents to tell them she wanted to become an actress. They weren’t at all surprised – but had one stipulation – her degree had to be in something other than performance. Zakiya decided to study Communications and she sang in the Heinz Chapel Choir during the school year while spending her summers singing and acting at amusement parks.
After receiving a BA in Communication from the University of Pittsburgh, Zakiya was cast in a tour of “Casper, the Musical,” starring Chita Rivera. At the close of the tour, she settled in New York City to pursue a full-time acting career. Within the first three years of her move, she was cast regionally as Carrie in “Carousel,” Pitti-Sing in “The Mikado,” and Lois in “Kiss Me, Kate.”
These experiences culminated into several opportunities for concert work, the highlight being her appearance as female soloist for the New Haven Symphony’s “Americana” concert series, conducted by Gerald Steichen.
Amid the success of “Americana,” Zakiya took a two and a half year hiatus from performing to focus on traveling around the world and singing with her church choir. But the stage was not to be denied and she soon began auditioning again – this time without an agent! In fact, she booked her first Broadway show – “The Little Mermaid” – from an open call! That experience opened the door to Broadway plays, leading roles, film, television, and ultimately a relocation to Los Angeles to focus exclusively on television, film and modeling.
Zakiya’s experiences, along with the bedrock support of friends, family and a deep faith in God are a part of every performance she gives. She has learned so much since she took her first steps on this journey and it’s thrilling to see her star continue to rise. It took hard work, studying, and faith to achieve her dreams, and she continues to rely on these things to make her Hollywood dreams come true!