‘Empire’ Star Serayah McNeill Talks Sudden Rise To Fame, Being Different Than Character ‘Tiana’

With the premiere of the second season of “Empire” coming soon, fans are excitedly revving up, and the stars are making their promo rounds. Serayah McNeill (also known as “Tiana” on the show) recently chatted with Chris Yandek of CYInterview.com about the Cinderella-like story of her rise to fame out of obscurity.

In the interview, the singer-songwriter explains she was simply a college student working a part time job and pursuing her passion for music. It was a chance audition that scored her the part of the feisty Tiana. But she wants people to distinguish her from her character. “I’ve been really working hard and coming up with strategies and plans to separate the two because I am very much so different than my character musically and personality wise. So, a lot of people come up in the business and kind of go from role to role and people just see them gradually grow. As for me, they don’t know who I am, you know, at all. So it is really important for me to distinguish myself outside of the show,” she explained.

Her exposure gained her a part in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video, and the two have become great friends. She’s already performed with Swift in concert and at the BET Awards, and she says it helps for her character. “I mean, she’s [Tiana] a huge pop star on TV and I’m getting to do a lot of those elements in real life and that’s the amazing part though in getting fans to relate to Serayah and see more about me and really believe how that story connects,” she said.

About what fans can expect from her character on Empire’s second season? More in-depth information about Tiana. “We’ve seen Tiana for the crazy things she’s done, but this season I think there’s gonna be a lot more in-depth with Tiana and her feelings and maybe some more of where she comes from and just seeing her more I think will give people more of an insight on my character,” she reveals.

The second season of “Empire” will premiere on Wednesday, Sept 23 at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

Listen to the entire interview here.