Kyla-Drew is not just an actress – she’s a prodigy.
The 16-year-old, starring alongside Jamie Foxx in the upcoming Netflix series Dad Stop Embarrassing Me, graduated high school at the age of 15 and was accepted to USC shortly after. She transferred into the university with 56 units, which makes her a second-semester sophomore. She does all of this while also having a full-time job on the show, which Netflix is pushing to be one of their tentpole comedies of the year.
This young woman is full of life. One would have to be, in order to accomplish so much in such a short period of time. How does she do it all without burning out? The amount of hustle she has would be overwhelming for the most weathered of successful people, let alone a teenager.
Kyla is conscious of the fact that when you step into a public facing job, you become a role model. Her goal is to show young girls of color that they can do anything and everything they want to, there is no limit to the successes they can achieve.
Dad Stop Embarrassing Me premieres April 14. Kyla sat down for her first-ever podcast interview with hosts Brian Calle and Neferteri Plessy to share her story with the More Hustle crew.
What everyone wants to know is: How does she do it all?! It’s in her DNA, she tells us.
“I have the mindset that there’s 24 hours in a day,” Kyla answers. “If I balance my time right then I can do it. I take morning classes – I always have an 8am class – then I’ve got work, which takes up a big part of my day, but then I do evening classes. Sometimes it is a struggle, it is difficult, but I make it work because I know at the end I’ll look back and be like ‘whew, I did it.’”
“I do it for the content that it stirs within myself,” she explains.
Corinne Foxx, Jaime’s daughter who is well-established in her own right, is an executive producer of the show. In fact, it’s based on her life.
“My character on the show is based off of Corinne in real life, as well as a lot of the story lines in the show,” Kyla tells our hosts.
“Corrine is the boss lady of Dad Stop Embarrassing Me,” she confirms. “We got some of the story lines based off her and her dad’s relationship. And she’s also behind the scenes telling us what to do. And she be killing that, she makes the show for real for real.”
Kyla graduated high school at 15. How did she do it?
“Every time I would get in trouble, suck my teeth, talk back, I would be taking another class,” she explains. “Eventually I took way too many classes – I was taking chess, call me Queen’s Gambit – just a whole lot of classes that I really didn’t need.”
She graduated in 2019. She had taken so many classes that there were none left to take.
“I had an extra year’s worth of high school classes that I did not need,” she laughs, trying to remember the massive amount of credits she accumulated. Kyla’s impressive resume doesn’t end with an abundance of educational credits. The young actress is linguistically talented as well.
“I’m fluent in both English and Spanish,” explains Kyla. “My mom would only let me watch Spanish TV so I would be watching telenovelas,” she laughs, explaining that credit really goes to her Ecuadorian nanny who had her speaking both languages as soon as Kyla could talk.
Like Brian and Nef, Kyla was raised by a single mom. Her mom had her in various programs and classes starting at a young age – something Kyla credits as being the foundation for her success.
“Just witnessing her work ethic and her drive, it really just rubbed off on me and makes me want to match her level of potential,” says the prodigy of her mother.
She’s working with some pretty big names. As a relative newcomer in the industry, she credits her co-stars and the show’s creator for empowering her to understand that she belongs alongside such a stellar cast.
“I really just had to put it in perspective in my head that I was on their level and that I deserve to be here, and that I got this because I’m talented,” she shares. “Once I got that through my head I was like ‘Kyla-Drew you got this!’ Then we just had a lot of fun, and I think that you can see that on screen.”