Young people doing cool things: Royalty Hightower

Let her success rub off on you.

At the age of nine, Royalty Hightower’s dance troop was discovered on YouTube by director Anna Rose Holmer. She’s since starred in the internationally acclaimed film The Fits, where her breakthrough performance has been described as “astounding”. 

The film is an atypical coming of age tale with a mysterious twist. Lead by Royalty, The Fits follows a group of young women training to defend their reigning title in a fierce dance world.

At just 11 years old, we’re expecting big things from this young person doing very cool things.

How did you get into acting?

My dance team was discovered on YouTube by the director of The Fits, Anna. But before that, I had never acted and this is my first film. 

What’s the best and worst part about being an actor?

The best part is everybody knows you when you travel to a festival or a premiere. 

The worst is not always getting to be with your family and friends when you’re filming. 

What was the hardest part about filming?

The hardest part of working on The Fits was the boxing. And acting like I didn’t know how to dance. 

How about being a eleven years old? What’s the best bit? What’s the worst bit?

Being 11 and having done a movie when I was nine years old is exciting and overwhelming at times. It’s fun because now I get to travel and it’s almost like I have a job now. At home it’s pretty normal because everybody treats me the same, like I never even did a movie. My sister still kicks me out of her room, I still have chores and I still hate cleaning my room.

How has being in a movie changed your day-to-day life?

My life has only changed when people recognise me, and that happens mostly out of town at premieres, at photo shoots, or at interviews. It’s exciting and I feel important. But, mostly everything is the same at home. My friends treat me the same and I still travel with my dance team and go to dance practice every day.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to continue acting and hopefully I can do this forever.

What’s your favourite film?

I don’t really have a favorite movie right now, but I do watch the Disney Channel all the time. 

What type of movie do you want to be in next?

I really want to do a scary movie, because I love the film Chucky

What’s your favourite thing to do on weekends?

I like to go swimming or play outside with my friends and my baby brother.

How about your favourite subject at school?

My favorite subject is science. I love Googling how to make things (like experiments) and then trying them at home.

What’s one thing your parents always tell you?

That I can do, or be, anything I want to be and if I’m ever not happy doing something, tell them. 

Who is one person you would love to meet?

I would like to meet is Steven Spielberg, because I love his movies. We had a meeting at his office but he wasn’t there. It was exciting just being there though.

What is one thing you want to change about the world?

The violence and all the hate people have towards people that are different [to] themselves. 

What do you think is the most important lesson for people to remember?

Stay humble and don’t get a big head.

You can catch The Fits at ACMI now until July 10.



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