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Rising Star: Aliyah Turner's Journey from Dance Floors to Power Screens and Philanthropy

Miami Living Magazine presents an exclusive interview with Aliyah Turner, a Bay Area-born actress, singer, and professional dancer whose journey in the entertainment industry began seeding at the age of 3. Trained in competitive dance and a graduate of UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television, Aliyah is a true triple threat. Known for her recent role in "Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G," she currently graces the screen in the third season of STARZ's "Power Book III: Raising Kanan." Beyond her thriving career, Aliyah prioritizes physical and mental health through activities like yoga, lifting, and martial arts, while also passionately contributing to philanthropic causes, reflecting her commitment to making a positive impact beyond the spotlight.

Miami Living (ML): Aliyah, it's an honor to have you with us today. As we dive into your incredible journey, we're eager to start by asking: What's a recent moment or experience that made you pause and appreciate how far you've come in your career?

Aliyah: It’s a pleasure to be here with you today. Thank you for having me. What a great question to start. A recent meaningful moment for me was the Raising Kanan Season 3 premiere. It was my first red carpet premiere, and I had to take a moment to reflect on how precious it is that my years of hard work and dedication have paid off.

ML: As your artistic journey has been incredibly diverse, from competitive dance to now starring in various genres, what has been the most challenging and rewarding project for you so far, and why?

Aliyah: In addition to playing Krystal on Raising Kanan, one of the most challenging and rewarding projects I’ve worked on is UCLA’s Theater, Film and Television’s production of Tarell McCraney’s "In The Red And Brown Water." It was UCLA’s first-ever all-African American main stage show. I had the honor of playing the lead, Oya. The show is complex, emotional, and extremely raw. I was required to dive deep into my craft, and it made me a better performer. Our cast took the importance of representation seriously. We worked hard to make it one of UCLA’s most successful productions with a full house and standing ovation every night.

ML: In your current role as Krystal in "Power Book III: Raising Kanan," can you tell us more about your character Krystal and what drew you to this role?

Aliyah: I’m obsessed with Krystal. She’s a tough cookie, yet she has so many layers. What drew me to her is her fierceness. She does not take crap from anyone and goes after what she wants relentlessly. I believe I am that way. Now, in terms of her sometimes seemingly malicious behavior, we couldn’t be more far apart, but that’s what makes her so much fun to play.

ML: Outside of your busy career, you are actively involved in various physical and mental health activities. How do these practices contribute to your overall well-being, especially in a demanding industry like entertainment?

Aliyah: I’m a super advocate for holistic wellness. I think mental and physical health go hand in hand. As someone who has anxiety, I regulate myself with a daily routine of yoga, meditation, and a workout at the gym. The consistency in these habits keeps me grounded and ready to take on anything, including this demanding industry.

ML: Can you share a glimpse into your daily life? What's a morning ritual or a small joy that sets a positive tone for your day?

Aliyah: A glimpse into my daily life is waking up, praying before I touch my phone, and getting into my wellness routine. Then I’d probably run through my to-do list for the day, read over scripts, and binge out on new movies and series and call it homework.

ML: With your diverse skill set, from acting to singing and dancing, is there a dream collaboration or project you've always envisioned yourself being a part of?

Aliyah: I love this question. It’s a surreal thing to say that I’m currently living my dream collaboration. I studied musical theater for 15 years. I love dancing and singing on stage; however, bringing my passions to the screen has always been my dream.

ML: Whether it's working with a specific director, artist, or exploring a particular genre, we'd love to hear about your creative aspirations.

Aliyah: I aspire to be part of a psycho-thriller project! It’s one of my favorite genres in books and films. Creating mind-boggling excitement and suspense would be a fun creative challenge.

ML: Your commitment to philanthropy is commendable. Can you share more about the causes you are currently passionate about and how you choose the organizations to support?

Aliyah: As my career and influence expand, my main aim is to help those who need it. I care deeply about mental health, homelessness, and stopping human trafficking. I want to make a real difference in these areas because I believe everyone should have peace of mind, a home, and the right to be safe from being treated like someone else's property. I think that when you have a lot, you should do a lot to help others. That's what I want to do.

ML: Looking ahead, are there any upcoming projects or roles you can share with your fans?

Aliyah: Exciting things are on the way! I would tell fans to keep an eye out for additional announcements coming soon.

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By ML Staff. Images courtesy of Jana Schuessler & James Barton


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