Fourteen-year old actress Saiya Palmer has been acting since she got her start on stage at the age of five. She is a very talented young lady who has graced the stage at Downtown Knoxville Theatre, Tennessee Amphitheater, Knoxville Children’s Theatre, Webb School of Knoxville and several other Tennessee theatres. She has also worked on film sets for numerous national television shows and commercials throughout the state.
In 2018, Palmer was a semi-finalist in the August Wilson Monologue Competition in Atlanta where she portrayed Louise from, August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” at the True Colors Theatre. She has worked in productions of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Tennessee Theatre, Nothin Nice at the Carpetbag Theatre and Lillies of the Field at Knoxville Children’s Theatre.
With over a decade of stage acting already on her resume, it’s no wonder that Saiya was able to impress the casting directors of the Into the Wilderness movie when they held auditions in July 2018. Her younger brother Christopher-Lawson Palmer, a ten-year old actor who was able to bring his character to life, was cast in the lead role of Jeremiah, while Saiya landed a principal role working alongside her brother in a scene.
Saiya not only acts but she is equally impressive with her academic skills. As a 9th grade student, she has made Honor Roll every quarter throughout her educational history and she is formally trained with classical singing as well as ballet, modern and hip-hop dance.
Just as King Midas had the golden touch in the popular children’s fable, Saiya Palmer has the golden touch when it comes to showcasing her talent in both acting, academics and quite frankly, anything she decides she wants to accomplish in life.
It was an honor to be able to speak to this talented young actress to get a little insight into what it was like for her to be cast in the movie as well as to work with her brother and to find out what some of her biggest challenges were during production.
Was there any one thing that really interested you about the Into the Wilderness movie?
What interested me about starring in Into the Wilderness movie is the fact that it centered around history which I love, specifically Civil War time and slaves which is a part of my heritage.
What was it like to work with your little brother in the film?
It was great to work with my little brother because we could easily communicate new ideas with each other which can be hard when you have to work with complete strangers, so this film was refreshing to be with my little brother.
Who are your personal role models, and why do you choose them?
My mom, Muntazz Palmer, is my personal role model because she is a wonderful woman that I look up to. She is smart and very talented, and she has shaped me into the artist and person I am today.
If you had the opportunity to work with any actor, who would you want to work with?
If I had the opportunity to work with an actor, it would be Nicole Kidman because she is a profound actor that portrays all of her roles with great depth and authenticity so I believe I will learn a lot from working with her.
How long have you been acting?
I have been acting, singing and dancing professionally since the age of 5 and I have always enjoyed being a performing artist.
What was the most challenging part about portraying your character in the film?
It was challenging portraying the anger of a slave girl when she was being insulted by the confederate soldier.
Be sure to watch for Saiya in Into the Wilderness when it debuts later this year. There is no doubt that this young actress is just beginning to pave her way towards a very successful future whether in acting or even in her academic life and we certainly wish her the best.