An Interview with Actress and Author Skai Jackson on Her New Book, Reach for the Skai

The Hollywood Reporter named Skai one of the “Top 30 Stars Under Age 18” and she has been featured in The Cut, Teen Vogue, and Ebony. In her new book, Reach for the Skai, she writes about the negative experiences that sometimes come with living in the spotlight—the insecurities about her appearance, the challenges of separating her real personality from her TV roles, and the bullying she’s faced both personally and professionally.

Both of my daughters have been fans of now 19-year-old Skai Jackson since she starred in the Disney Channel series Jessie. Today my youngest loves Skai in the show Bunk’d. And me? I am a big Skai fan because I love her messages about self-acceptance and girl empowerment. I’m grateful for the time Skai took to chat with The Barnes & Noble Kids’ Blog.

What inspired you to write Reach for the Skai?

I’ve always wanted to tell my story but never knew how. It definitely was a little challenging to work on this book while doing so many other things at the same time, but very much worth it. Hilary Beard was so amazing helping me! I couldn’t have done it without her!

You write openly about how trolls and bullies have harassed you. How do you take care of yourself?

When I feel like I’m getting overwhelmed, I take a break from my phone and social media to regroup. Sometimes, to take my mind off of things, I will hang out with my friends and see a movie. It can be hard with social media, but I try not to let it affect me too much.

If you could direct or produce a show, what do you imagine it would be about?

If I had to direct or produce a show, it would be about a young black girl who is a superhero and helps save the world. You always see superheroes who look older, but never any that look younger like me. I think that would be cool.

Can you tell us what’s next for you? For example, I’ve seen you raising your voice about gun violence and the climate crisis, and you also write about how important it is to speak up.

I want to speak up about climate change! I will continue to spread this important message. Praises to all of the young girls doing their thing and speaking up on issues that the media doesn’t cover!

I love how your book is also a love letter to “all the brown-skinned girls.” (I appreciate you so much for all of your love and support. The world may not always value you, but I love you and see you….) Can you recommend any books for younger brown-skinned girls?

I would recommend these books: Dream Big, Little One, by Vashti Harrison, I Am Enough, by Grace Byers, Hair Like Mine, by LaTashia M. Perry, Hair Loveby Natasha Anastasia Tarpley…and of course, my book!

Reach for the Skai is on B&N bookshelves now.

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