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Meet Saniya Phipps

Today we’d like to introduce you to Saniya Phipps.

Saniya, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am 11 years old and I am a 7th grader at a performing arts school in Riverside, CA. I am a dancer, model, music artist as well as an inspiring entrepreneur.

First, I would like to start with dance! I have been dancing my whole life, since before I could really talk; well that’s what my family tells me. I take hip hop, ballet/lyrical, jazz and tap. I take dance classes at a dance studio and the performing arts school I go to. I get to take cool dance classes and learn all these cool dance moves, I LOVE it! I started dancing at Bre Dance Studios when I was seven years old. After my first competition, I decided I wanted to become a dancer. The reason why I love to dance so much is because of how it makes me feel. When I get to perform on stage it makes me feels like a professional dancer. Dancing is super fun, you can create your own signature dance moves, be in music videos, competitions, and all sorts of amazing things. But it takes a lot of practice to get there. I always practice the dance moves and techniques that I’ve learned, like tap. Tap seems very hard if you don’t know how to do it. There are so many questions like; how can I remember that and how did my teacher do that super-fast? One thing we learn in dance that helps me is “Takes baby steps at first. PRACTICE CHILDREN!”

I started rapping when I was ten with my little cousin LonLon, who was seven at the time. We would record at a community recording studio, Music Changing Lives. I love rapping because I can express myself in a different way. I like to make songs about having fun as a kid, encouraging my peers, positivity, and anti-bullying. My favorite part about rapping is music videos. I can make so many fun music videos with my friends and family. You can plan your music video at a cool area, it’s just so much fun to do. Oh, I also really love it when I perform my songs. I combine my dancing and music together on stage and I LOVE the feeling. It makes me feel like a superstar when I perform and share my music with others. One thing I find hard about rapping is that I have a fast tempo and sometimes I have to slow down. Or sometimes finding the right cadence for the beat can be difficult. There is so much I love about music, like making my own beats. I started making beats with my dad about three years ago. I only make beats for fun for now. I have two music videos out both on YouTube, Birthday Boo and a remake of Silent Night. I have a few songs out on social media, and I am currently working on an EP with a very talented artist, Shrxxm, who is one of my favorite rappers. The best part about being a music artist is being able to see other people enjoy what I created. I want my music to be able to live on forever and make others feel good about themselves.

When I was about nine years old, I decided I wanted to be a model and actress. My parents signed me up to take classes and a showcase. I learned a few things about acting and modeling, but I really learned on my own and from my mom. She would teach me how to walk the runway and pose. We would practice in heels a lot. She would help me work on my signature walk. I Also would watch different videos of models posing and how to walk the runway. Now my friend and I are the faces of my mom’s business IEIX Inland Empire Industry. I help my mom and her business partner plan and direct themed photoshoots. It’s so much fun modeling for my mom’s photoshoots, I get to model in so many different creative looks and I get to model in designers’ clothing too! One thing I love about IEIX is all the amazing people I meet. The photographers, models, makeup artist and hairstylists are so much fun! OH, and of course all the amazing pictures I get of myself. Modeling is so amazing, I just love to walk down the runway in all the designer’s beautiful clothes, it’s the best! This is my second year doing runway, but I have been doing photoshoots since I was five years old. When I model on the runway and in front of the camera, it’s like I get to bring the designer’s clothes to life. Modeling to me is like art, I get to create artwork with my poses which is awesome. I just love the whole experience of modeling. Every time I model, I get closer to my dreams of becoming a Super Model one day.

Being a model has inspired me to want to create my own designs, clothes, bookmarks, and bracelets. I started making bookmarks when I was in 5th grade. I would make funny cartoon bookmarks with paper and markers. I would sale them to my friends for 25 cents to a dollar. I also would make different beaded and braided bracelets with string and lanyard. I would make cool designs and give them to my friends. My mom and I decided to take old or new clothes and refurbish them. We create designs and make them into something new. We make it into our own creation. I am currently brainstorming different designs that I want to create. All my designs have encouraging, positive, and funny messages I want to share with the world. Soon I will have my own business where I can sale all my designs. I will be able to show my designs sometime next year.

Has it been a smooth road?
I really like everything I do, but at times I find it to be difficult. It’s hard to sleep in because I’m busy with school, dance, the studio, auditions, competitions, and fashion shows. I have dance classes at school and after school, I go to the dance studio. The days I do not have a dance at the dance studio, I go to the recording studio. Sometimes on my weekends, I have auditions and fashion shows. When I did my music video for Silent Night, it was on a weekday. Not only was it on a school day, but I couldn’t remember all the lyrics to the song. We had just written the final song the day before, I had practice when I had time to at school. Right after school, I had to be on set. I had to record the song that I didn’t know very well, then shoot the music video. I WAS SO NERVOUS!

After several retakes we finally got it, we finished the music video, but we didn’t finish until after 12 a.m. I still went to school in the morning and dance after, even though I didn’t have to. I didn’t want to miss school or dance, plus I was excited about the video. Even though at times I can be very busy rehearsing and going to auditions, I have a lot of fun doing it. I am not busy all the time. A lot of the time I’m busy being a kid having fun. I get to sleep in, eat what I want, hang out with my friends and go to cool events. There is a lot of work and a lot of play, but even work is fun!

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Right now, I am mostly known for modeling and dancing. Next year I will be able to share more of my music and designs. As a model, dancer, music artist and entrepreneur, I am most proud of being able to encourage and inspire people through my passion for art. At times people will tell me they are a big fan of mine, that watching me inspires them. It makes me feels good that I can inspire someone I do not know. I am most proud of getting as far as I am now. When I look at old pictures of myself compared to now, it makes me feel good about myself. I used to be too shy to do a lot. To be able to do all that I do now it’s amazing. I went from playing dress up in my room to real-life runway shows and photoshoots. I used to record myself dancing and singing and now I have my own real songs and music videos. I used to make clothes for my dolls and myself out paper and old pieces of fabric, and now I am working on my own designs. I am proud of myself for having the courage to start and the support from my family and friends to keep me creative and going. I am not sure what would really set me apart from others. I would say what sets me apart from others is being “100% Niy.” I am weird, corky, smart, sarcastic, funny, clumsy, goofy and I don’t care about fitting in. I learned that always being myself makes me comfortable, I don’t like the pressure of trying to fit in or pretending to be someone I am not. Also knowing that I can be whatever I want, I was taught I have no limits!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I like all the fun things I can do when I come to Los Angeles, like the beaches, of course, shopping and Universal Studios. I LOVE all the vegan restaurant choices. One thing I do not like is all the long boring traffic we sit. It takes forever sometimes to get to Los Angeles and then back home.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
IEIX Inland Empire Industry, BlhackMoon Photography, YSL Photography

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1 Comment

  1. Toni Dunlap

    October 31, 2019 at 03:27

    Totally Fabulous!!!! So proud of you my Sweetie. You have it all. Magnificent!

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