Young Pocahontas player credits acting interest to parents

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(Courtesy Smithsonian Channel)
(Courtesy Smithsonian Channel)

For Kaiah Sereydarian the allure of the stage is a homegrown passion with inspiration drawn from her parents.

The Queens Lake Middle School student, featured in the title role “Pocahontas: Beyond the Myth,” a documentary which premiered on the Smithsonian Channel Monday, has been acting since she was 8.

Kaiah, now 12,  has since performed with the Williamsburg Players but picked up her cues early from Dad — a former professional musician and storyteller — and Mom, a lifelong theater actor.

Kaiah
Kaiah Seraydarian (Courtesy of Deborah Soderholm)

“I feel really lucky to have parents that like acting and could show me how to do it,” said Kaiah, a student in York County Schools Division, who also takes theater in its arts program.

Kaiah said what she likes best about acting is “Being in plays and really making the character my own and make it come to life.”

Her latest presentation and first film role, focuses on the real life of the Native American icon – a tale of kidnapping, conflict, starvation, ocean journeys, and the future of an entire civilization, according to Smithsonian Channel’s website.

Filming took place last November and Kaiah had to miss a few days of school, her mother Deborah Soderholm said.  It was filmed at Jamestown Settlement and at Henricus Historical Park in Chester, Va.

The emerging thespian said it was a little different than being in a stage production because she wasn’t always working with lot of different people.

“I thought it was going to be hard. It wasn’t what I expected,” Kaiah said. “Everyone on set was very friendly to me and it was a good environment to work in. Everyone worked well with each other.”

The family is very proud of Kaiah for playing Pocahontas who is an icon in our local and national history, said Deborah Soderholm, Kaiah’s mother.

“There will be a brand new exhibit opening sometime this year on Pocahontas at Jamestown Settlement. Everyone is still trying to tell her story and this Smithsonian special helped go beyond the myth,” Soderholm said.

(Courtesy of Deborah Soderholm)
(Courtesy of Deborah Soderholm)

Soderholm also said she felt the Smithsonian film was a good way for Kaiah to connect with her father, called Red Hawk, who was part Cherokee and passed away in 2011.

Kaiah adds, “I thought I would never get the chance to be Pocahontas and the experience to get to play her, I was very grateful for this part.”

The Smithsonian Channel special “Pocahontas: Beyond the Myth,” airs again Friday at 10 p.m., Saturday at 1 a.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Additional information may be found at the Smithsonian Channel.

Read more profiles of local residents in WYDaily’s section In Our Hometown