These sisters and chosen best friends are taking Young Hollywood by storm.
Dani and Dannah Lane show up authentically as themselves leading with God first to guide them to their purpose. Behind their infectious giggles and inside jokes with one another, they have found a way into our homes and hearts.
Starting first with their YouTube channel, run by their mother Dannella, their “Call to Jesus” video inspired over 4 million people to pick up and let the savior into their life. A belief that is engrained into everything that they do, has embarked them on a journey they have been preparing for their entire lives: a shot at the screen.
“I can’t speak for a Dannah but when I was, like, five years old, I would come home and I would watch TV,” the now 12-year-old admitted. “I then told my mom, ‘Hey, that seems fun, Mama. I want to do that.’ She was like, ‘Well, girl, if it was that easy, everybody will be on TV.’ Dannah then chimed in sharing that she also had the same aspirations as her older sister. “I’ve always wanted to act,” she said. “Acting has always been my dream, and it’s so great to fulfill out my dream and do whatever we want to do.”
Dani and Dannah play Kenan Thompson’s daughters Aubrey and Bridget “Birdie” Williams on NBC’s Kenan. Alongside Thompson, is his Saturday Night Live castmate, Chris Redd (Gary Williams), who plays the girls’ very single uncle.
Knives Out actor Don Johnson (Rick Noble) portrays the girls’ whimsical maternal grandfather. The sitcom follows the recently widowed Kenan (Thompson) as he juggles raising his two daughters played by the Lane sisters and his high-profile job as an Atlanta television host. Both girls being new to the acting world, have found comfort in one another and their supportive cast.
“The best part for me on [the show] is that everybody there is like my family,” Dannah explained. “We have a very good relationship. Tina is one of my best friends.”
Dani added that working with her sister keeps her mind at ease on set. “When you have to do the chemistry readings, I get to work with my sister so it’s not necessarily awkward,” she said. “A lot of people might not know this, but I’m kind of socially awkward so it’s easier when I have to work with my sister.”
Not only do these two young actresses love developing their craft, but they have also gone to honing their entrepreneurial spirit by joining forces with designer Simone I. Smith for their collaborated jewelry line. The accessories line which launched on National Best Friends Day (June 8), features standalone items such as initial pendants, necklaces spelling out acronyms such as “S.I.S. and B.F.F.” and nameplates.
The two rising designers also worked with Smith on collaborative items such as their Mommy and Me collection. Their famed phrase “Call To Jesus” also plays a starring role in their collection. The sisters show off their differences in style on the show with their glam, unique hairstyles, and experimenting with different metals distinctive to their personal flair. Before their collaboration with Smith, the two made jewelry on their own such as their gummy bear earrings which have been worn on Kenan.
Although acting has been a passion of the rising stars for quite some time, the two shared that they also have talents coinciding with their love for the screen.
“Before becoming an actress I wanted to be a gymnast and when I moved out here, I started doing that, Dani said. “But that was put on hold when we started filming and I had to stop. But I’m doing that and I’m also a nail tech. I do my friend’s nails and I do my own nails.”
Dannah’s spare time involves getting creative with pencils and brushes, “One of my favorite hobbies to do is to draw and paint. I love painting,” Dannah exclaimed. “I go to an art class here and I’m so glad because I really enjoy taking classes. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”
Their dreams don’t stop at the small screen either. Dani and Dannah added that they are down to play Poison Ivy and Catwoman respectively later on in their careers —DC and Marvel you know who to call in 10 years.
In regard to Catwoman, both girls had the opportunity to meet Halle Berry who played the coveted role back in 2004 and named her as one of their top picks of actresses they would love to work with in the future.
“It would be an absolute honor to work with Halle Berry,” Dannah said reminiscing on the first time she met the Oscar-winning actress. “I love Halle Berry. She was so nice and so was Will Smith. I would just love to work with them.”
In addition to Berry and Smith, Dani’s picks are women she watched growing up on Nickelodeon and Disney respectively. “Just off the top of my head, Ariana Grande.
I don’t know if she still acts, but I love my girl. She’s so beautiful. Oh, and Zendaya. Two of my favorite people,” Dani added.
The multitalented stars have also dipped their toes into making music as well. Together, they’ve made five songs but the most notable so far are “Call To Jesus” which references their viral YouTube video, and their new single “BFF” which details the girls’ friendship and sisterhood.
For their newest track, the girls sing about friendship as the concept is inspired by one of their favorite biblical scriptures Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. “Two are better than one because when you fall there’s someone there to pick you up,” Dani explained. “Dannah and I aren’t just sisters, we are best friends! We help encourage each other and that’s the message we want to spread that two are better than one. Best friends are gifts from God.” “BFF” features cameos from Tina Knowles, their on-screen dad Kenan Thompson, and their older sisters Dajuel and Dayla.
“We created a song with all four BFFs singing and it’s something we will forever cherish,” Dannah expressed. “The studio session was so much fun, we probably laughed more than anything. But creating those memories with our sisters is priceless.”
When it comes to their future in music, the girls were not shy about who they would want to model their career after as they manifested a guest appearance on their next single. Both Dani and Dannah are huge Beyoncé stans and can we blame them? “As far back as Destiny Child we’ve loved her and the group,” both Dani and Dannah exclaimed about their admiration for Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams.
Additionally, they would also love to work with the likes of pop superstar Justin Bieber and all-around talent Keke Palmer. “Justin Bieber of course, he’s like our big brother, we met him years ago when we first entered into the business. Keke Palmer is one of our other favorites. She’s a phenomenal singer and actress, [she’s] everything we aspire to be,” they explained.
When asked where they see themselves in five years both Dani and Dannah wish to pursue directing, producing and modeling with of course keeping acting as their main priority. Compulsive ended the conversation with the young superstars by them sharing an inspirational message with their future costars. “I want to say never give up on your dreams,” Dannah said. “If you have a dream, never give up on it. Keep on striving and keep on going because that’s exactly what we did. We never gave up and look where we are.” Dani added, “That’s true because it does get hard. But when you have your mindset, it’s worth it.”
— Photography by DaMarko GianCarlo