It's very likely that you'll only recognise one name as you look through the cast list of Netflix's hotly anticipated television series, The Get Down: Jaden Smith. But that's about to change. Wait till you get a whiff of newcomer Herizen Guardiola's talent, an instant charmer that lights up any scene she walks in — or croons in.
The Miami-native and Will Smith's mini-me are part of the ensemble cast of Baz Luhrmann's first foray into a much smaller screen — that's about to get a lot bigger. The Get Down centres around a group of South Bronx teenagers in '70s New York, charting the end of the disco era and the beginnings of hip-hop. Guardiola plays Mylene Cruz, an aspiring singer raised in a strict, Puerto Rican household. The 19-year-old has already found herself getting chummy with celebrities such as the Haim sisters and Taylor Swift, and is just about to get recognised by major fashion publications. Read more to get acquainted with this star in the making.
1. She nailed a rendition of Alicia Keys' Fallin' in her audition
Guardiola got her first acting role by performing this 2000s classic. She took a chance after her talent agency offered her representation on the theatrical side. After a callback, the Californian was hiking near the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles when Luhrmann himself called her personally, saying, "Hi Herizen, I was just wondering if you want to be a part of The Get Down?"
2. She wasn't that familiar with the disco side of '70s music
The late '90s baby grew up on classic rock and reggae instead. For her role in The Get Down, she learned by following the work of disco icons such as Diana Ross and Donna Summers.
3. There's a pretty unique meaning behind her name
Her father, Johnny, a reggae artist, named her Herizen which means "her eye plus Zen". She's also familiar with the stage, having sung backup with her father who performed live as well as in an album when she was six. Meanwhile, her mother's a nutritionist, personal trainer, health counsellor and therapist.
4. She's a tomboy at heart
Her go-to look is made up of jeans, t-shirts, adidas and some leather. Guardiola's a self-professed tomboy who's getting used to the fancy disco wear on set, which includes a whole load of sequins. Her beauty routine's pretty minimal too: Aveda for her natural curls, the three-step cleanser, scrub and moisturiser routine and some ChapStick. Her go-to fix-up? A pinch at the cheeks to give them some colour.
5. Music is her first love
She counts Ed Sheeran as a musician she really looks up to for sticking to his guns. Ultimately, Guardiola's goal is to tour and play to connect her words to an audience — she's even done some modeling on the side to support her music career. She's even had albums written...so watch out, world.