Actress Kiandra Richardson discusses being Terrence Howard’s lover on ‘Empire’

Actress and singer Kiandra Richardson (Photo credit: The Riker Brothers)

Actress and singer Kiandra Richardson stars in the sixth and final season of the popular Fox drama “Empire.” Richardson plays the free-spirited Yana, the daughter of Damon Cross (played by actor Wood Harris), and the love interest of Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard).

Richardson has a bachelor’s degree in performing arts from Savannah College of Art and Design. She also was a contestant on season 15 of “American Idol” and portrayed Whitney Houston in the musical Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story.

Rolling out recently spoke with Richardson about her role in “Empire,” acting with Howard, upcoming projects and more.

How did you get into acting?

I started acting in high school. I started doing musicals in high school, and that was my doorway into acting. After that, I went to college and studied performing arts at SCAD, which included acting, singing and dancing.

How did you land your role in “Empire”?

I’m still not all the way sure how they found me, honestly. My guess would be Lee Daniels or someone in that camp may have seen me do Born for This, the musical, and known about my work from that. But somebody from Lee Daniels’ casting team just reached out and asked to do a self-tape for the role, and I did a self-tape, and they liked it and said the network approved and they want to hire you for the show.

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James Willingham

James Willingham Jr. is a senior at Clark Atlanta University. He is majoring in mass media and is focusing on a career in directing and producing for film and television.

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