Before Aliyah Royale was on “The Walking Dead: The World Beyond,” she spent many years as a teenager in acting camps.
“I was performing this skit as Beyoncé and Jay Z,” she told Inside Edition Digital over zoom while watching a throwback clip with a scene partner from when she was about 13 years old. “At these camps and in these workshops, these were the only places that I could perform, because I think at this time I was still probably doing background and extra work.”
Royale, 20, asked her mom when she was 11 if she could move to Los Angeles to start her career as an actress. The two moved across the country leaving their home in Michigan and the rest of their family behind.
“We’ll take a shot at it,” her mom, Tayna, remembered saying at the time.
“I'm forever thankful for my mom. I really am. When your parent makes that kind of sacrifice ... it feels like I'm forever indebted,” Royale said, in awe of her mother. “All I want to do is prove that she made the right choice, and that it wasn't a mistake.”
Last year, Royale got her big break after years of commercials and small roles. She starred as an adopted teenager named Jira on the CBS limited series “The Red Line.”
Then came AMC’s “The Walking Dead: The World Beyond.” It’s a spin off of the decade-old show. Aliyah plays Iris, a teen navigating a post-apocalyptic world. It’s a role she finds challenging with hours of stunt training needed.
“We don't know any other reality than the dead," she said of the series. "We were five, six when the apocalypse took over, and we're teenagers now. So this is our reality. And we grew up in this very safe, secure community. Once we are out in the real world with these undead creatures looking at them face to face -- it's a ride, a wild ride.
“A lot of people feel trapped in who they've had to be this quarantine,” Royale continued. “With all the restrictions, I think ‘World Beyond’ gives people a little bit of freedom back just to see what it looks like in an apocalyptic situation.”
Royale’s mom Tanya couldn’t be prouder of her daughter’s success.
“You can see how far she's come,” she said of watching a young Royale. “She was talented from the very beginning. So it was awesome to see it again. And she was so cute. So cute.
“These are memories that we need to capture.”