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Detroit youngster gets star turn on 'Empire'

Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to The Detroit News

For fans of Fox's "Empire," Lola is the cute little scene-stealer who was supposed to be Jamal's love child. But, as it turned out, she was his dad Lucious' love child and Jamal's half sister. Aren't nighttime soaps the best?

Thankfully, Leah Sava' Jeffries, the actress and native Detroiter who costars as Lola, has a less-complicated life.

The 5-year-old loves playing with Barbies and sees acting as a new way to play pretend with friends. Before joining the cast of "Empire," the pint-sized star appeared in local commercials and was a brand ambassador for the Carol's Daughter hair care line. Her parents are also models and actors as is her older brother, Floyd.

"We were really amazed," Leah's mom, who is also named Leah, recently told WJBK-TV Fox 2. "We were on the phone texting each other like 'Oh my God, this is unbelievable.' We were just last week hanging out at the restaurant here watching them on TV, and now we're sitting here and they're holding our daughter and taking pictures."

No word yet on if Leah, who is in Kindergarten, will be returning to Chicago where "Empire" is shot for the drama's second season. In the meantime, she is relishing the attention.

"(Fans) kept saying, "Can I take a picture with you ... I loved it," Leah told Fox 2.

Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles-based TV writer.