(CBS Local)– Laya DeLeon Hayes is only 16 years old, but she is now one of the stars of one of the most talked about shows on television in “The Equalizer” on CBS. Hayes has the privilege of working alongside Queen Latifah and plays Latifah’s daughter on the show named Delilah.
While Hayes has been acting since she was five years old, being a series regular on “The Equalizer” represents a major moment in her career.
“The response has been so crazy, it’s been really amazing. It’s been so much fun to be able to film this show,” said Hayes, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “This cast is a dream to work with. I’ve admired so many of these actors that I’m working with on the show. A lot of my scenes are with Queen and Lorraine [Toussaint], two powerhouses as actors. They have just been so amazing. They have really taken me in and nurtured me. It’s been really nice to be able to bond with the two. They are just so talented. I’m the youngest on the set, so I’m just trying to learn everything I can. I learn so much just by watching them.”
This is the first time that Hayes is a series regular where everyone around her is an adult. The actor loves that she is treated as an equal on set despite the age difference she has with her colleagues. While Hayes is still early in her acting career, she realizes the importance of Black women being represented in starring roles on network television.
“It’s so inspiring, that is what is so great about our show,” said Hayes. “We’re really pulling back the layers and showing you the complexities of women and women of color, which you don’t really get to see a lot on the TV screen. It definitely means a lot to me. When I was younger, like a lot of audience members, we look on the screen and see a character who looks like me and is going through the same things I’m going through. I think a lot of people are able to see themselves through the character Queen plays and Lorraine plays and I play. The relationship dynamic of the family is so different and it’s a relationship you don’t see often on television.”
Watch “The Equalizer” on CBS and stream it on CBS All Access.