Sofia Sanchez was solely 7 years outdated when made her first profound impact on popular culture.
In a video uploaded to Fb referred to as “Down Syndrome Is Not Scary,” Sofia’s mom, Jennifer, filmed the cute kiddo answering a sequence of questions. “Are you able to do something?” Jennifer asks. “Sure, I can do something I would like!” Sofia responds emphatically. “Are you sensible?” “Sure, I’m sensible!” “Do you’ve gotten down syndrome?” “Sure, I’ve Down syndrome.” “And is Down syndrome scary?” “Nooooo, Down syndrome isn’t scary!”
Seven years later, and Sanchez hasn’t stopped, with the now-14-year-old changing into maybe probably the most prolific advocate for Down syndrome within the nation. She has appeared in adverts for Outdated Navy and Goal, impressed numerous kids with the books You Are Enough and You Are Loved, and launched an appearing profession with appearances within the tv sequence Switched at Start and the brief movie For Paloma.
This previous weekend, although, got here Sanchez’s most distinguished look but. She performs Wovey, a tribute from District 8 compelled right into a battle royale within the extremely anticipated prequel The Starvation Video games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which opened to almost $100 million worldwide.
“Performing is the most effective factor! It’s simply the most effective,” Sanchez instructed Yahoo Leisure with infectiously good power, which you rapidly understand is her fixed vibe.
Born in Ukraine and adopted from an orphanage by American dad and mom, Sanchez lives in Rocklin, Calif., along with her mom, father, three brothers (one, Joaquin, additionally has Down syndrome), two canines and one cat.
After making a self-taped audition along with her mom’s assist for Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes — based mostly on the 2020 novel by Suzanne Collins that fills in some backstory to the unique 2012-2015 movie sequence starring Jennifer Lawrence — Sanchez scored an in-person an audition with director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson.
“I simply cherished them. They instructed me I may scream. It was superior,” she gushes.
The character of Wovey doesn’t have Down syndrome in Collins’s ebook, making Sanchez’s casting significantly refreshing.
“Sophia got here in and had an important audition,” Jacobson tells Yahoo. “She’s additionally tremendous charismatic child, it’s actually onerous to not fall in love along with her.”
“I wished to make it possible for there was loads of range, and I don’t simply imply ethnic range on this, that there’s all types,” provides Lawrence. “And one of many issues that I believed was actually attention-grabbing is we had a possibility right here to actually individualize the tributes within the video games. Within the later sequence, there’s folks that prepare to be within the video games. They’re all in uniforms, in order that they develop into extra unified. … I wished this to be extra uncooked, extra genuine. I additionally wished to point out that for those who have been a younger baby and you’ve got tuberculosis and your title was chosen, you’re getting in. In the event you’re a younger baby with Down syndrome and your title is chosen, you’re getting in. There isn’t any mercy for anyone. And so I simply discovered that actually attention-grabbing to have [actor Knox Gibson], who’s lacking an arm. He goes in. Sofia, who has Downs, she’s getting in. However she was wonderful. Everyone fell in love with Sofia.”
And Sofia fell in love with everyone. Requested who her largest appearing inspirations are — like a seasoned Hollywood professional — Sanchez names three of her co-stars: Rachel Zegler, Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage. “I like all of them! They’re so candy. And so they’re so good at appearing.”
Sanchez calls watching herself in The Starvation Video games “the most effective day in my entire complete life. It was a enjoyable expertise for me.”
She’s on monitor to have a lot extra prefer it. Months earlier than The Starvation Video games was launched, Sanchez walked the pink carpet on the premiere of the 12 months’s largest blockbuster, Barbie, in a bid to symbolize a Barbie with Down syndrome.
She bought to fulfill Margot Robbie (what did the star say to her? “Hello, Barbie,” after all), danced with Kate McKinnon, aka “Bizarre Barbie,” and met the “the second Ken” (Simu Liu). Ryan Gosling, Sanchez says, “needed to go house to see his spouse and child.”
“They have been loopy,” Sanchez says of the Barbie forged … in a great way. And sure, by the way in which, she would fortunately seem in Barbie 2 (memo to Warner Bros. and Mattel).
Subsequent up, Sanchez has a 3rd ebook on the way in which in 2024 (You Are Courageous), will shoot a TED Discuss and lately recorded a voice position for Nickelodeon.
And he or she desires to see extra actors with Down syndrome get work. “Everybody may be collectively and be included,” she says. “You may be completely different or particular in all distinctive methods. However we will remedy the world if we love one another.”
Her message hasn’t modified since her viral video first charmed America seven years in the past.
“It’s no large deal in case you have [Down syndrome], or for those who don’t have it,” she says. “We will all be completely different. And we will all be included.”
The Starvation Video games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is now taking part in.