A native of Sacramento, California, Kayah Alexandra Franklin is a multi-hyphenate performing artist, connecting her work as an actor, poet, voice over artist and model with the foundational glue of dance.
An alumna of Howard University in Washington, D.C. she received her BFA in Theatre Arts & Dance. While at Howard, Kayah worked with Camille A. Brown to develop her work “3.60,” which segued into her choreographing the choreopoem production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow is Enuf, directed by LA Williams. In 2012, Kayah was appointed Dallas Black Dance Academy’s Lead Outreach Instructor. She spent 5 seasons as Director of the Junior Performing Ensemble while first performing with Encore!, formerly known as DBDT II. In 2014, she joined the professional company Dallas Black Dance Theatre, where she danced lead roles in original works by choreographers including Matthew Rushing, Twyla Tharp and Christopher Huggins.
Kayah’s theatrical highlights span across the U.S., including Brassroots District: Live at the Lot ‘73 at La Jolla Playhouse’s WOW Festival, Dallas Theater Center’s Fly, Stumptown Stages’ West Side Story, and Timberlake Playhouse’s Christmas Kaleidoscope. With an ongoing intention to improve the experiences within and communication styles of environments beyond entertainment, Kayah specialises in acting in industry specific simulations, including those for Authentic Leaders and both UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine and Charles Drew University’s Standardized Patient Programs.
Kayah’s commercial and television highlights include appearances in Season 5 of HBO’s Insecure, as well as campaigns for National University, Ford, TheHoneyPot Co., Self,, OLLY, Poo~Pourri, Healthcare.gov and Knock. She was featured as an artist between Dallas, TX and Skopje, North Macedonia in the documentary Widening The Lens, produced and directed by Macedonian film group Makedox in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy of Cultural Affairs. Kayah can be spotted in the VisitDallas campaign at the DFW International Airport and was featured in Northpark Magazine’s Spring 2019 issue for BVLGARI - she has had the privilege of modelling for brand campaigns for Joico and Tote N’ Carry, as well.
With both Group Fitness (AFAA) and Schwinn Cycling certifications, Kayah has 8+ years of experience teaching fitness classes at FlyWheel Sports, Grit Fitness, EQUINOX and CorePower Yoga. She currently leads ongoing meditation and fitness session for Live Nation's MINDFUL NATION series, and was recently featured as a spoken word artist for Netflix’s inaugural Black @ Netflix: Juneteenth Block Party, and as a guest performer at TEDx Inglewood.
Kayah is currently performing in The Tale of The Lion King as part of the first all African-American cast production at the Disneyland Resort. She can be seen as Jaelyn Smiles on the AMP World family channel The Smiles Family and serves as judge for Starbound National Talent Competition.