Seirah Royin, Actress & Activist | Los Angeles, California

You play a role in a movie called “Sold”, a feature film about human sex trafficking, which has gained recognition around the world. You have taken on the role in the film as part of your own life. What motivates you?

It motivates me that I realize my voice can be used for something powerful. Often times, as actors we feel powerless because we are given the words to say, and we come on set and deliver our lines. We play our role for a short amount of time, and then go on with our live and move on to the next project. And really it was working on a project like “Sold”, that has touched me so deeply on a personal level.  I realized how much power  we have with our voices and the choice to do something more in the world.

That is sort of how I have used the journey of “Sold” to become more of an activist. I realized that once the cameras are shut off, you don’t stop the conversation, you continue to do more because there’s a lot of work to do.

It’s very easy to fall into despair and say what can I do? What can one person do? When one person engages from a very sincere place and starts talking about something that matters, people pick up on that and suddenly that one person becomes a million people, becomes a billion people and then all of us engage and start doing something. I don’t think there’s any way even someone as horrible as a trafficker can win the battle. I think we end up winning in the end.

What advice do you have for young women who want to enter an industry that’s often male-dominated?

I have to be honest, I never knew that I could do this for a living, I didn’t know what my family would say, I didn’t know what my friends, or what my community would say because of the negative stories of Hollywood. You worry that… maybe you’ll be taken advantage of. If there is a desire in anyone's heart that they want to be creative and they want self-expression, don’t let the negativity keep you from fulfilling your potential and fulfilling your dreams.

But I do say find good people to surround yourself with and I think again that comes down to finding women who are in the industry that come before you who can kind of open the doors for you and show you how to get ahead. Does the casting couch exist? It does exist. Are men going to try to take advantage of you by offering you roles or promising they’ll make an introduction? Yes, that does happen and that’s the unfortunate side of the business. But for every person who does it that way, you will find really decent good people who just want to make good stories and be creative and help other people fulfill their potential. So try to find good people to surround yourself with them, and keep them for life. You work on a lot of projects together for a lifetime, not just for that one project.

The Fem Word is all about badass women like you. What inspires badass Seirah?

By playing to my strengths and not worrying about my weaknesses. All my life I’ve always been thin, I have always been the smallest kid in the group and I could have shied away from stepping

up and having my voice heard because I am small and who wants to listen to someone small? You can’t even beat up anyone if you’re in a fight.

If you stand in your own power, you know I may not be physically strong, but God gave me a really strong voice. So I say, play to your strengths, use your voice to do something in the world. We all have gifts, we all have strength and I think as long as you keep focusing on that, the limitations fall away on their own.

Ms. Media