Sofia Sanchez was solely 7 years outdated when made her first profound impact on popular culture.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 lovable kiddo answering a collection of questions. “Are you able to do something?” Jennifer asks. “Sure, I can do something I would like!” Sofia responds emphatically. “Are you good?” “Sure, I’m good!” “Do you will have down syndrome?” “Sure, I’ve Down syndrome.” “And is Down syndrome scary?” “Nooooo, Down syndrome is just not scary!”
Seven years later, and Sanchez hasn’t stopped, with the now-14-year-old changing into maybe essentially the most prolific advocate for Down syndrome within the nation. She has appeared in adverts for Previous Navy and Goal, impressed numerous youngsters with the books You Are Sufficient and You Are Beloved, and launched an performing profession with appearances within the tv collection Switched at Beginning 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 pressured 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 very best factor! It’s simply the very best,” Sanchez instructed Yahoo Leisure with infectiously good vitality, which you shortly notice is her fixed vibe.
Born in Ukraine and adopted from an orphanage by American mother and father, 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 collection 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 might scream. It was superior,” she gushes.
The character of Wovey doesn’t have Down syndrome in Collins’s guide, making Sanchez’s casting notably refreshing.
“Sophia got here in and had an ideal audition,” Jacobson tells Yahoo. “She’s additionally tremendous charismatic child, it’s actually arduous to not fall in love along with her.”
“I needed to guarantee that there was loads of variety, and I don’t simply imply ethnic variety on this, that there’s all types,” provides Lawrence. “And one of many issues that I assumed was actually fascinating is we had a possibility right here to actually individualize the tributes within the video games. Within the later collection, there’s folks that practice to be within the video games. They’re all in uniforms, in order that they grow to be extra unified. … I needed this to be extra uncooked, extra genuine. I additionally needed to indicate that should you had been a younger little one and you’ve got tuberculosis and your title was chosen, you’re moving into. In case you’re a younger little one with Down syndrome and your title is chosen, you’re moving into. There isn’t a mercy for anyone. And so I simply discovered that actually fascinating to have [actor Knox Gibson], who’s lacking an arm. He goes in. Sofia, who has Downs, she’s moving into. However she was superb. All people fell in love with Sofia.”
And Sofia fell in love with all people. Requested who her largest performing 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. They usually’re so good at performing.”
Sanchez calls watching herself in The Starvation Video games “the very best day in my complete 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 signify a Barbie with Down syndrome.
She bought to fulfill Margot Robbie (what did the star say to her? “Hello, Barbie,” in fact), danced with Kate McKinnon, aka “Bizarre Barbie,” and met the “the second Ken” (Simu Liu). Ryan Gosling, Sanchez says, “needed to go residence to see his spouse and child.”
“They had been loopy,” Sanchez says of the Barbie solid … 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 guide on the way in which in 2024 (You Are Courageous), will shoot a TED Speak and lately recorded a voice position for Nickelodeon.
And he or she desires to see extra actors with Down syndrome get work. “Everybody might be collectively and be included,” she says. “You might be totally different or particular in all distinctive methods. However we will treatment 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 if in case you have [Down syndrome], or should you don’t have it,” she says. “We are able to all be totally different. And we will all be included.”
The Starvation Video games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is now enjoying.